Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Does psychology help writing?

see my views on whether psychology has helped or hindered my life as a writer: 

go to:

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


The storyteller recounts the titanic struggle between arch enemies Fred Glover and John Loggarforth in a "Call My Bluff" pub quiz. A thrilling tale of psychological insight.

read my story in
"Making Waves"
2015 anthology by
Scarborough Writers Circle.

A compendium of fiction, flash fiction, and poetry from the members.


Let’s sit here in the corner, out of the way of the darts board. I like a nice log fire in a pub, don’t you? Faint smell of smoke, like campfires of the past. Feel the warmth on you on a winter’s night like this. Dark beer with bitter hops. Cheers. Ah, that hits the spot. Beautiful.
So, you’re writing an obituary on Fred Glover for the paper, and you want a personal angle. What can I tell you about him? I suppose you’ve got all that stuff about him being a champion fell-runner, his services to charity, and his medal? That’s why it came as a shock to us all. Fit bloke like that. Sudden, just as he was breasting the tape. Makes you think.
Fred was a freelance survival expert, trained in the army. He had appeared on TV a few times. Shaven-headed, extremely fit. Forty-eight years old. He was away for long periods leading training courses, and his motto was ‘Always to the end.’
I went out for a short walk in the country with him once, just from one pub down to the next. By goodness, he had a fast stride on him. After only a dozen yards, I was struggling to keep up. He said, ‘There’s probably a mountain rescue jeep round this bend that can give you a lift.’
I thought he was joking. I asked him how he knew, and whether it was a usual parking space for them.
‘No. Something’s just run over a rabbit round there and it’s probably the rescue jeep.’
 I was amazed. How did he know there was a dead rabbit round a bend a hundred yards away out of sight? Had he been there earlier this morning? 
read the whole of my story in
"Making Waves"
2015 anthology by
Scarborough Writers Circle.

A compendium of fiction, flash fiction, and poetry from the members.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Visiting Time 

‘LIFT CALL’ pressed, an arrow tings.
A patient on a trolley is manoeuvred out.
I step in. Doors slice me off from outside
as if they want to give me secret news.

Going up, but I’m weighed down.
Floors flash past the tiny window and ask:
How much of this might we find in you?
How much of this best not to know?

Is this my visiting time, or is time
visiting me? Perhaps the answer’s here
where the lift aligns the chosen floor,
and gravity slips off me like a coat.

Arrows lead me to your bed.
From some deeper level you stir.
Eyelids flicker, then fall back asleep:
Like a lift coming, but going past.

Stuart Larner

this poem first appeared in the anthology "A Pocketful of Windows" edited by Felix Hodcroft, Valley Press 2014.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

GUEST BLOG PAGE: featuring Elaine Brookes, playwright.

In addition to mine and Rosie's play for World Book Night "Waiting for Witch One?" scripted below I am pleased to post a guest playwright, Elaine Brookes, whose play:   "The Fagin Fanatics Party", was also performed that night in the Scarborough Library by Outreach Actors from Stephen Joseph Theatre.

The Fagin Fanatics Party

By Elaine Brookes

An Election TV programme interviewing political party leaders. Reporter a smartly dressed man in his thirties is sitting in one chair with an empty chair by his side.

Reporter   Welcome back to this exciting political debate. If you have just joined us we are talking tonight to all the leaders of the main parties. We have already heard from Labour and The Liberal Democrats .Next we are going to hear form a party leader whose party seems to have come from nowhere and proving very popular with the younger voters, a group that normally don’t get involved in elections . So please put your hands together for Mr Fagin the leader of the Fagin Fanatics Party. (pointing to the side of the stage Fagin comes on stage a man in his sixties stooped in posture with long lanky hair wearing a bright purple velvet suite) Welcome Mr Fagin thank you for joining us tonight

Fagin  My pleasure, my dear, very happy to be here.

Reporter  As I have just said Mr Fagin your  party seems to have come from nowhere and proving very popular with the younger voters a group  as we know don’t normally  get involved in elections . So Mr Fagin what’s your secret?

Fagin Jobs that’s what we are about, get them on the streets and working.

Reporter Where are you going to find all these jobs?

Fagin Nice suite you are wearing tonight my dear. (stroking the Reporter’s sleeve)

Reporter Oh thank you, but back to the jobs.

Fagin I started my life’s work in London and I am planning to expand into other cities and maybe even further.

Reporter That sounds like a very good plan, what kind of jobs are they?

Fagin Redistribution of property you could say, removing things from one person and giving it to another person.

Reporter Sort of a recycling type business.

Fagin Yes you could say that. (chuckling under his breath)

Reporter  But will there be enough work for all the youths .You have given the impression that there will be huge numbers of jobs available.

Fagin Nice silk handkerchief you have there. (pointing at the reporter handkerchief)

Reporter Oh thank you, so jobs?

Fagin  As I said my dear moving into other cities and maybe international our jobs  can work anywhere in the world .That’s what Sikes tells me anyway.

Reporter  Ah yes, Mr Bill Sikes he is your main backer ,but he has a bit of a reputation of being a wheeler dealer ,fast money ,fast cars and beautiful women.

Fagin Oh the lovely Nancy .

Reporter Yes. Nancy. she is his current girlfriend as seen in Hello magazine.

Fagin Beautiful inside as well as outside.

Reporter Yes, I am sure she is. Is Mr Skies involved in the party?

Fagin Only as an advisory and backer my dear.

Reporter Also you have had a major party member leave in the last few weeks a Mr Oliver Twist? And there is a rumour he has gone and joined the Conservative party.Is that true?

