My Weekly Writing Challenge

Last week, I gave you a round of fresh challenges. Here are some more:

OPTION ONE: Write a mini story of six words. It can be done – here’s mine as an example:

I awoke. Zombie apocalypse. Oh shit!

OPTION TWO: Write a story, poem, limerick or article with the title AFRAID.

OPTION THREE: Write the opening three paragraphs of a novel. The line ‘I vowed I’d never forgive her’ must appear  in one of the paragraphs.

Last week, your challenges were as follows:

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

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

It was good to see the King of Limericks, Keith Channing, show he’s a master at other forms of writing:

“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!

Here’s Bindu’s story. As I feature in it, I naturally love it!:

“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.”

“Thanks!”

“Now doesn’t that call for celebration?”

“Sure. Let’s step out for some inspiration.”

Jocelyn Barker sent in a wonderfully topical story:

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.

Jason Moody took up the challenge with great gusto:

“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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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.

The celestial planning committee 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.”

OPTION TWO: Write a story or poem, with the title MISSING. Here are you entries:

Again, here’s something special from Keith Channing:

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 public 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 had 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?

MISS ING MISSING

Bindu sent in a fun poem:

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 and jostle the mind
And leave the troubling past behind.
MISSING -the courage to let my pen speak.

Les Moriarty’s poem is haunting:

Missing (since)

I heard footsteps on the stairs

I heard the front door close

That was three days ago

She’s been missing since.

I recall our last conversation

We discussed our dinner that night

I said I would buy the ingredients

She’s been missing since.

I reported her gone at ten this morning

They sent two policeman around

Many questions and an hour later

She’s been missing since.

I contacted friends and family of hers

No one had heard a word

Her mobile just rang and rang

She’s still missing since.

No bank cards used, no e-mail to be seen

No money taken from her account

Her passport still in her drawer

She’s still missing since.

It’s now been a year since I heard her speak

Cuddled, kissed, made love

Not a trace of her has been seen or heard

She’s still missing I’m told.

OPTION THREE: What does the word BEAUTIFUL mean to you? A place you’ve visited? A person? For this option, I wanted you to write a true-life piece, poem, limerick, story – anything and everything was allowed. You came up with some inventive pieces:

Keith Channing, of course, came up with a fantastic limerick:

“Beauty”, her father had told her,
“Is in the eye of the beholder.
The beautiful game
Always ends up the same.
As you’ll find out, when you’re a bit older.”

Bindu penned a list of questions for you:

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?

Rajiv Chopra has written a lovely piece on beauty:

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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100 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Sacha Black says:

    Last push. Grunt. Grunt. Perfect cry.

  2. Jason Moody says:

    Nice meal. Big strain. Feel empty!

  3. Jason Moody says:

    Wake. Rain. Wake. Rain. Summer blows.

  4. Jason Moody says:

    Dead battery. Appointment cancelled. Expletives exhausted.

  5. Paul says:

    Warm up. The race. Next time!

  6. Jason Moody says:

    Spectacular hangover. Bed shared. Oh God!

  7. Jason Moody says:

    Monday morning. Counting hours. When’s Saturday?

  8. Jason Moody says:

    I I’d never forgive her. But here we are on my wedding day and she’s doing my hair. I catch her looking at me in the mirror and smile. She smiles back, but it feels rehearsed.
    How did I ever let myself get into this situation? Why is she here right now? What have I done?
    It’s then it starts to become clear. I get a second of clarity. Andy invited her. I didn’t.
    Now it all makes sense. Now I know what I have to do. If I don’t, I’ll end up being a laughing stock.

  9. Jason Moody says:

    Darn. That’s four paragraphs.

  10. Jason Moody says:

    I vowed I’d never forgive her. How could I? I’d had my Optimus Prime since I was six. I loved that toy. So what if his left arm was missing and he had chew marks all over his body?
    Marvin loved to chew Optimus. He is a really silly dog. He chews all my toys.
    I suppose I’ll write to Father Christmas and get another one. I have been good this year, I’ve even been tidying my room.

  11. Rajiv says:

    hi Esther.
    One of the advantages of being on holiday, is that I could come up with 3!

    Six Word Story – I could get killed by the fundamentalist Hindus we have these days, but here it goes:
    “Ram and Ravana shared a pizza!”

    The opening paragraphs (and, this could very well be the start to Percival)

    “This is a tale from long ago. It is a tale of a Pig named Percival, and his band of adventurers. I am tempted to call them merry adventurers, but that might be stretching the truth just a little bit. As tales go, it is a long and complicated one, but isn’t that just a reflection of life?

    Percival had married Bessie, lost her, and then found true love in a three eyed wench called Jenna. She came along with her sister Trix, who had married his once arch enemy, Basil.

    One morning, as they sat under the shade of a tree in Percival’s garden, sipping the marvellous coffee brewed by his butler, Mortimer, Percival got to reminiscing about the past. Bessie had passed into the shades, and her treachery and betrayal used to rankle Percival. “I never thought I’d forgive her”, he told Jenna, ‘but now I am free of her.’ He rubbed his gently swaying stomach, as he thought longingly of food. The stomach, flattened by his adventures, had re-acquired some of the soft, billowing curves of the earlier days, and he was content.”

    Finally, a poem on ‘Afraid’. I was tempted to wax philosophical, but opted for something lighter instead. A bit of nonsense verse for you.

    “Let me tell you about The Man on The Moon,
    Living alone, he became quite the loon.
    For some reason, somehow, afraid of the dark,
    He woke up early, like the proverbial lark!

    The Man on The Moon, sang quite the tune,
    Always afraid he’d fall off the moon.
    Scared of his shadow, he always ran fast.
    One day he tripped, putting his leg in a cast.

    The Man on The Moon was always afraid,
    He stuttered with fear, at the sight of the maid.
    He pissed in his pants, and made them quite wet,
    Has he overcome his fears? Oh, not quite yet!

    This was the tale, of The Man on The Moon
    Living alone, he became quite the loon.
    For some reason, somehow, afraid of the dark;
    Finally, poor chap, was eaten by a shark!”

  12. Jason Moody says:

    Monday morning. Scrap that. Monday mourning.

  13. Jason Moody says:

    Contest entered. Rules broken? Nerves frayed.

  14. Pingback: Creative Writing Prompts | Sally Jenkins

  15. kds407 says:

    That very first challenge on this post made me laugh since it was said in such a funny way, ending with a swear! However I do find this post interesting since I don’t come across much that happen to have challenges for writing. Want to see my blog, including with my series ZEON? Check out as many posts on my blog as you can to discover who I am! Hope you like it!

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