Behind The Spine is an attempt to inspire you to write, and to shine a light on things that might provide a creative spark for your stories. Now we want to go one stage further. We want to offer you an outlet for your work.
Over the course of the show, we’ve uncovered dozens of lessons that have been extracted from over fifty fascinating conversations. We’ve picked three and we’d like you to narrow this down to one.
Here’s what to do -
Read the three lessons below. We’ve included the specific episode they have been taken from - you don’t need to listen to the episode, but if you do we’re certain you’ll learn a lot more than this one thing.
Pick one lesson and write a short story of no more than 1000 words. The story must demonstrate how you have applied the lesson you have selected.
We will then pick two winners. We will pay each winning writer £250 for the right to use their story as part of series four in the form of a professionally performed, recorded, and edited audio track.
The stories cannot have already appeared in other publications/podcasts.
Lesson 1 - Professor Sunny Singh (Series 1 Episode 16)
Reflecting on what Sunny said about my use of the word “timely” - there’s nothing “timely” about the discussions we’re having regarding racial prejudice faced by black men and women. It’s not suddenly an issue following the death of George Floyd. Discussions about race have been timely for centuries and will continue to be until the balance of power is shifted.
Lesson 2 - Kate Davies (Series 1 Episode 20)
Kate cleverly flips perspectives in her book, to allow the reader to see things from the “villain’s” perspective. Perhaps you could go further, write two separate storylines which mirror the same narrative, but come at it from different perspectives. It will offer your readers an insight into how our definition of right and wrong is skewed by personal experiences.
Lesson 3 - Tristram Hunt (Series 2 Episode 1)
No matter what you know about an object now, that ‘knowledge’ is based on modern sentiment. Ivory is a perfect example of this - once treasured and prized, now scorned. Remember, objects are more than props - you can build entire stories around the incredible lives they lead, and how the meaning we afford them changes with time. Also, be adventurous with the stories you tell about objects. We often only think of objects existing in two planes - the point in which they were created, and when they were rediscovered - but during those intervening years, there’s a whole history to their time on this planet, and when we attempt to uncover it, we only ever scratch the surface.