Tag Archives: Short Story

Read ‘Em And Weep

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook, follows me on Twitter or, unlikely as it seems, occasionally looks at my Google+ account, will know that for the past two years or so I have been undertaking a reading marathon of Pratchett proportions.

I started with The Colour of Magic and continued with all 41 Discworld novels, as well as the maps, cookbooks, tourist guides, kids books and short story collections. After this I started on the non-Discworld books – Strata, The Dark Side of the Sun, the Bromeliad trilogy, the Johnny Maxwell books, etc.

The reason for this single-minded readathon are numerous, I tend to reread my Pratchett collection every few years anyway, but after his untimely death in 2015 I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a book by any other author.

I assumed this feeling would pass but several months later I was still in the same mood, a year later I felt the same, two years later and I was still in my reading rut.

Seemingly unrelated, about two months ago we got notice that our landlord wanted their house back, which was a bit inconvenient because we were just in the middle of trying to find somewhere of our own to buy. Scroll on to about a week ago and the house is full of boxes as we get ready to move to a new rental. I was packing up my Pratchett collection (shudder) and amongst them I found my Kindle, untouched since I picked up The Colour of Magic.

I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I left it on top of my drawers in our bedroom. Then, last Sunday night I was getting my stuff ready for work the next day and thought “why the hell not” and slipped the e-reader into my bag.

When I arrived at the train station on Monday morning I got it out and started reading (American Gods by Neil Gaiman, if you must know!), and have been doing so on every journey to work and back since. It seems my reading mojo has returned and, with it, my brain has also fallen off a deep precepice into the icy waters of “I Have To Write” again.

Ideas are sloshing around inside my head like a particularly spectacular Formula One pile up and my fingers are itching to type. But what to do first?

I’ve been working on a few things, slowly, for the past few months, a Discworld fan-fiction piece about Rincewind; a comedy fantasy novel about a vampire; a biography about my life as a type one diabetic; a kids book I’ve been working on for a couple of years now.

All these conflicting stories are arguing for precedence, so what I’m going to do is…go to sleep! Life is complicated enough at the moment without worrying about what and when to write, so I just need to put digits to keyboard whenever I get the chance.

Wish me luck!


Five Minute Writing Challenge Four

So, to the final five minute writing story! The word we were given for this one was “Spoilers”, which obviously made me immediately think of Dr Who, which made me think about time travel (what can I say, I like time travel)!

So the story which travelled to my fingers, without the inconvenience of journeying through my synapses, was this one. I call it Spoilers.



‘I wish you hadn’t done that.’


‘I was rather hoping that I might be able to see the movie without finding out what happened at the end beforehand.’

‘You mean you don’t know?’

‘Well, no. Why should I? No one I know does!’

‘But it’s the most famous story in the world!’

‘Really? That’s funny, none of my friends have ever heard of it.’

‘But how. It’s formed today’s culture!’

Buck suddenly realised he didn’t recognise where he was. His gaze flashed around the surrounding area trying to find something familiar, eventually alighting on a date under the clock in the cinema foyer.

November 6th, 2086. He’d travelled 70 years into the future.

Suddenly a holographic sign flashed up showing the main feature.




Five Minute Writing Challenge Three

After the cheeriness of the previous two five minute challenges (*sarcasm*), I decided to go all out for this one and actually try and do something with a slightly lighter feel.

I believe the prompt for this one was “any colour, as long as its purple”. I started writing with a vague idea in mind and ended up with a kind of nonsense story for kids.

I call it Purple.



‘But we don’t have any purple giraffes!’

‘Well why not?’

‘Because…well, because giraffes only come in a kind of dappled brown.’

‘Oh! What about Orang Utans?’

‘You’re a bit closer there, but orange is the general theme with those.’

‘Okay, so what do you have in purple?’

‘We could dye a sheep for you?’

‘No, that won’t do at all, it has to be natural.’

‘How’s about a parrot?’

‘Too feathery! I’m looking for fur.’

‘A chameleon?’

‘Fur, I said.’

‘Well in that case there’s only really one solution I’m afraid, but it won’t be cheap!’

‘I don’t care, I’ll take it,’ and Rob’s face lit up as he left the store wearing his fancy new yeti skin coat.



Five Minute Writing Challenge Two

The second story I wrote, at my writers group meeting the other week, was prompted by the phrase “I’m not your mother”. Again it was just free writing and I had no clue where I was going to end up when my pen initially hit the paper. Five minutes seems like a long time when you’re waiting in a queue at the post office, but when you have to write a story it’s no time at all.

Of course some of the other’s in the group didn’t write a standalone tale, just the start of something bigger. But my instinct was that, if I have five minutes to write a story in then I shall write the whole of a story in that five minutes!

I call this one Mother.



I’m your father, but you will listen to me anyway!
Just because I had less to do with your journey into this world doesn’t mean I have any less of a say in how you run your life.
Every day I see you growing, and every day I see you becoming more like her. The way you look, the way you act, the way you talk.
All of the things you do are from her, and all of the things you do remind me of her. I wish it weren’t so but it is.
I just wish that for one day I could go without seeing her reflection rote large in your existence, but it’s not to be.
I love you so, and I miss your mother every day. She was everything to me and the accident haunts me every night.
I miss her so!



Exhibition – Dark Visions

So, about a year ago one of my colleagues at Nottingham Trent University, who is a very keen photographer, approached myself and another guy who we worked with because he knew we liked writing. He suggested a collaboration, using his pictures to base a story around.
Steve (the other writer) and I took a little while to look at the pictures, then agreed to have a go.
To put it mildly, the pictures were dark. Lots of black and white seascapes and images of twisted old trees. I took about a millisecond to formulate the story I was going to write after looking at them. I also came up with the title – The Dark Mark. All of the photographs in Rob’s series for this start with the word “Dark”, so it seemed appropriate.
It’s now a year later, much water has passed under the bridge and time has continued to move on in the linear fashion you would expect it to, and in so doing has bought with it the swiftly approaching date of the exhibition of the work we all did. To be precise the show runs from the 27th of September to the 26th of October at Patchings Art Centre, in Nottinghamshire, England.
Now while I’m not one for self-promotion, I am quite proud of the fact that I created this story from nothing more than some pictures taken by a colleague and friend. So I’m going to put one of the posters here and let you decide if you’d like to share it with anyone you think might be interested.
I thank you.
I also thank Rob and Steve for such an interesting challenge and all the discussions we had about it once we decided to proceed.
Depending on the outcome of the installation and the interest in any further projects or work, I may even publish the story on here after the show is done!