Fagin Ah Oliver! My Oliver. A knife through my heart that’s what that boy is, a knife through my heart.

Reporter So it’s true then he has left you?

Fagin Yes my dear he has left us, very ungrateful very ungrateful. Opened my home to him I did.

Reporter Will this set your election plans back at all?

Fagin Oh no I still have my Dodger and Charles they are good boys they will bring in the goods as you say. (chuckling under his breath)
Reporter So you are all set to start canvassing the nation.

Fagin We are my dear we will be out and about knocking on your doors or coming in through your  backdoors, even. (chuckling under his breath)

Reporter Your party’s Manifesto seems to have come from the lyrics of a song it’s rather an interesting one, it’s from a musical I think rather catchy if you ask me.

Fagin Ah yes “You’ve got to pick a pocket or two!”

Reporter Yes that’s the one why did you choose it?

Fagin As you said it’s catchy and people will remember what we stand for my dear.

Reporter And that seems to be pay no tax, take money from the rich and not give any to the poor or charities .

Fagin Tax is nothing but robbery if you ask me. That’s why  all these rich don’t pay it Keeping the money for myself is only fair, I have got people working hard to get  it for me so it would be rude not to keep it, won’t it ? All these “do-gooders” giving money to charities - what’s that all about. It only encourages people to expect handouts. Give it to Fagin’s Fanatics instead, I say.

Reporter That is a very strange way of looking at things I must say not many people will agree with you.

Fagin That’s my manifesto they can take it or leave it. That’s what democracy is all about my dear.

Reporter That may be a good point to finish this interview, Mr Fagin, as we have a few more party leaders to talk to. Thank you for being with us tonight.

Fagin My pleasure my dear, my pleasure. (starts singing pick a pocket or two leans over to shake the reporter’s hand gets the handkerchief from the reporter and runs off the stage )
Reporter My handkerchief, where has it gone? Fagin. Fagin, get back here, now! Excuse me, I have got to get it back!  (Runs off the stage)


Friday, 24 April 2015

Here's our short play for the World Book Night , characters from books at Scarborough Library UK, performed by Stephen Joseph Theatre Outreach Actors.

Waiting for Witch One?
By Rosie and Stuart Larner

WITCH 2, 17 yrs old, rather posh.

WITCH 3, 17 yrs old, her mate, rough and angry.

Scene: Scarborough South Beach early evening, Halloween.


WITCH 2 So where is she? We’ve been waiting here half the night already. Ideas please.

WITCH 3 Well I don't flamin’ know, do I?

WITCH 2 You were there when she said, weren't you?

WITCH 3 In Hull Primark? Yes, but I was trying on these shoes for this toadin’ meet tonight.

WITCH 2 It was definitely on Scarborough South beach with Mac something to meet someone.

WITCH 3 (opening a bag) I’ve got McDippers, McFlurry, and a Big Mac to be on the safe side. (looks up, then notices two lads in the distance and whispers to Witch 2). Hey! Look down the beach! There’s a couple of lads. Is that who we are supposed to meet up with?

WITCH 2 They're surfers and they look fit.

WITCH 3 Can't be sure with this sharkin’ Sea Fret.

WITCH 2 I’m sick of Witch One. She’s such a first class witch.

WITCH 3 She’s that snakin’ bossy we never get a word in edge ways. She's a mewin’ stirrer too...

WITCH 2 .....and getting us to buy all her crazy gear.

WITCH 3 I tried for an eye of newt but they've clamped down on legal eyes now.

WITCH 2 I had to go to the supermarket to get a pilots thumb they were two for one.

WITCH 3 Enough with the almost rhyming couplets.

WITCH 2 Now you’re doing it. You’re starting to talk in rhyme like her now. People’ll be starting to call us the weirdo sisters round here.

WITCH 3 Hey! They’re coming closer. I know who they are! They’re the froggin’ Thane twins from Cayton.

WITCH 2 I’ll give them a shout. (shouts across the beach)   Hi, we’ve been waiting for you!

WITCH 3 Are you Wayne and Shane?

WITCH 2 What did they say? I couldn’t hear. It's that windy.

WITCH 3 Oh, what a birth-stranglin’ cheek! They said: ‘Are you the drag act at the Spa?’

WITCH 2 (shouting) We’re not skinny witches like the girls you go out with!

WITCH 3 You couldn’t handle us two! We’re high fliers.

WITCH 2 (to Witch 3) Us two? Don’t you mean us three?

WITCH 3 Oh, I forgot her. She’d want to get her own back on us if we went snailin’ out with them.

WITCH 2 Yes, she’s a crazy Witch. She got it in for a girl just because she wouldn’t give her a packet of nuts.

WITCH 3 She reckons no one’s going to sleep at night if they whinin’ well cross her.

WITCH 2 Well that’s no problem for us is it? We like to be out all night any way.

WITCH 3 Here they come. I can see them now.  They are so boilin’ fit. Magic.

WITCH 2 Hi guys, we were waiting for our friend but she hasn’t shown up. It's freezing. Let's go in the arcades.

WITCH 3 And how about the Burger King here ... after?

The end.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

When a Snowman Melts

You might think that when a snowman melts
someone has died.
But they haven’t.
Instead, someone has warmed and begun to flow,
said sorry for being such a frozen lump,
realised they are part of everything,
and started to cry.

 Stuart Larner.

(first published in anthology "A Pocketful of Windows" ed Felix Hodcroft, Valley press 2014.