Nicola Hook

Nicola Hook

I am 65 and I live in the country near Dover with Peter and Oscar our dog, Buzz our cat and the chickens. We also have a horse called Mary. We have two grown up children, , Jamie and Rachael.

Location UK


  • Thank you for your help!

  • I've never written a screen play but have long been interested in writing generally. I wrote 50,000 word autobiographical account of my childhood last year, in a month - what kept me going was Nanowrite - I worked out I needed to write just under 2,000 words a day and stuck to that.
    I have an idea for a screen play, and am keen to have a go - not about me...

  • Really helpful to have a struture to work from and especially the advice to have a break for a couple of weeks before coming back to rewrite/edit.


    Young man with clipboard
    “Can you spare a few minutes, Madam?..we are doing a survey of people eating habits for our magazine 'Eating Today'.”


    “So, can you tell me, what is your favourtite food?”

    “It all depends how I'm feeling, and the time of day, do you know what I mean? First thing in the morning I don't want to eat, I...

  • I suddenly found myself wondering why we want to create a fictional world? Is it an escape from or an attempt to understand the real one?

  • I liked, when we do it right, the dialogue can live for decades - one of my favourite lines is "Play it again, Sam" from Casablanca.

  • This is so interesting - it's new to me as I've only ever written journals or storIes. Liking learning a different form and thanks to everyone for their comments too.

  • She is depressed, she can't help crying even sometimes in public, has to force herself to go to work. She's obsessed with her boyfriend and is only happy if she's with him - which isn't often. She asks anyone to join her for a drink, she's very lonely. Smokes and drinks heavily.
    She needs and wants friendship, love and security. She wants to be...

  • I loved the character of Rachel on Girl on the Train - it was her vulnerability and flaws that made her. As her back story gradually came out you realised why she was this way which made the story interesting - at first she seems like a stalker but eventually it's clear that she has been a victim of her ex-husband.

  • Title: Walk the Plank
    Genre: drama, comedy
    Protagonist: Twelve contestants on a TV game show -
    They all want to win the competition
    Obstacles : They are on board a yacht which they have to sail round the coast of Scotland. None of them have much if any sailing experience apart from the two week crash course they all had to do beforehand. Each week one...

  • This is getting me to want to see lots more films. Fascinating. I think the rest of you already write a bit/

  • It is interesting how simple a basic plot line is, but how challenging to pad it out and make something of it.

  • so if you know so much, why are you doing the course - I admit I know nothing.

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    I chose the Big Short which is a film I haven't seen - I found it really interesting and so different from reading a book. It did bring the characters and settings really to life, and I would like to see the film. I chose The Girl on the Train as the film I've seen, and I've also read Paula Hawkin's book. This was useful to see how the story is adapted by...

  • My name is Nicky. I am new to screen-writing, but I have written short stories and a longer autobiographical piece. I am very interested in all writing genres. I love to read as well as watch film. I think I will benefit from wathing lots more films. One of my favourite lines is in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear says to Woody, "You are a strange and sad...

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    The course has been great - thank you so much. Im inspired to carry on and try the BA lit course with the Open University. It has been quite life changing for me, and reading fellow students' comments, it seems to have done the same for others. Fantastic!

  • I am quite excited now that I have submitted my story. I think I've learned a lot from this course, and especially the importance of editing and letting your story 'rest' for a bit before going back to it and change things. I hope it's not too late for other people to read it. My main characters and the setting are clear, and I think I maintained the...

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    I absolutely love this and want to read the whole book. The chatty collogquial style makes you feel like you're there listening to the neighbour gossiping about Violet and Joe. The casual way you are told that he shot the girl so as to keep loving her - and that Violet took in a boyfriend but he didn't really notice - make it really funny, though it maybe...

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend is very funny. Adrian's character
    is revealed through his diary – he is attracted to Pandora who he sits next to in Geography classes, and writes, 'she likes to be called “Box” - don't ask me why.' Alongside his adolescent judgement about his parents is the kindness he shows helping Bert, an elderly...

  • I was really interested to see you were writing about spiritual/logical world. I am writing a ghost story based on a couple of strange experiences I had when I was young.

  • My character is changing and in some ways getting more elusive to me. I don't want to just dive in and snatch at a personality for her. She is based on a ghost I once saw over thirty years ago who still haunts me now! She was so very real and I wonder who she was, and why she was there.

  • That's interesting, Rosa. Is it based on an actual experience you have had in any way?

  • My character seems to be getting more elusive. I'm not happy with what I had assumed about her, it wasn't right. She does have a life of her own, but I can't find out her history or her secret yet. I just know she is disturbed about something and can't rest till this is resolved.

  • I looked at the notes I'd made about my character, and found I wanted to scratch some things out. Then I decided to write her up, as if someone else, in the story was talking about her to a friend. It became a very sketchy story.. I was happy with the character, but the story needs lots more thought.

  • I do like the build-up at the beginning where you are wondering who he is looking for and why. I think it's such an effective piece of writing - so much character is brought across so very subtly. I love the way he shows the change in Nancy's attitude as she realises he's the 'wrong' Donald. And the image of Donald on the plane, as it were half-way between...

  • Such wonderful writing! And it's beautifully balanced between just enough description and hints and clues, using the different techniques so skillfully - I stopped analysing after a bit as I just wanted to enjoy the story.. At one point I thought the main character might be a bit weird as I was taken up short when it was revealed that he hadn't seen Nancy...

  • Maybe it's sometimes good to leave a little to the reader's imagination. It's like listening to a story on the radio can be more absorbing than TV. It's choosing what to include and what to edit out.

  • Yes, it's more interesting to portray characters gradually through dialogue and action - too much description gets boring and artificial. I tried all the different methods to describe someone I know well - the summary method was by far the easiest but I was spoilt for choice as to what to say and was going on and on..

  • Yes this is fascinating. I find I'm more interested in writing for its own sake since I started this course, rather than worrying that what I'm doing is just rubbish! I especially loved the description of the mentally disturbed Ivan. But how interesting to experiment and try all these different methods - and to see how published writers have drawn their...

  • I used this list for the character I already had in mind, and found it really useful in adding more to her, and getting clearer ideas for a plot.

  • Yes I do too. Naru is interesting, reminds me of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights a bit.

  • I'm try to make up a character and she is coming along. It's hard work I find - sometimes it comes easily but I have found it sounds very clicheed if I'm not careful.

  • Me too Elena. What an interesting surname - may I ask where you are from? Nicky

  • Hello! I am new to this subject but very interested. I know quite a lot about my father's side of our family, but less about my mother's. History is fascinating especially at a social and personal level. I am keen to learn more about life in the 19th century, particularly in Scotland, so was very pleased to hear that Tahitia has done a lot of research into...

  • This is so interesting. I love the idea of letting the voices inside your head chat away. I really think this course is great, and I do like reading what everyone else thinks too, thanks!

  • Think I might be last in line!

  • That sounds beautiful. Good idea. I shall make some lists too.

  • ..I thought it was interesting to use things like psychology notes or astrology charts to invent characters.

  • I think I mainly use autobiographical, biographical or mixed methods. I find it hard to invent a character out of my imagination

  • Thank you, Wendy! Years ago when I was only in my late teens I had an interview for an office job and they did actually start at 17 and a half minutes to nine. I was horrified! Mr D is a mixture of a bank manager I had and a primary school teacher. I think he is having a bit of a break down, but yes, it is to be an epiphany, and all better in the end for...

  • I expect you need to write it out, and it is interesting for other people to learn more about.

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    This was really interesting. Surely we have to use our own experience and inner thoughts and feelings - imagination can't exist in a vacuum. I do like the idea of starting with yourself, in some way, but then dropping in other things you wouldn't do or think, and in this way inventing a new character which can take you in a different direction.

  • Thanks, Janet. I feel encouraged. A lot of it is about being confident. I found it easier to write my stereotype character when I told myself to stop worrying that my writing not good enough.

  • I used a stereotype of a Bank Manager who has a rigid routine, but an unexpected break-in leads to the start of a break down.

  • What happened next?

  • This was pacy exciting read, and both Crystal and Hannah were convincing characters to me. I wanted to read on. I thought Dean less credible - he did seem too stereotyped. Maybe he gave away too much too early on, I don't think he'd have come on like that to Hannah? But your writing shows insight and you must have some understanding of this kind of...

