For many weeks now, the South Shields chapter of Cuckoo Young Writers have been working with Matt Wesolowski and myself, exploring dark fiction. Amongst other things, we have written about demonic possession, black-eyed children, rabid pugs, and devilish carrots.

For our end of term project, we have created a story trail about four cursed objects (which myself and one of the group members happened to have lying around our homes). The trail includes stories you can listen to on your phone or tablet (by scanning a QR code), and it will be exhibited at The Word as part of their Write Festival from 21 June 2017.

Last month, we took a break from our writing routine to record the audio for our story trail. We spent two full days at Spark, a community radio station based at Sunderland University, working with award-winning audio producer, Jay Sykes.

Jay taught us about vocal technique for radio, and helped each of us record a short story we had written as part of the trail. For the story trail’s climax, we recorded some properly evil chanting (in properly evil iambic pentameter). Jay also gave us a chance to help direct each other, before he showed us how he edits audio, along with some of the special effects he uses. The recording sessions were loads of fun, and we’d like to extend our thanks to Jay for looking after us all.

The story trail will go live during The Word’s Write Festival, beginning on Wednesday 21 June. We’ll be showing people around the trail on opening night from 5pm to 7pm, so please come along if you’d like to see (and hear) what we’ve been getting up to.

If you’d like to know more about the story trail, or about joining our writing group, contact rachael@newwritingnorth.com. The group is about to start a new topic — dystopian fiction — so now is the perfect time to join!

Twitter: @TheJamesWhitman

New Writing North runs writing groups for 12-19 year olds in Newcastle, Sunderland, Amble/Warkworth, Cramlington, South Shields and Durham. The groups are small and friendly and are led by professional writers. They meet every Saturday in term-time and are free to attend. Click here to find out more about our Cuckoo Young Writers groups.