My Weekly Writing Challenge

Every now and then I like to come up with a different set of challenges, so I thought after my recent rollover challenge, I’d start something new. Here’s your new challenge:

OPTION ONE: Write a flash fiction story of 50 words, beginning with the following line:

‘How on earth did that happen?’ he said.

OPTION TWO: Write a story or poem, with the title MISSING

OPTION THREE: What does the word BEAUTIFUL mean to you? A place you’ve visited? A person? For this option, you can write a true-life piece, poem, limerick, story – anything and everything goes.

While I was away you sent in some super pieces. Your first option was to write a limerick with the word PLONKER in it. You clearly had a lot of fun:

Keith Channing took full advantage of the two weeks and sent in these gems:

I cheated and baked my new conker,
Believing it would be a stonker,
After only three hits
It broke into bits,
Now I feel feel a right blooming plonker.

“You plonker!” I heard from my brother.
I’d done something wrong or the other,
But try as I might
I can’t get it right.
He’s worse than my wicked step-mother.

But she’s not as bad as she’s painted,
Her character’s all but untainted.
I’d quite like to bonk her
(Well – it rhymes with plonker)
If we were not so well acquainted.

She tends to be over-protective
Though her efforts are hardly effective.
I’m such a plonker;
I need her to conquer
My shyness and moods introspective.

It’s not only I who’s a loser
Winding up every night at the boozer,
If she has too much plonk
Her response is to honk,
Which, in truth, serves just to confuse her.

Jason Moody is also a pro at this:

The match had ended six-one
for away fans, this wasn’t much fun
though the game was a stonker
the ref was a plonker
“Bored,” said my teenage son.

The royals they called him a king
but the fat sod had not done a thing
“he has yet to conquer.”
“that’s because he’s a plonker!”
Is what the towns people would sing.

I couldn’t agree with the man
this wasn’t a viable plan
he would not concur
that he was a plonker
“Sod it,” I said. “Back to the van!”

“My name’s William, I have cometh to conquer!”
“Death be quick if you do not concur.”
But he slipped on a skin
and done himself in
now he’s known as William the Plonker.

Would I be known as a moron, a plonker?
If I said that I only eat conkers?
I love them the most
When I put them on toast
This combo..oooh, it’s a stonker!

I wondered what Graeme Sandford would make of this one. I wasn’t disappointed:
A conker in search of some strength
Was dipped in vinegar for such a long length
Of time
For the rhyme
Far from sublime
By this plonker who writes under the pseudonym of Strinegar Venth.
Plonker Limericks, as suggested by Al
Who is a bit of a poet, and is two-thirds of a pal
So, I’ll try and see
If I can Limericky
And include the prompt word – yes, I shall.
Al Lane wonders why he suggested the word in the first place…
In England, there’s a bit of a craze
For saying insults in different ways
From plonker to prat to poultroon
Then pilchard to blue-arsed baboon…
Tell me, what’s your favourite phrase?
Here’s a limerick with a difference from Bindhu:
Limerick with Plonker:
The good looking dashing plonker,
Makes all the girls go bonkers.
When he smiles his enigmatic smile
His stupidity the box head does disguise.
I love David Harrison’s two limericks:
Basil the goose was a fool
He refused to go to goose school
A very loud honker
He was also a plonker
His friends laughed at him it was cruel.
Lady Godiva took fright
When of Peeping Tom she caught sight
“Go away you plonker and play with your conker!”
She cried as he beamed with delight.
Option two was for a poem about books:
Here’s Graeme Sandford‘s uplifting poem:

Books are fab
Books are brill
Books are so old hat
But we love them still.

The smell of a book
The turn of a page
A book is forever
A wonder of our age.

And if you look
Inside a book
You can find
Every single thing
There ever was
Or is
Will be
May be
And couldn’t possibly be.

And you ask what a book means to me?