  • Hi Wendy, I had the same problem! Going to read yours now, Nicky

  • Continued...The drawers of the desk were emptied and all his stationery, pens and other items were scattered in piles around the room. The grey metal filing cabinets against the wall were untouched, but the pot plants that stood on the window sill had been smashed, and lay amongst the debris from his desk.

    Mr. D stared in astonishment. He realised his...

  • When Ella was interviewed for her job at the Bank, she was a bit concerned when told that staff were expected to arrive at work at seventeen and a half minutes to nine. This suggested an unappealing lack of flexibility.

    Mr Ducksberry smiled, obviously thinking it was a bit of a joke, but explained that this allowed everyone two and a half minutes in which...

  • The Bank Manager who has a pet guinea pig. The GP who self harms. The police officer who is terrified of cats.

  • Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

  • I like your ideas. The man with the newspaper reminded me of a boy I knew. He always carried around a copy of Harry Potter, even though he couldn't read.

  • Me too, I'm even further behind! I'm finding the course really interesting and enjoy writing..but do find it a struggle, inventing characters, plots...

  • We all have flaws don't we. I can't think of anyone I know who hasn't. It's interesting how we see ourselves, and how others see us We wear masks most of the time, good manners, being nice. What's underneath is more interesting, maybe frightening.

  • I liked a little paragraph which told that someone had poached an egg for their tea.

  • My character is a servant from about 150 years ago. I think it is an interesting idea to picture yourself as your main character in order to make it more real. I do find it hard to write outside my own experience and wonder if other people do too.
    In November I did the Nanowrimo, and wrote just over 50,000 words. It was easy as I based it all on childhood...

  • Sometimes a name can give you an idea. When I| started researching domestic servants in the 19th century, the names were right for the time.

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    The little dog is nestled on top of a quantity of cocaine which the woman has bought from her dealer. She sells most of it to friends and acquaintances, making a modest profit, and gets her own share free for her trouble.

  • She was taking the dog, Trixie, to a local talent show. She had spent time teaching Trixie various moves, and was looking forward to the opportunity to show her off to an audience. Unfortunately, unknown to her, Trixie was not feeling well, having eaten some left overs she had found in the bin outside the kitchen, before they left the house.

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    Lynn was dressed in a purple lacy dress with a pair of high heeled boots. It was her friend's nineteenth birthday, and she was waiting for a bus to take her into town. They were meeting at The Flying Horse. She had her pet pekenese in her bag, alongside a bottle of vodka, and Terri's birthday present. They were going to have a really good girls' night out....

  • I like this very much!

  • Yes this is a good motivation for the story I'm thinking about - a haunted house and present day occupants, people who lived there 30 years ago - and the ghosts themselves. So need to find out what era these ghosts came from, who they could have been and what their lives were like - and then research the present day people - what jobs do they do etc. I can...

  • Where to start? Nowadays we have the internet, so I suppose that's the most obvious. I'm planning to write a story based on a true life experience I had of ghosts in a particular house my family lived in the past. I think I need to find out about the times these ghosts lived and who they might have been.

  • I could hear their car drawing up outside the house, and then footsteps before the front door opened. I was waiting for them. They had been away for a while and I had felt a little lonely. I purred with pleasure as they both bent down to stroke me.

  • I don't think that's necessary, as Maccoy writes she was the only one looking at the sky - so it's evident that she is part of the crowd.

  • Nicola Hook made a comment

    It was rush hour and Hilary looked up at the stormy winter sky. Hidden inside her coat she carried a loaded gun.

  • That's really nice, thanks!

  • When I switched on the radio, it was 'Just a Minute', and one of the panel had been given 'Pin the tail on the donkey' as a subject. First I started a story where the panel member who had to speak began their spiel, and then got interrupted. They remembered childhood parties with similar games, and one particular party where things went horribly wrong. It...

  • Pin the tail on the donkey....Pinning a tail on a donkey would be a very cruel and unnecessary thing to do. Donkeys already have fine tails of their own. Eeyore out of Pooh Bear lost his though and in this case pinning a tail on the donkey would be the right thing to do. He floated downstream on his back, bewildered as to how he had fallen into the river...