Friday, 9 April 2021

'The world's most trusted'

If there's one thing I've learnt over a decade of writing to prompts, it is that there is no single 'right' way of doing so, and that what I used to fear was my boringly predictable offering (because it was me that thought it) is not  – cannot be – any such thing. So, thank you, Terrie for your elegantly-expressed note as to why you didn't; well done all of you who picked up and ran with last week's words, and congratulations to  Jim whose extended finger in  'A glass of milk' reached the winning tape fractionally before the jostling rest. 

This week I've behaved myself and used volume 1 of  the Shorter OED, A-M, to choose:

Words for the coming week,  erudite  holly  meander 

Entries by midnight Thursday 15th April, new words posted Friday 16th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 2 April 2021

A bit of shameless self-promotion

Another week of inspired usage of prompt words to craft sentences and which both entertained and, as usual, tested my ability to rank them. In the end it was John's crumbling of cheap cake in 'Home hospice' that propelled it to the fore. 

As I was for a short spell this week, with my first-ever independent review and interview, which can be read on https://carolmckay.blogspot.com/2021/03/sandra-davies-drink-with-dead-man.html 

 Words for the coming week are: float Michelangelo wild 

 Entries by midnight Thursday 8th April, new words posted Friday 9th Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Smaller but no simpler

This month, an annual on-line short story challenge I take part in had half the number of entries it usually attracts. Choosing a top three should have been simpler, but it definitely was not. Similarly here: a shortlist, yes, but deciding on numero uno took an age. Eventually, however, it was Terrie's SAS Diaries episode 138 which nosed in front. Have to say it (again) but everyone just goes from strength to strength.

Words for the coming week are: cheap  powder  testosterone 

Entries by midnight Thursday 1st April, new words posted Friday 2nd 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 19 March 2021

More than a little trepidation

Balancing the need for bookcases against the likelihood of getting back to printmaking, and wondering about disposing of it, I have looked out the manual for my etching press, and, since it's sitting there, used it to select next week's prompt words. Fewer posts don't mean an easier choice for top place. In the end I chose John's 'The summit', for his insistence on the correct use of trilogy (and apologise for the lazy misuse in mine). 

Words for the coming week are:  key lubricate unwanted 

Entries by midnight Thursday 25th March, new words posted Friday 26th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

 

Friday, 12 March 2021

A week of extra-vivid, dreams

Plus Scrivener going rogue on me and my very excellent beta-reader pointing out (quite rightly) where novel #5 has lost the plot and gone soggy, has made this place an even more welcome diversion. As ever, I had no idea where a word such as 'hotel' might take you but was hugely entertained by all the variations, and after re-reading several times, eventually decided Jim's 'The Hotel Harrow' best hit the spot. 

This week's words are taken from the spines of the dozen books acquired in the past seven days.   

Words for the coming week are: curate pretend trilogy 

Entries by midnight Thursday 18th March, new words posted Friday 19th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Oh, Patricia!

 Woken to the news of your broken right arm!

Sending grapes and gin and good wishes, and hoping for your speedy recovery (while the writerly part of me wonders  which bone and how does it feel, because Luke breaks his arm in book 5  –- felicitously entitled 'Snap is not a children's game'!) But seriously, I do hope you are not in too much pain.

So, it was the reminder of John Wyndham which dictated this week's winner, although his 'Kraken Wakes' not one of my favourites. 'The Chrysalids', re-read last year, blew my pre-teen mind. Thank you David for  'Wiskey Galore'. 

Words for the coming week are: hotel  limit  quarter 

Entries by midnight Thursday 11th March, new words posted Friday 12th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Dead heat this week – apologies

… and 'dead heat' perhaps an appropriate description of the orange-skied frost seen from my window.

Two very different pieces, each appealing to different parts of wherever it is appreciation for such things resonate – NOT in all honesty, a problem – but try as I might I cannot place one above another so am this week declaring a dead heat between Patricia for the clever and tight-writ 'Winging it', and Perry for his blissful version of 'The Auld Triangle', and can assure you that the rest of you were very close behind. 

New words for the coming week are:  barrel provoke Scot 

Entries by midnight Thursday 4th March, new words posted Friday 5th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 19 February 2021

No-one mentioned a rose garden

 Another week sped past, enlivened and embellished with dogs and gods and other horrors inbetween (and no-one mentioning a rose garden), which David's "pedigree Egyptian Pharaoh Hound" very neatly encapsulates, thus earning him this week's top spot. Thank you one and all for posts and much enjoyed comments. 

New words for the coming week are:  husk initial issue 

Entries by midnight Thursday 25th February, new words posted Friday 26th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Blue shadows through a hawthorn hedge

The hedge being dun-coloured, the colours beyond unexpected, I took this as a not-bad metaphor for how three dun-coloured words are, week after week, brought to unexpected light by the skills of your several keyboards. And thank you all, both for the week-on-week pleasure and for you companionship.

 And on the subject of metaphors, I'm awarding Antonia an honourable mention for her " I believe the truth has shifted a little, like shingle walked on". Top spot goes to Terrie for her beautifully-told untitled album in the attic tale.  

New words for the coming week are: Egypt  mongrel pardon

Entries by midnight Thursday 11th February, new words posted Friday 12th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Not for the money!!

Writing that is. On the way to writing this I wandered onto my Blurb site and checked profits on sales of my books over the past several years. An astounding £9.60. Just as well it's more important to me that I keep my brain ticking over.

And ticking brains a-plenty this week contributing here, but not so difficult a choice, because the pleasure received from each episode of Holly's current has been considerable so it's only right that episode number five earns top place.

New words for the coming week are:  album  shingle undiscovered

Entries by midnight Thursday 11th February, new words posted Friday 12th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 29 January 2021

A wealth of entertainments

 As Antonia so rightly says, each of us brings here, every week, well-worded stories to meet whatever triple-worded prompt I throw at you (this week courtesy of a Seamus Heaney poem). More often than not there are two or three which have a marginally greater impact than some of the others. Often others' comments open my mind to other interpretations, And sometimes, as I have said, it's nigh on impossible to separate them and is a source of some embarrassment that in choosing one, it might appear the rest are rejected.  (Even though I know we're all grown(-ish) up enough not to be too hurt.)

This week the choice is exceptionally difficult.  All are outstandingly, magically written. Jim's, without doubt, is the most horrifying; the final line of John's 'A hunting we will go' would've propelled it to top spot, but in the end (and I've re-written this three times) I'm picking Perry's 'Port in a storm'. 

New words for the coming week are:  pilgrim  plait  roadblock 

Entries by midnight Thursday 4th February, new words posted Friday 5th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Occasionally-recurring glitch

That is, the disappearance of the delete' button for mis-placed or mis-spelt comments. It does seem to be linked to updates and has been happening at least since  2004 so, fingers crossed, will eventually right itself. In the meantime, a bit more care and some small tolerance should suffice. Not as if it's exactly horror, is it? Plus I think I can delete from behind the scenes, so if you copy/paste your comment into the right place I should be able to remove the duplicate.

Not always easy to say what horror is, exactly, is it? (my writing tends towards the noir), but the subtle, slippery, shy and insidious greyness of it is very evident in this week's winner – Patricia's 'Visitors' – my favourite of the many excellent and entertaining varieties on offer – thank you one and all.  

New words for the coming week are:  allocate poach  trajectory 

Entries by midnight Thursday 28th January, new words posted Friday 29th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

 

Friday, 15 January 2021

Back to self-indulgent

Having finally got launched on the sixth in my 'Love triangles with murder' series I'll again be hijacking the occasional set of prompts in an attempt to kickstart a scene or build a character's back story. Titled 'Mercy' there'll be little in the way of continuation but I will try and obey the rules and write a stand-alone entertainment.

Entertainment certainly to be found this week, even though Paris was a pain to use; I thank you all for your several impressive efforts which invariably made picking a 'winner' as difficult as ever. In the end, I chose Jim's 'déju vu' because of its near-silent but relentless and nigh-on invisible brand of horror. 

New words for the coming week are: early  mate  squalid 

Entries by midnight Thursday 21st January, new words posted Friday 22nd 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Full house!

At least of the Prediction crowd, this week, and good it is to begin the year so strongly – welcome one and all to 2021.

I did spend some time pondering on the potential (or intent) of Perry's dialogue-rich triplet titles when taken as a whole, and promise the idea only occurred to me after I'd posted 'Je suis desolée', and for a while thought David's windmill shadows in the evocatively-named Wicken Fen might clinch it, but Holly's delicious 'Sink or    Swim' leap-frogged both to become first winner of the year.  

New words for the coming week are: counter  heal  Paris 

Entries by midnight Thursday14th January, new words posted Friday 15th 

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Glass half full

Which I dare say it will be, at least a couple of times tonight.  So I've started judging early (but will, as ever, check for later arrivals before making a final choice) from what I thought was a tricky set of disparate words, but which didn't faze many of you for long. As so often, I've discarded the idea of naming a shortlist, recognising its a cop-out for me, and chosen this week's winner on the basis of the shout of laughter reading it generated: John's 'Holiday sentiment', but, as ever was entertained and impressed with the rest. 

new words for the coming week are: embarrass miracle reed

Entries by midnight Thursday 7th January, new words posted Friday 8th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and uses of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever.