The Librarian

I’ve completed Block 1 of the Open University’s A174 Start Writing Fiction, which leaves me moving forward into Block 2, Character, Setting and Genre.

The block starts with characterisation, leading into Activity 2.2. It asks students to: 

Take one of the stereotypes mentioned (shifty-eyed thief, jovial fatso, etc) or use one of your own. Write a brief scene in which you portray that character in a complex way, going against the usual expectations.


  • the bullying headmaster with a tender sentimental side
  • the meticulous manager who lives in a messy house
  • the shy librarian who goes bungee-jumping
  • the habitual flirt who avoids relationships

The librarian caught my eye. We go to the library every week. My mother is a retired librarian.

As I was considering how to recast a stereotypical librarian, my eye caught P.G Maxwell-Stuart’s Witch Hunters. My brief scene abruptly changed into a brief, 550-word short story:

Vivienne is a librarian. More precisely, she is the librarian. She is short, dumpy and pasty faced. She dresses like someone who shops at Tesco, even if she prefers Marks & Spencer.

From The Librarian

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