Tag Archives: Fictioneers

Friday Fiction – Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This week’s FF picture comes from the adventures of Sandra Crook. You can read other responses to it, or join in with one of your own, at Rochelle’s FF HQ. No doubt there will be plenty of Gladiators and Christians to delight the palate this week.

My story is below, with a brief rider at the end. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feelings, and your suggestions for improvement.


Appearances Can Be Deceiving

“We should go to Greece sometime,” said John, looking up from his magazine. “It looks all ancient and cool.”

“Huh?” I was trying to concentrate on Jordan’s latest makeover. It looked very similar to her last one: big boobs, plastic face. Neither one something I’d had much luck copying.

“They’ve got a picture of the apocalypse here.”

I almost looked over. “What’re they naming the fourth one – Conquest or Pestilence?”


“Biblical interpretation or Modern?”

He was completely stumped. “The building?”

“Oh, you mean Acropolis,” I looked then. “Jesus, John. That’s the Coliseum.”


“In Italy. Remember our honeymoon, dear?”



I’m aware that this isn’t actually the Coliseum either. For the purposes of the story though, it was a picture of the Coliseum that John was looking at.

And no, this isn’t in any way autobiographical.

If you’re interested in the Conquest / Pestilence reference, Wikipedia touches on it here.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Friday Fiction – Memories

Tough one this week: the photograph is Rochelle‘s own and a fascinating collection. I wrote this story as scantily as I could and it was still 158 words. Some fierce editing was needed to bring it down to 100; I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think.

I’m on and off with computer time this week, so please forgive any delay in reading your comments and/or stories.



Alma’d felt so grown up, consigning her etch-a-sketch to history in the ninth box. Each Christmas since, she’d chosen something special, like the photograph she found in the trash after Anthony’s ship sank. When she met Ralph at a concert she put the ticket in, even though it was only June.

But as the years passed, she began to worry: there were only 36 boxes.

She and Ralph spent that Christmas at the sea. Alma paced the beach and picked out two large shells. She returned to find Ralph smiling at the hotel door, his arms stretched around a present.

* * * * *

Some notes. Only read these if you’ve got lots of time and nothing better to do.

Pre-edit, I really liked the opening paragraph, but it was too long and had to go. I felt it was a better explanation of the set up, and of Alma’s character: Alma started the collection when she was nine, looking back over her childhood and allocating one box for each year. She felt so grown up, putting her etch-a-sketch in the ninth box and thus consigning it to history.

A few comments have mentioned the other items. I can’t explain them all, but here’s a few I know…

#2 Alma was very ill as a toddler. The medicine bottle represents this and her gradual return to health.

#11 & 13 Alma learned to skate at 11, by thirteen she excelled at ice hockey.

#14 Alma’s older brother, Anthony was in the navy. When she was 14, his ship was hit by a torpedo and sank. Her mother, heartbroken, threw out all her old photographs of Anthony, including this one of him with Alma. Alma found it in the bin and rescued it for her treasure trove.

#24 When she was 24, Alma went to a summer concert and met Ralph. She was so certain about him, she immediately shelved the ticket instead of waiting until Christmas.

#31 Alma felt this year that she’d achieved pretty much everything. She was married, had a house, a car and a dog. She was packing away her monopoly set pending the arrival of her firstborn when she realized how well the pieces matched her life.

#32 Alma and Ralph’s first child arrived.

#36 With one box to go, Alma went for a walk on a beach and sent a prayer into the waves that the conclusion of the boxes wasn’t a sign. Luckily, she’d picked a diamond in Ralph, who knew the most valuable present he could buy his wife was a new set of shelves (or boxes) and 36 more years of memories.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Crushed

Even those who buy into the “inspiration not illustration” theory might struggle a bit to work out how this story fits this week’s prompt. I had a few ideas which came to naught, then settled on this title before writing a piece which I don’t think fits the title all that well! Nevertheless, thanks to Rochelle for all her hard work guiding this merry band and to Roger Bultot [sorry, not sure of his website. If someone lets me know or if I find it, I’ll add the link] for providing the photo.

For those who missed it, I posted a pledge regarding constructive criticism on Monday. You can read that pledge by clicking on the scalpel picture in the right sidebar, and add the picture to your site if you enjoy receiving concrit on your own stories.


Crushed (Genre: Romance – this is getting to be a habit!)

I waited for him to take it back. He couldn’t mean it; we’d been through so much together. His blue eyes stared into mine, pleading for an answer. He wanted me to tell him I understood, maybe even that I’d been thinking the same thing.

“Amy. Say something.”

I knew it was wrong to be angry. When a boy says he loves you, you should be flattered, happy … anything but angry.

But I trusted him. We were friends. We’d already been through so much as friends, how could we change that now?

I couldn’t speak. Then he kissed me.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Him

Well, what do you know? A long time ago, I sent Rochelle two photos I thought she might like to use for the FF prompt. We had one a few months ago and I’d forgotten all about the other. But then this morning, I find people linking to my blog (thank you!) and when I go to check out their blogs – Bam! It’s my photo of a model bee at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. The bee is probably long gone, but the centre is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the neighbourhood.

Him (Genre: Romance)

When we were seven, he was my best friend: we’d hunt butterflies together and search the clover for four-leafers. But puberty drove us apart. He wasn’t my type – bigger and hairier than the boys I liked – and I didn’t think I was pretty enough to be his.

He bumbled into my life again at my parents’ golden wedding. I’d been stung by a thousand others by then and I’d given up on the whole game.

We walked in the garden and lay together among the clover, looking at the stars and talking about finding the right place to spend winter.


Field Notes:

In Canada, it appears to be much more complicated, but in England there are three kinds of stinging insect: wasps, bees and bumble bees. Wasps are nasty little monsters, who will sting you for fun. Bees (honey bees) are industrious and quiet and will only sting if attacked. Bumblebees are fantastic creatures. They are relatively uncommon, seem to love clover even though it’s much less vivid and beautiful than many other flowers and are renowned for being “scientifically unable to fly.”

Thinking about this distinction reminded me of relationships – if one has to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince, perhaps one also has to go through a few wasps and honey bees before finding an incredible and wonderful bumble bee.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

This week’s prompt for FF comes from An Elephant Can’t. After last week’s fairly literal take, I’ve gone right off the deep end this time – kudos and gratitude to Rochelle for continuing to challenge me every week. If you’ve got time, do head over to her blog and take a look at the other stories linked there.

In the meantime, enjoy mine…


No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

She’d always dreamed about it: knee deep in the sea; pina coladas on the rocks and absolutely nowhere to be. The songs of escape tempting her regularly on her daily commute.

In the end, it had been so easy. Leave the car – with the keys in – on a busy street. Leave the apartment door open. The only really tough bit had been parting with her housemate, Alfie, but he’d find somebody else’s window box to nest in soon enough.

When the money ran out she’d have to decide what to do, but until then she’d gone coastal on them all.


If you’d like to share some of the music from Jess’ daily commute, have a look here, here, here and here. If you don’t like country music, don’t click on those links!


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Louisa

This week’s FF prompt has the slightly unusual description, of being from “Indira by way of Scott Vanatter“. I’ve no idea what that means, but thanks to both of them – and to the driver of our bus, Rochelle – for setting me going on this particular story. I hope you’ll see where the first line came from … I thought it was kind of cute when I spotted it.



My grandmother, never prone to tact, once described Louisa as having “a face like the back of a bus.” But I loved her.

I was seven when I first saw her, intoxicated by the promise of long weeks idle. Louisa became the herald of summer; her annual visits anticipated just as eagerly. September, at thirteen, I found some words to say and she, fifteen and all grown up, responded with a smile, then went away.

The back of a bus, only seen as it leaves you standing, unsure, at the side of the road. Perhaps Granny was right after all.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Ted

Another guest, so another quick post for FF. This week’s picture comes from Cabin Fever and you can see more responses to it at Rochelle’s homepage for the group.

Under my 100 word story is the longer version I wrote first. I sort of prefer it, but a word limit is a word limit! As ever, feedback is welcome and feel free to just read the short version if you prefer.



He came to the Palace every day, to marvel at the guards in their resplendent uniforms and to watch the ships coming in. He didn’t know what resplendent meant, but his Grandfather had used it, back in the days when the old man hobbled beside him, and the word was his only legacy.

The ships carried every sort of cargo, but the trawlers were Ted’s favourite. Piles of fish cast, stinking, onto the jetty.

It was beside a pile of fish that Ted waited every morning for his Father’s ship: last seen heading East in search of the golden albatross.


Swan Song

He came to the Palace every day, to marvel at the guards in their resplendent uniforms and to watch the ships coming in. He didn’t know what resplendent meant, but his Grandfather had used it, back in the days when the old man hobbled beside him, and the word was his only legacy.

The ships carried every sort of cargo, but the trawlers were Ted’s favourite. Piles of fish cast, stinking, onto the jetty. Sometimes one or two were still alive, flicking bright scales across the concrete in a swan song of beauty.

It was beside a pile of fish that Ted waited every morning for his Father’s ship: last seen heading East in search of the golden albatross.

And it was beside a pile of fish that the guards found the man they recognised as their daily visitor. Some had said he was a ghost even before that – even the oldest couldn’t remember a time before his visits began – but the old man’s body was real enough. None had seen him arrive that day, but many people had heard him singing, the same ancient sea shanty he sang every day, something to do with a golden bird.




Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Man, what are you doin here?

This week’s FF photo nearly made me quit. I just couldn’t get the story to work – I had a few “scenes” which I tried out but none of them was really a story or worthy of the group. What I ended up with still isn’t made favourite ever, but I’ve decided to post it so let me know what you think.

You can read other people’s responses to John Nixon’s photo by following the links on Rochelle’s page

Alternatively, just go here to enjoy what a clever writer can do with 300 words and a piano man.


Man, What Are You Doin’ Here?

“I’m worried he can’t reach the pedals from there,” said Darren, indicating a joke piano with two legs sticking out of it.

Miranda felt a giggle creep up from her stomach. The whole date had been a disaster, from the parking ticket on his car to the appalling service at the restaurant. But then, what was it they said about friendships formed in foxholes?

“That’s not funny,” she said, holding back the laughter.

“I know,” he smiled, “But at least you’re smiling now.”

Tears welled in her eyes as she fought back a guffaw. “He gets really into his music!”


Filed under Friday Fiction

A World Of… continued

Apparently, the boys haven’t quite finished their argument…

“Anyway, it’s not an elegra… whatever you said,” Matty continued. “If you put the words together, you get el…gi…ti…zeli … elgitizeli!”

I was inclined to agree, but Luke is clever. And a perfectionist. If he’d picked a name for the creature he’d drawn, he’d have his reasons.

“No it wouldn’t, stupid.”

“Don’t call your brother stupid,” I said automatically, feeling stupid too.

“Those are all the head ends of the words,” Luke continued. “It’s got the middle of a tiger, so it needs the middle of the word. El…ra…ge…br…on.” He spelled it out slowly.

“Explain it to me like you’re talking to a four year old,” the guy in Philadelphia says. If he’d met my youngest, he’d have said “Explain it to me like you’re a six year old”.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – A World Of…

Short on time this week, so I’ll just say thanks to Rochelle and EL Appleby for hosting and providing the picture respectively. As regular readers will know, feedback is always welcome, and as long-term followers may notice, these boys have been around before.

ADDENDUM: If you have time, there’s a bit more of this story here


A World Of…

“It’s an elragebron.”

“It’s a world of ridiculous is what it is.”

I can hear the boys arguing again. Luke’s been drawing so it’s probably about that. Matty likes to tease him when he gets home from school, and I’m worried he’s being bullied, and taking it out on his brother. My husband says it’s just what boys do.

Matty’s new phrase makes me laugh: ‘A world of’ whatever. I mustn’t, though. I must be the serious parent and discipline him for being mean. Then I catch sight of the picture. And it is … it’s a world of ridiculous.


Language note: I didn’t see the tail at first, so it was going to be an elragra. Of course, inspiration not illustration and all that, but I think the new name works too. For those who can’t work it out:

ELephant giRAffe tiGEr zeBRa liON


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing