My Weekly Writing Challenge


You seem to be enjoying my new weekly challenge series. There were some hilarious 20-word stories, as well as some very gripping ones. Read and enjoy below.

The first week of the series saw ten-word stories, the second week 20-word stories and so now we move to 30-word stories as your challenge for next week.

Here are your 20-word corkers:

Eddy sent in these highly entertaining 20-word reads. My personal favourite is the last one. It’s brilliant!:

1) I saw her looking at me looking at her. Staring contest. My phone rang. She won. Damn you phone marketers!

2) At my son and wife’s funeral a bomb went off and killed everyone I knew. I didn’t die. I lived.

3) I had to win Esther’s weekly writing challenge so I googled Keith and Jasdeep’s addresses and contentedly sharpened my knife.

Keith Channing sent in this catchy poem:

He wasn’t ready to retire
He had to keep on working
Year after year he carried on
Never, ever shirking.

Sacha Black opted for a chilling story:

They claimed it was a viral infection. Wrong. It was the start of the apocalypse. Now there’s 10,000 humans left.

Steve S. Walsky manages to tell a great tale in only 20 words:

He thought about their relationship. Was it just impulsiveness; like stirring coffee when nothing has been added? Yes. “Goodbye, Mandy.”

Jasdeep Kaur responded to Eddy’s ‘threat':

Eddy’s plan was out. I don’t know about Keith, but I hibernated. After all, nothing can be above one’s life!

Then she sent in another great story:

My parched anatomy fell in the sand. No camel or oasis. I was lost and now I will be buried.

Markets For Writers


My market for you this week is a flash fiction contest opening for entries on November 1st. Haunted Waters Press holds an annual Penny Fiction Contest featuring three rounds.

Round one opens from 1st November, ending when 200 stories have been received.

The theme for round one is Backroads & Porch Swings, rurally themed short stories written in exactly 21 words.

The best entries will feature in their literary journal: From the Depths

Entry can be made via the website: (scroll down to the bottom for rules and to enter.)




Monday Motivations/Try Something New!


It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with our writing. Perhaps you’re a novelist and the right words won’t come. Or if you write short stories for the women’s weeklies, it can be difficult to come up with a new idea. Article writers often specialise in writing about specific issues. It’s easy to become stuck, or to feel your writing is stale, or to simply wish for something new.

If you feel any of the above, try writing something different. Write a poem. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t all that good; it might be just the distraction you needed and now you feel refreshed and able to go back to your novel, short stories, articles etc. Or you might find you have unleashed a new talent and you’ve produced a poem to enter into a competition.

It doesn’t have to be a poem – just try something different.

I’ve written a lot of poems over the years, but when I read back through them, I saw they all suffered from the same thing – an extremely melancholy mood! So I’ve tried something different – it’s not particularly good but it was fun – a poem with a dashing of humour:

Unwanted Gifts

 It is the worst time of year,

One that fills me with great fear,

Christmas is coming soon, you see,

I know I should be filled with glee,

To receive presents and gifts galore,

But I don’t want them, not anymore,

Not out-of-date sweets from Uncle Ken,

Or twee ornaments yet again,

I don’t want toasters or a wok,

Nor an annoying cuckoo clock,

I’ve earrings coming out of my ears,

And smellies just reduce me to tears,

Though there is one thing that would be quite grand,

And that’s money. I’m sure you understand.

Top Tip Of The Week


Fabulous Five

If you’re finding it difficult to come up with subjects to write a story about, clear you mind and then jot down the next five things that come into your mind. It can work wonders for kick-starting that creative writing process. Here’s the five things that came into my mind when I tried this for myself:

  • face
  • mirror
  • white
  • bat
  • mist

And here’s  the story I came up with:

She peered into the mirror. Her reflection blinked back at her. Then the mist came swirling and swaying. A face appeared.

She opened her mouth.

“Don’t bother,” the mirror said, “you aren’t the fairest of them all. You were once, but you’re an ugly old bat now. I mean it.”

Snow White had to admit, age hadn’t done her any favours.


Hope your weekend’s a good one. Here’s a Friday Funny for you:


My Weekly Writing Challenge


My new challenge series on flash fiction, which kicked off last week with stories in ten words, produced some amazing stories in so few words. Take a look at the fantastic results below news of this week’s challenge.

So, from ten, we now go to twenty-word stories. If last week’s entries are anything to go by, we’re all in for a treat.

Last week’s ten-word tales:

Sacha Black was the first in line to try this one and produced a great story:

He’s dead. I’m not. My fault though. Prison? Life? Never.

Eddy‘s short fiction is always excellent. Here’s two from him:

1) Birds flew, bombs blew, I drew my gun; barrel jammed.

2) Thanks. Got busy again. But I’m finally back in routine.

Keith Channing‘s is too clever by half!:

I came, I saw, I conkered. I bloody love autumn.

Keith‘s sister, Wendy Pope shows she’s every bit as talented as her brother:

Cormorant flying above. Sea foaming below … black arrow dives in!

Jasdeep Kaur‘s story make you want to know more:

Dense trees, frightful face, a roar, a shriek, cataclysmic silence…

Kate Loveton once again shows her talent for combining more than one challenge at the same time:

Lesson Learned Too Late:

Frenzied, desperate warning unheeded!

Finally… bloodied knife.

Husband should’ve listened.

Jason Moody sent this neat and entertaining story:

Our eyes met. My stomach knotted. Then the bus came.

A huge welcome to Sammi Cox who’s tried the challenge for the first time and written a brilliant flash fiction piece:


Can’t stop…Get caught…And then…

…Must keep running…

Markets For Writers


This week’s market for you is a travel magazine, ‘Transitions Abroad’.  They describe themselves as ‘an inspirational yet practical planning guide for cultural immersion travel, work, study, living and volunteering abroad’.

There are lots of feature articles on the homepage so you can see the type of piece they’re looking for as well as the reader you need to appeal to:

They hold three travel writing contests a year, which are free to enter:

They have an excellent writers’ guidelines page, with a comprehensive outline of all the sections they accept work for, as well as how to send an article, payment terms and information on the competitions: