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.”


“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?


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. nestmadden says:

    Here’s my reply. Six words! She must be joking. Regard Nest

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Jason Moody says:

    Storm grew. Thunder clapped. Pants soiled.

  3. Jason Moody says:

    40c heat. No sunscreen. Bloody idiot.

  4. Jason Moody says:

    Curry arrived. No poppadoms! World ended.

  5. Jason Moody says:

    Aliens? Where? You meant the kids!

  6. Jason Moody says:

    Dave sulked. Emily fumed. Date over.

  7. Jason Moody says:

    Stay? Leave? Just end it already!

  8. Jason Moody says:

    Missed bus. Work phoned. Oh poop.

  9. Jason Moody says:

    Six words? Ok then. Ta-da!

  10. Jason Moody says:

    Play suspended. Strawberry’s overpriced. Tennis anyone?

  11. Jason Moody says:

    Forgotten birthday. Unhappy child. Livid wife.

  12. Jason Moody says:

    Car crashed. Hit duck. Roadkill anyone?

  13. Jason Moody says:

    Went swimming. Caught short. Nobody noticed!

  14. Jason Moody says:

    I vowed I’d never forgive her. Actually, I promise myself a lot of things. Do I stick to them? No.
    I take another sip of Luke warm coffee to wash down the stale croissant and my mind once again drifts.
    Like it or not. I will have to face her again soon.

  15. Option the first:

    I came, I sawed, I conkered.

    Option the second:


    There once was a humble milkmaid
    Who oft in the haystack had played
    Though she really was wild
    She will not be with child
    She was there on her own, I’m afraid

    Notwithstanding her tastes were eclectic
    Her playmate was purely electric
    When he heard a dull buzz
    Which is what her toy does
    Her father wound up apoplectic

    Once his temper had somewhat subdued
    Though his daughter was practically nude,
    He gave a slight cough
    And said “Turn it off,
    Don’t you know that it’s just bloody rude?”

    He decided to try reverse flattery
    And said “This place smells like a cattery.”
    She grinned ear to ear
    And said, “I’ve no fear,
    I carry at least one spare battery.”

    “You can rant. you can rail, I’ll not care,
    Though I think you are not being fair,
    You can stay there all night
    I don’t do fight or flight,
    And I’m not one you’ll easily scare.”

    Option the third may follow on the morrow…

  16. Jason Moody says:

    Cameron monologued. Eyes rolled. Newspapers squawked.

  17. Jason Moody says:

    On beach. Read books. World dissolved.

  18. Jason Moody says:

    She looked. I looked. Bus left.

  19. Jason Moody says:

    Out walking. Belly rumbled. Forehead sweating.

  20. Jason Moody says:

    We danced. We flirted. She’s gay.

  21. Jason Moody says:

    Great date. She’s gorgeous. Where’s wallet?

  22. Jason Moody says:

    I vowed I’d never forgive her. I told myself that this pain would endure, that I could never forget it.
    If I don’t know what it is to hurt, how would I ever know what it was like to find true love?
    I see she’s come alone tonight. She looks fabulous. I’m fucking doomed.

  23. EDC Writing says:

    Six word story three with meaning

  24. EDC Writing says:

    Ever tempting the finality of flame

  25. EDC Writing says:

    Counting to six so damn stressful!

  26. EDC Writing says:

    Could go on so I won’t!

  27. EDC Writing says:

    Did I tell you I lie?

  28. EDC Writing says:

    Sarcasm ill advised yet so necessary!

  29. EDC Writing says:

    Mirror says old bald move on!

  30. Jason Moody says:

    Got to work. Forgot trousers…again!

  31. Jason Moody says:

    Train delayed again. Time for crossword.

  32. Jason Moody says:

    Itchy foot. Start scratching. What’s that?

  33. Jason Moody says:

    Watched football. Fell asleep. Forgot housework.

  34. Jason Moody says:

    Great party. Oh shit. Ex arrived.

  35. Jason Moody says:

    Devoured McDonalds. Hour passed. Hungry again.

  36. Jason Moody says:

    Missed breakfast. Train late. Curses silently.

  37. Bindu says:

    Thank you. Am glad you enjoyed the story Esther.

  38. Bindu says:

    My 6 word story.
    Alone. I cry. You stand by!

  39. Jason Moody says:

    I vowed I’d never forgive her, but here I am, stood before her, vulnerable and alone.
    She touches my hand and electricity swims through my veins. She makes me feel so alive, and all at once she kills me. I can see that smile reach across her face. Oh, God. Don’t say it.

    “Dan. Can you ever forgive me?”

  40. Bindu says:

    I vowed I’d never forgive her. Or could I? How could I even think of a life without her?

    It had been not to long ago when we had met accidentally at the cafe, an accident in more ways than one. The coffee had dabbled a colour on my pristine white shirt as if it were a canvas for modern art. Had she been apologetic? Far from it! She accused me of having blocked her way and the spill – a consequence! That’s what had got me hooked. The attitude!

    Well that’s how it had begun and this is how it is now. She has walked over me to reach out to her new partner, Thea. Till today she has dropped no hints, showed no signs of her leaning towards her own kind. She had led me on while I had been sinking deeper and deeper, to a point of no return. Perhaps.
    I vowed I’d never forgive her. How could I have?

  41. Bindu says:

    Fearful thoughts begin to raid,
    As the obstacle-mountains begin to grow,
    Scary thoughts transform from a trickle to a flow.

    Feel the worries and anxieties heighten.
    For as your fears become larger than life,
    Your troubles increase,sense an internal strife.

    Let go of all struggles and cares,
    It’s good to let go and stand and stare.
    It helps you stay cool and calm,
    And bravely weather many a storm.

  42. Six-word story from me.

    He left. Never came back. Never!

  43. Jason Moody says:

    I let you in. You lied.

  44. Jason Moody says:

    Toast fell. Butter down. screw life.

  45. Jason Moody says:

    He said. She said. I’m confused.

  46. Jason Moody says:

    I’m gasping. Ooooh…coffee. No milk!

  47. Jason Moody says:

    No internet. Sad face. Hopelessly lost.

  48. Jason Moody says:

    One more. Another one. Packet gone!

  49. Jason Moody says:

    I place the flowers at the headstone. The wind and rain have ravaged those left before. I stand back and close my eyes. I picture her face, her laughter and her heart-melting smile.

    “Happy birthday, darling,” I whisper.

    My thoughts darken. I am once again brought back to that morning. My mind is crippled with a life-long sadness I will never shift. My heart will never heal. How can it? I will never forget what she did, and I vowed I would never for give her.

  50. Option the third

    This may be the opening of A bump in the Knight, the sequel to Knight and Deigh which I am considering for NaNoWriMo this year.

    She said yes. Sophie had said that she would marry me. Why, then, was I feeling so deflated? I’ll tell you why. It’s because of the ‘but’. But not until I could walk down the aisle with her. That meant unaided. The hospital rehabilitation physiotherapist, Mrs Fan, had told me that I was doing well, but by her timetable, it would be ages before I’d be able to walk unaided. For goodness’ sake, I’m still at least a month short of walking with a frame. I can only manage a few metres, supporting myself in the training machine. Unaided? It would have to be six months or more.

    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I should count my blessings; that I should look back at where I was only a few months ago, facing the rest of my life in a wheelchair. Yes, Sophie and I had some good times, scuba diving, sky-diving, speedboating and so on, but through it all, I was the cripple, and Sophie was my carer. We both deserve better than that.

    I vowed I’d never forgive her if she left me, but who could blame her if she did? She’s young, fit, attractive, capable, strong… everything I’m not. I depend on her physically, mentally and emotionally, and all I have to offer in return is money and what it can buy. It can’t buy happiness. It can’t buy contentment. It can’t buy love. It can’t buy any of the things that human beings are wont to give freely. Sophie had said yes, but was that enough?

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