Tag Archives: Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: Santa vs. Technology

23 Dec

My first Fiction Friday in a while, the prompt was:

Santa has employed a publicity agent and marketing firm to revamp his style; as he feels he has lost touch with the modern child. In your flash fiction submission, choose a scene or event surrounding this event. It might be his decision, his attempts to approach credible firms, or a glimpse into what the “new look Santa” has to offer.

Santa sat in front of the computer, feeling thoroughly confused. Of course, he had delivered these machines to countless children over the years, but until the present moment he had never used one himself. Still, it couldn’t be too difficult. He had already managed to get the thing switched on, and after only forty five minutes. Everything else should be a doddle now that he had figured that out.

Three hours later though he was still staring blankly at the screen. That was the state in which Leonora found him when she arrived to check on his progress. Leonora was a publicity agent, and in her own shrewd opinion one of the best, but she had never taken on a client quite like Santa before. But then she always had problems with the older clients, she just needed to convince him to move with the times. He certainly seemed kindly enough, and hadn’t kicked up a fuss at any of her suggestions. Not even the one about the naked pictures.

Still, from the bemused look with which he greeted her she could tell that it was going to be a long afternoon. It was times like these when she wondered whether her policy of letting the celebrities have as much involvement as possible was really for the best. They tended to get irritable if they weren’t involved, but they were just so incompetent. For goodness’ sake, she could have worked her way through the majority of this list of tasks in less than an hour on her own.

“I just don’t understand what it’s all about.” He was saying helplessly now, gesturing towards the screen. “It all seems rather silly to me.”

Leonora sighed, flipping a wayward strand of hair out of her eyes with a long manicured fingernail and taking control of the mouse. “Twitter’s actually a very valuable tool for self-promotion.” She explained, willing herself to stay calm. “All the celebrities are using it.”

“I see.” Santa nodded, considering. “And what would happen if I pushed this button?”

The screen juddered and then went black. Leonora blew out a breath. She could smell a change of policy in the air.

Fiction Friday: Two Timing

6 Nov

I know I said that I wouldn’t be doing Fiction Friday this month, but apparently something has happened to my common sense, because here I am writing words that I can’t add to my NaNo word count. *sigh* The prompt this week was: “Your character has lived a life full of excuses and until now has gotten away with them”.

Jay hadn’t intended to get himself into this situation. On the whole, he considered himself to be a decent, upstanding sort of guy. Things had just spiralled out of control recently, and he had no idea how to fix them.

It had all started when he met Laura. It was the first time really that a girl had shown interest in him (getting rid of his braces and growing into his nose had helped), and naturally he had been ecstatic. He hadn’t really expected it to go anywhere though, despite exchanging numbers with her at the end of the night.

Then, not two days later, his lab partner Michelle had asked him out for coffee. At this point, he did feel the slightest hint of a guilty pang, but he doubted that he’d ever actually hear from Laura again, so he’d accepted. That was when the problems had really begun.

At first, it didn’t feel like he was doing anything wrong. ‘New York dating’, one of his friends called it, and although he was promptly berated for knowing such girly terminology, he made Jay feel much better. It was only coffee, only a drink, only dinner. He wasn’t doing anyone any harm, not really.

Two months passed though, and things began to get more serious. The L word started to be bandied around, and Jay wasn’t sure what to do. He wanted to say it back, really he did, but the trouble was that he wanted to say it to both of them. Was that wrong? He consulted with his friends yet again, and this time the vote was unanimous. Even the most laddish of them thought that his behaviour had crossed the line. It was around this point that he stopped discussing his relationship dilemmas with them.

It was around the year mark that he decided that this couldn’t go on much longer. He still didn’t know which of the girls he liked better though, they were so different and he enjoyed spending time with both of them. But dividing his time was becoming more and more awkward, the excuses were becoming more frequent and more creative, and the guilt was a rock in his stomach. He had to choose, and soon.

In the event, the decision was taken out of his hands. He was sitting in a restaurant, holding hands with Laura, when he saw Michelle walk in. He could have run, could have hidden, could have feigned illness and gone home early, but he just stayed, rooted in place. Watched Michelle walk over to them, saw her lips move without hearing the words coming out of them, observed everything as if in slow motion. This whole situation had been a disaster waiting to happen and, perversely, he was almost relieved to have been found out.

His last thought before drifting off to sleep that night was that at least he wouldn’t have to spend so much on dinners out in future.


31 Oct

This post does exactly what it says on the tin, apologises for my absence of late. So if you’ve stopped by looking for either my creative writing or my TV recaps, I’m sorry they haven’t been updated recently – I’ve been snowed under with university work, and then on top of that I contracted tonsillitis so have spent the past few days lying in bed and moaning.

This is about to change. I am now on some lovely antibiotics (who says that drugs can’t solve your problems?) and will be getting back to my regular posting schedule ASAP, starting with last week’s Fiction Friday and Ghouls Galore pieces . For now, have a link to an article which I wrote for my university’s on-line magazine, The Bubble:



Fiction Friday: The Antiques Dealer

21 Oct

Today’s challenge was to use the sentence “the townfolk heaved a collective sigh of relief when the antiques dealer packed up and moved away” somewhere in my story. Seeing as I was feeling singularly unimaginative, I decided to use it at the beginning! (If anyone’s interested, this was mostly written in the Durham University Debating Chamber, while waiting to hear David Milliband speak. The talk was free, but I did have to sit on the floor for two hours for the privilege!)

The townfolk heaved a collective sigh of relief when the antiques dealer packed up and moved away. It was a shame really, for had things turned out differently he could have been a valuable addition to the community. Grey-haired, and with a twinkle in his eye, he appeared at first glance to be a kindly sort, like the grandfather who hoists you onto his lap and tells you stories of his war days. Conversation with him inevitably revolved around the subject of antiques, but that was fine, because this was a rich town, and the inhabitants loved to boast of their treasures. There was no greater pleasure for them than to invite him back to their homes, to allow him to run his wrinkled hands over the fine grain of a mahogany cabinet, the pile of a Persian rug, or the glass of a Tiffany lampshade, and to be told how lucky they were to possess such treasures. He helped them acquire more too, and there were certainly no complaints on this front either. It was only when he invited them to see his treasures that the problems started.

It seemed that the whole county had turned out to his rented property, a small farmhouse on the outskirts of the town, practically hopping with excitement at the thought of what riches might lay inside. Their chequebooks lay inconspicuously in their pockets, and each and every one of them was entertaining the thought of cajoling him into offering them a good price after the inevitable brandy had been passed round. But once they had seen the interior of the house, all thoughts of making a purchase were quickly forgotten.

For it turned out that he was not only an antiques dealer but also a collector of curiosities, most of which were items which had once been alive. ‘Once’, however, was an indicator of some time in the distant past, as they were now stuffed, pickled, or nailed to planks of wood, and displayed all over the antiques dealer’s living room. The townfolk were horrified by this, although of course they were far too polite to say, and a smile remained firmly on the antiques dealer’s face throughout the afternoon. It was only one lady, advancing in years and generally regarded as mad, who noticed the sinister glint which had replaced the sparkle in his eyes.

It was not long after that their pets began to disappear. Anything and everything that was not kept inside, and even some that were. No-one knew how he was doing it, but they knew that he was the culprit. And then, one day, not long after a rumour had been spread that the police were going to be involved, he was gone. Again, there was no indication that he was going to leave, no indication of where he had gone. He had just gone. And the townfolk heaved a sigh of relief, and prayed that he would never return.

Fiction Friday – Metaphors

15 Oct

This week’s Fiction Friday prompt was: “Use this metaphor – “a galaxy of longing” somewhere in your story this week.”

I tried to think of a non-ironic way to respond to this, but I couldn’t, so I wrote this instead:


“A galaxy of longing?” Matt snorted, lifting his head from the stack of papers in front of him to raise his eyebrows at his girlfriend. “Really?”

From her position in the armchair opposite, his girlfriend glared at him. “Hey! That’s my masterpiece you’re laughing at!”

“I know.” Matt replied. “And it’s really very…masterful. The metaphors just need a little work, that’s all.”

Jenna pouted as he continued to flip through the pages, occasionally pausing to chuckle, though whether it was at the actual humour or the quality of writing was anyone’s guess. Eventually, she could stand it no longer, and moved across the living room to position herself in his lap.

“You know what?” She announced, pushing her manuscript to the other end of the desk. “Maybe we should save this for another night. I can think of a lot of other things that I’d rather be doing right now.”

“Really?” Matt cocked his head, studying her face. “I thought that you needed criticism to grow as a writer?”

“I do.” Jenna giggled, resisting the urge to clobber him with the result of her last year’s work (a thousand pages, double-spaced, excellent weapon). “But I can get criticism from the internet too, from other writers. It’s a lot more helpful, and it means that I don’t have to see their facial expressions while they’re reading.”

“Fine.” Matt sighed in mock disappointment. “I’m sure they’ll agree with me about the metaphors though!”

Fiction Friday: The Anti Bucket List

7 Oct

This week’s Fiction Friday was to write an anti bucket list, a list of twenty things which I will never do. It said that the challenge could be interpreted either humorously or seriously, and in the end I went for a mixture of the two. This challenge also reminded me that I haven’t written a normal bucket list, so I will be writing and posting that between the next couple of weeks! And so, without further ado:

I will never…

  1. …touch a tarantula. Even if I wasn’t arachnophobic, those things actually are poisonous. Why not just stay out of their way??
  2. …study anything scientific at a high level (or indeed, ever again). I consider myself to be a naturally curious person, but when someone starts talking about physics my brain switches off. Ditto maths. And chemistry.
  3. …enjoy going to bed early. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s just that everything exciting happens at night. Even if “everything exciting” is just people posting things on Twitter.
  4. …shave my head. Apparently it looks good on some people, but I’m not taking the risk.
  5. …get a tattoo. Needles, pain, the fact that it will still be there when you’re old and wrinkly, need I say more?
  6. …be able to sing. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. No-one wants to hear me sing. Ever.
  7. …let this stop me from singing along to my favourite songs. Just because no-one wants to hear me sing, doesn’t mean that they get a choice in the matter.
  8. …like the taste of onions. I can’t explain it, I really can’t. They just do not taste good. And they’ve in EVERYTHING!
  9. …be good at imitating accents. It would make my languages degree a lot easier if I was, but sadly it’s not to be. At a pinch, I can do a Southern drawl, but that’s about it on the accent front.
  10. …pack before the last minute. It’s not that I don’t intend to pack earlier (OK, sometimes it is). It’s just that there always seem to be more interesting things to do.
  11. …have a tidy bedroom. I’m generally a fairly organised person, but you wouldn’t think it from looking at my room. It’s fine though, because I know exactly where everything is. It is on the floor.
  12. …stop listening to songs on repeat. It helps me to learn the words though!
  13. …own enough clothes. At least not in my opinion. And with so many shops on the high street, it would be churlish to refuse!
  14. …eat healthily. I’m not dreadful, but I do have a weakness for crisps. And chocolate. And anything containing an above-average amount of E-numbers.
  15. …play football (or any other ball game) for fun. Sports, yes, but not conventional ones. Give me a good martial art any day!
  16. …take hard drugs. It’s just not worth the risk!
  17. …drink and drive. Not only do you endanger your life, you endanger others. I repeat, it’s not worth the risk!
  18. …hate the way I look. This doesn’t mean that I’ll always like the way I look either, just that I have a healthy body image. I have plenty of other things to beat myself up about, and my appearance isn’t one of them.
  19. …grow up. My father is over fifty and he hasn’t grown up yet, so I see no reason why I should.
  20. …give up on my dreams. If I do, then they clearly weren’t really dreams.

Fiction Friday – Sea Turtles

1 Oct

This week’s Fiction Friday was to write something based on this  image:

I have to say that I started writing mostly based on the turtle, and haven’t really incorporated the arrow into my piece, but here’s what I came up with:

Sea Turtles:

I was twelve the day that my elder sister decided to leave home. She had just left school and our parents thought that she had a glittering career ahead of her. She was going to university to study medicine, and there was no doubt that she would be successful. And then she heard about the sea turtles.

The change was instantaneous. One day she was sitting at the kitchen table, poring over her anatomy textbooks, and chattering excitably about specialisms and  surgeries, the next she was in the hall, gesticulating wildly, explaining her new grand plan. She thought that she was making a difference, doing something worthwhile. My parents thought that she was throwing her life away. As I huddled at the top of the stairs, peering nervously through the banisters, no-one asked me what I thought. Not that I knew what I thought, but it would have been nice to have had a say in the decision that was to change my life forever.

Two days later she was gone. And not just out of the house, out of the country. The plane taking her to Costa Rica went down somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle. No bodies were ever recovered, but we knew that she was dead. All because she wanted to make a difference. All because of some sea turtles.

Challenging Myself

29 Sep

I’m aware that this blog has been neglected for quite some time, but here’s what’s been happening in my life. I went on an epic bus tour of America (alright it was only six states, but it felt pretty epic at the time), I spend three weeks at a language school in Germany, I wrote a 25,000 word novella, and more than anything else, I procrastinated. But now I am well and truly back in the blogging game. This is why:


This is the website of my university newspaper, Palatinate, and if you scroll right to the bottom of the page, you’ll see my name, because I’ve just been made Blogs Editor. Technically, this doesn’t mean that I have to write any blogs, just recruit people to write them for me, but it has got me thinking about my own blog and how I would be a lot better at writing if there was a scary editor-type person breathing down my neck. So, there being a lack of volunteers for the role, I decided to take it on myself, and have set myself a challenge.

The Challenge:

From now until the end of the year, I will post a minimum of two entries per week. These will probably be a Fiction Friday entry and a TV review – I need an excuse to keep watching the hundreds of shows that I’m addicted to once I return to uni!

Let’s see how I do!

Fiction Friday – The Healing Charm

26 Aug

The prompt for this week’s Fiction Friday was this image:

And this is the snippet that I wrote from it:

“You turned her into a fish?” Amy squealed, staring incredulously at her best friend. “A fish? It was meant to be a healing charm! How does a healing charm turn someone into a fish?”

“I don’t know.” William shrugged his shoulders, looking glum. “I said the charm right, I swear.”

“Show me.” Amy demanded. “Maybe if you do it right this time, it’ll reverse the first spell.”

William pointed his wand at the fish, muttering under his breath. With a pop, it vanished, and Miranda re-appeared. At least, he thought it was Miranda.

“You fool!” She wheezed, waving an accusing finger at him. “You were meant to be curing my cold, and I feel as bad as ever! Can’t you do anything right?”

“Uh, Miranda.” Amy cleared her throat. “You might want to look in the mirror. A cold is the least of your problems right now.”

“What do you mean?” Miranda glared threateningly at the pair of them, until Amy pulled a compact mirror from her pocket and handed it to her friend. Then her features froze in horror. “What have you done to me?”

“That’s my cue.” William gulped, dashing out of the room. It seemed the best course of action. After all, there wasn’t much chance of Miranda catching up with him. If there was one thing that OAPs were known for, it wasn’t their running skills.

Fiction Friday – The Silence

6 Aug

This week’s prompt was: Your character walks into a room of people. Everything goes uncomfortably silent and all eyes narrow in on your character. Now keep writing.

And this is what I came up with:

As soon as the doors swing open, you feel the atmosphere change. The gay chatter of just a moment before instantly dissipates into muffled whispers. Heads are turning, people literally craning their necks to get a better look at you. It’s the type of attention that might have been flattering, had the occasion only been different.

Swallowing hard, smoothing down your suit, you force yourself to walk forwards. Although you’re no longer looking at the others, you can feel their eyes following your progress, hear their murmurs as loudly as if they were being shouted directly into your ears. For a moment you consider backing out, just turning on your heel and running, taking the shelter that those heavy oak doors are offering. The outcome would surely be the same.

But you don’t. Drawing in a deep breath, running your hands nervously over your suit for a second time, you take the final few steps. You place your hand on the proffered Bible and look up, facing the room.

“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” You proclaim.

You can do this.

You think.