A Course in Intrepid Writing

by Karyll Browne

The streetlights shone down mystically in the town street on a mild autumn evening. They parked their cars higgledy-piggledy, grabbed their notebooks and pens, and entered the ‘Writers Den’.  A warm welcome was always proffered.  Delightful flapjacks hit the spot.  The writers got down to business, exchanging morsels of ideas and enthusiasm for their work. 

As the weeks flew by and the evenings darkened further, the writers became more confident and willing to share their dreams. There were book writers, blog writers, short story writers – all tentatively finding their way to expanding their creativity in the secure and comfortable space provided.

The traffic light feedback system – green for ‘go lightly’, orange for ‘give me some ideas where I can improve’, and red for ‘sock it to me, be honest’ – was always used wisely and accepted with grace.

Fun and games were employed to improve understanding and enjoyed immensely.  Planning was abound for what could be their next masterpiece. Beginnings and endings were challenged. Was that meant to be the 1st person, 2nd or 3rd they were writing about?

Their minds were aroused to write creatively, short and long episodes to capture the imagination.  The writers refined their workings, knowing they could one day be published.

Alas, the course nights came to an end. Winter was upon them and they would hibernate, writing deeply, testing out plots and conclusions.  They waited for spring to arrive and the chance again to indulge in learning more to meet their insatiable appetites for the written word.

Chipo’s Heritage

By Dione Bradley

(Dione has recently gained a place studying for a Masters in Creative Writing!)

If you want to see Africa, more than anything, open your heart. It’s not only about the sights, sounds or smells, it’s emotions and souls full of depth. I was born with an open heart – I think, most Africans are. It’s only time that sets the theme, only time that determines whether a heart remains open or becomes dried up and shut under the oftentimes harsh heat of the African sun. Growing up, I know my heart got scorched. It didn’t just shut, it shrivelled. Perhaps, that’s why I forgot… everything.

Now I’ve returned. I’m back here, back home in the rural areas of The Houses of Stone.

I’m sitting in a small house burdened by decay and age. It is my father’s house. He built it just before I was born as a gift for my mother, when he was still robust with youth and love.

It’s coming back to me in fractions.

He’d loved my mother – some might say too terribly. The effects of that terrible love are visible up to now. He is a spent man with sun-burnt skin – wrinkled ebony; eyes sunken and permanently red-rimmed from too much drink; a shaggy prematurely grey beard covering most of his face.

He’s perched on a stool, somewhat awkwardly because of an out of shape back and damaged leg. The hardwood walking stick that has always seemed a part of him is never too far off, rested close beside against a wall.

It seems I’ve been hiding out in here since my not so welcome arrival last night. I am labelled the girl whose betrayal devastated an entire community. The girl who betrayed everybody and sold her soul for an air ticket and a Green Card.

Chipo. The whisper comes as if from nowhere. A consuming whisper.

Chipo. I’m still waiting.


Task: Write fifty words based on this picture

“I told her, didn’t I Gary? I said it was a mistake. Chelsea, I said, yeh a pigeon. Yeah dad is a pigeon. Yeh mum is a pigeon. You don’t need to build a paraglider out of crisp packets to fly. Now get up, before someone puts this on Coo-tube.”

By Cat Franklin

Gus, the trouble with architectural photographers is they’re not interested in us. A twitcher would wait for the moment, a proper action shot – whirring, blurred wings. But this guy, we’re just here for scale, he’s only interested in the bloody ceiling. So, on the count of three – evacuate bowels!”

©Ian Hartley

As I lay on the ground, staring up at the ceiling, I contemplated my situation. Two pigeons were eyeing me up curiously and I stared straight back at them knowing I would have to face the inevitable soon. How I longed to fly away with them. Oh to be free!

By Alex Wadsley

Thank you to all entrants into the competition. It was very hard to pick the winners and I enjoyed reading all your work very much.

If anyone would like to enter other short fiction competitions, click on one of the following links:-

Scottish Book Trust 50 Word Short Story Competition

John Fox: The 17 Best Flash Fiction Contests

The Field of Cats

In the open space where all the cats go

There is wild grass and crickets chirruping

Poppies, daisies and buttercups

There is something rustling nearby.

A furry head pops up

And in the gorse bush, a ginger face appears

They approach me

One wants a stroke

One walks in circles round me

One leans his head on my leg

Another cautiously sits down next to me

In a nearby garden

I hear a lonely dog.


Winner of 2014’s Suffolk Young Poet of the Year

Damselfly Writing GroupDamselfly Group Picture

I am slouched into one of the many seats of the oval, pine table that encompasses the room. Its surface is cluttered with mugs, muffins and manuscripts. Crystals, candles and coasters bring character to its marked but polished frame. On this occasion I am surrounded by the people who feed my brain with the knowledge to bring life into my work. Eyes down, pens out, and keyboards ready we create new worlds and characters for the universe of fiction.

By Timothy Howard (back row, second from left).

The Best Story in The World by Jack aged nine and a half boy

The monster doesn’t have eyes like headlamps, horns like daggers or teeth like icicles. He’s just a normal monster.

I won’t tell you what the monster looks like, sounds like, feels like and smells like. I won’t tell you where he lives. You must use your imagination.

Yesterday, the monster ate my English teacher.

That was the exciting part of my story and if you don’t feel excited by thinking about a monster eating a teacher, there’s absolutely nothing I can do for you.


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