And here’s another from Graeme:

Book Haiku

I look at a book…
Next, I look inside the book…
Then I discover…

Geoff Le Pard has written a lovely poem:

All in a Book

A window on a soul

The ramblings of a fool

The steps towards your goal


A treatise on strange fruit

How to iron a suit

Cat pictures, always cute


The life cycle of the dove

A golden treasure trove

For you, with all my love.

Keith Channing, known for his talent at limericks, shows us he can write poetry too:

My love affair with books began
Ere ever I could read
The sight of mother, head in tome,
Was what first sowed the seed.
The words she read, sat up in bed
Fulfilled a deeper need.

She always seemed to be relaxed,
Content and fully rested
The house might well have been a mess
But we never protested
Because we knew that if we had
We could end up molested.

When Dad came home from his day’s work
And looking for his dinner
He’d often phone for pizza,
Always a sure-fire winner.
He had a special name for Mum,
Called her a lazy sinner.

But we kids knew that was a lie
She really was a saint
It’s true! It said so on the book
In letters bold, not faint
And when our father did complain,
She said, “Your slave, I aint!”

Thinking back across the years
I come to realise
The evidence I should have seen
Was right before my eyes
Twas not the book she carried
That led to her demise.

She always held the self-same book
To read it took her ages
And when she died we came to know
How she got worse in stages
Twas the bottle, not the words,
That hid in hollow pages.

I know what you’re thinking, but I never claimed to be a poet, did I?

Bindhu joined in with the poetry:

Books mean the world

A column-full here, a laden shelf there
A heap on the side-board, a pile on the floor
They are housed within, multitude surround me,
Books are what define me, for they resolve my doubts.

Adding to my knowledge, helping me learn more
When over many different kinds of books, I decide to pore.
The fragrance of their print ink, the crispness of the page
Creates a heady feeling, which no wine or drink can make.

The yellow-white pages that constitute all books
Bound by hard or soft covers that give it’s pretty look.
Are slowly disappearing from the now declining stores
As youth are caught up elsewhere and seek books no more.

The pride of a library, a prized possession once,
They made their presence obvious and were oh so distinct.
Sadly, paper backs and hard covers may go out of fashion soon
Maybe they are on the highway to becoming extinct.

Many series, volumes and brilliant manuscripts
Are now going digital, oh goodness what a slip!
What is reading if not with a crispy book in your hand?
Not for me the internet, it gives not the taste nor sound!
Book me a Book!

Rajiv Chopra has written a beautiful poem:

Come gather round friends, a story for thee;
Tales of the mountains, and of the sea.
Songs of the deserts, and rivers that flow;
Odes to the winds that continue to blow.

There are tales of Gods, women and men;
Along with those of goblins, demons and flames.
Stories of bravey, cowardice and vice,
Love betrayal and hearts of cold ice.

In days of old, beneath the stars of the night,
Sitting around the campfire’s warm light,
The Minstrel would sing, of Nature Divine
The stories would travel to friend, kith and kin.

Now found in bound books, these tales of yore,
Thrill and enchant us, sadly no more.
These tales and traditions continue to fade,
Books themselves may soon pass into shade.

Sounbytes replace the story teller’s craft
And books shall soon feel Twitter’s cruel shaft.
But all is not lost if we slow down a tad,
To lose the stories that bind us, would be very sad.

Come gather round friends, a story for thee;
Tales of the mountains, and of the sea.
Songs of the deserts, and rivers that flow;
Odes to the winds that continue to blow.

Your third option was to write a twenty-word story using all of the following words: WORDS, DOUGAL, DALLIANCE, ELIXIR, GAMBOL and PLETHORA. Here are the funny results:

Jason Moody was the first in with his story:

Dougal liked to gambol about, spitting a plethora of words into the air. His recent dalliance as sweet as elixir.

Bindhu completed all three challenges:

In his dalliance with Daisy, Dougal employed a plethora of enchanting elixir words that made her gambol like a lamb.

Rajiv Chopra‘s story will make you laugh:

A plethora of fairies. A bit of elixir, and Dougal wants a wooded gambol, and a dalliance with a pixie!

David Harrison brings the challenge to a close with an entertaining story:

Dougal’s dalliance with Florence was doomed. The elixir caused a plethora of words. “Go on,” said she, “gambol off immediately!”



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26 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Option One

    “How on Earth did that happen?” he said.

    Alone in his craft, he reviewed the history of his planet’s final days. Who could have foreseen that the new President’s determination to wipe out a band of religious zealots would have that result? MAD, they called it, and MAD it was!

    Option Two
    Published today as Missing

    Ing Seo-yeon was the youngest daughter of the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to the Court of St James. Her father, Ing Dong-woo, had held the position for twenty-seven years, arriving in London fully three years before Seo-yeon was born. No embassy official had been in post longer, and none had more respect at Court than Dong-woo.

    Seo-yeon had been tutored during her early years, along with the children of other embassy staff and of London-based businessmen from her country, to the standards expected of the children of senior diplomats of the republic. At only sixteen years of age, she had won a place at Cambridge University’s prestigious Trinity College where she studied International Politics and Comparative Philosophy. After graduating, she moved on to Seoul National University where, at 22, she was awarded a doctorate, and her thoughtful and thought-provoking study on the prospects for peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula was published. The book was not an instant best-seller, but it did find its way quickly onto the shelves of pulic lending libraries, as well as educational institutions and, perhaps more surprisingly, religious institutions. Whether any were sold in Pyongyang is not recorded.

    Following her graduation, she intended returning to London to take up her appointment as First Secretary to the Embassy, with a view to preparing her for an important post at the United Nations. Her parents, family and friends who had journeyed to Seoul for her graduation ceremony, left first; Seo-yeon planned to follow a week or so later, after she hed tidied up some affairs on the university campus.

    She never made it back to London, though.

    The plane on which she was travelling was hi-jacked and its pilot forced to fly it to a disused airfield in a part of the world where trouble is spelled with all upper case letters. During the days that followed, specially trained troops were dispatched, with hostage negotiators, to try to recover the passengers, but the aircraft was empty and burned-out on their arrival.

    Back in London, the newly appointed sub-editor of the Guardian, fully aware that his work was subject to the level of scrutiny that was to be expected during his first week in such an important job, looked with dismay at the headline proposed for a lead article. He struck it through with his thickest red pen and wrote underneath remove duplication.

    The offending headline?


    Option Three

    “Beauty”, her father had told her,
    “Is in the eye of the beholder.
    The beautiful game
    Always ends up the same.
    You’ll work it out, when you are older.”

  2. Bindu says:


    Missing the igniting spark
    So here I am in the dark
    About how to pen a winner
    Think of me not a dimmer.
    Truly I nurture a secret dream
    That my thoughts flow in a perennial stream
    So that they jog & jostle the mind
    And leave the troubling past behind.
    MISSING -the courage to let my pen speak!

    A Monologue…
    Beautiful! A golden heart or is it something more tangible? Something in the line of vision? Is it something that you ought to feel? Or is it about an experience which involves your senses and not your heart. Beauty- does it truly lie in the eye of the beholder? Or is it the mind’s eye, the soul which is the true judge of a thing of beauty. To me beautiful is about goodness, kindness, being loving and gentle. Now that’s beauty which will give joy forever, isn’t it?

    50 Word Story.
    “How on earth did that happen?” he said.
    “Is everything all right?” asked Tara.
    “Yes and more! I’m invited to be a guest writer on Esther Newton’s blog! Couldn’t be for real!” he rubbed his hands in glee.
    “Oh your dream comes true! Congrats.”
    “Now doesn’t that call for celebration?”
    “Sure. Let’s step out for some inspiration.”


  3. Jocelyn Barker says:

    Hi, Esther!

    Here is my flash fiction story of 50 words:

    A Possible Future

    “How on earth did that happen?” he said.

    “What?” she said.

    “Leaving the EU.”

    “Fear. People do stupid things through fear.”

    “Like panic buying?”

    “Er … yes.” She eyed him quizzically.

    “I may have been affected a little myself,” he said.

    “What d’you mean?”

    “Belgian chocolates, champagne, olive oil …”

    She groaned.


    I am working on my next assignment but not enjoying it. Hope to get it to you soon.

    Best wishes, Jocelyn.

  4. Rajiv says:

    Some brilliant ones there, Esther. Lets see what I come up with… I have an idea for ‘Beautiful”. Let’s see about the others. Lots of beer tomorrow night may help to loosen up the brain cells!

  5. Jason Moody says:

    “How on Earth did that happen?” said Gavin.
    His son, William, seven was stood smiling. He looked to where his Dad pointed.
    “What’s Mum doing on the hutch roof, William?”
    William shrugged.
    “She said she had had it up to here with you,” he gestured.
    “She did?”
    William nodded.
    “And Grandad,” said William.

  6. Jason Moody says:

    “How on Earth did that happen?”

    Geoff, like the rest of the office were silent, staring at their feet.
    A few strained coughs punctured the silence.
    The manager flapped his arms like a petulant child.
    “Right. So nobody can explain why there’s a rhino in the kitchen?”
    Complete silence.

  7. Jason Moody says:

    Janice stood in the centre of their kitchen.
    The mess was incomprehensible.
    Her husband, Pete, was on all fours wearing just a studded choker and trunks.
    Next to him stood a rather wonderfully sculpted young man with a whip.
    “How on Earth did this happen?” asked Janice, licking her lips.

  8. Jason Moody says:

    “How on Earth did this happen?” asked Milly.
    Her two sons, Arthur and Jeremy were sat cross-legged on the living room floor.
    “I leave you two for a seconds and…”
    Jeremy dipped his chubby digits into the flower pot and joyfully shovelled the contents into his mouth.
    “Brilliant,” said Molly.

  9. Jason Moody says:

    Stacey was nervous. She had been building up the date all week. Now it was Friday night, she could barely contain her nerves. Two half-glasses of red had not corrected this.
    She toyed with ordering another.
    “Hiya,” said her ex.
    “How on Earth did this happen?” soul sinking into bottom.

  10. Jason Moody says:

    The celestial planning conifer were busy finishing Earth.
    God sauntered in, yawning.
    “Good morning. What we got?”
    He was handed a rolled up parchment. He unfolded it and raised an eyebrow.
    “It’s called Hounslow,” said one.
    “How on Earth did this happen?”
    They squirmed.
    “Err. Sorry Lord.”

  11. Rajiv says:

    Hi Esther… I don’t have one for two of them… very little time this week..
    But, here is a piece on beauty.. It’s long!

    I was sitting in the balcony of a friend’s house in the hills, a few years ago. It was raining, and the clouds disturbed the view. Yet, it was cool, and the air was refreshing. Human nature kicked in, and I focussed my energies on the clouds that were obscuring the view. As I fussed about them, I forgot about the cool, fresh air that I was enjoying.

    After a short while, the rain stopped, and the clouds rolled away. I now found myself staring straight at the Trishul mountain range ( a part of the Himalayas). There they stood, with the beautiful blue sky above them, surrounded by white clouds, with the green trees in the foreground. It was a marvellous sight, pagan in a way, and spoke of Nature in all her beauty and glory.

    The mountains stood there, smiling gently, as they have stood for millions of years before man. And, there they shall stand, if man allows Nature to have her way.

    The sheer beauty of the mountains, of Nature, seemed to permeate every cell of my body and soul.

    That was the moment that I realised that I wanted to dedicate my life to being a photographer-writer. That is the moment when I realised that I would dedicate this direction to trying to find beauty in Nature, people, things, and try to focus people away from ugliness.

    That was the moment when I understood beauty.

    That, for me, was the moment of truth.

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