Tag Archives: Short Story

INKSPILL 2018 Writing Activity – The Knowledge



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From the Bench


In the next writing activity we invite you to write a short story or flash fiction. Spend 10 minutes writing down initial ideas from the prompt and then spend 30 minutes or more writing the first draft of your story.

Set an alarm on your phone or use this timer https://timer.onlineclock.net/ for 10 minutes.

From the Bench

Someone is sitting on a bench reading a newspaper article about a recent string of crimes. This person knows who did it.

Remember to click.


Idea originally posted by Melissa Dono on Wattpad



My Current Situation & INKSPILL 2018


Sadly October has not turned out as I planned. At the end of the 1st week of the month I underwent an operation and am currently convalescing and undergoing daily outpatient appointments.

Our FREE Online Writing Retreat at the end of October is still going ahead – it is always the final weekend of the month. This year the 27th/28th October.

Guest Writers will be revealed on Friday and I am delighted this will be the 6th annual INKSPILL.

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I will not be posting on the blog this month as healing well is paramount, however, I hope you will join me for INKSPILL… spread the word!

Picture It & Write – Blind Date


pictureitandwrite2copy-12 Click here to link back to Ermiliablog & have a go at this writing challenge yourselves!

Zoe picked up the small card that had been pushed through the letterbox, she turned it over and squinted in the gloomy light. ‘Singles Speed Dating’ she could make that out as it was ten times bigger than the font used for the rest of the invite. Zoe made her way to the kitchen to put the kettle on and read the rest of the card. It was on Friday, Emma had said she wanted to do something over the weekend, would this do? She checked the time on the oven clock, 10:16, she’d be working. Zoe fished around in her handbag for her mobile, then slung it over the back of the kitchen chair. She text Emma as she made her first cup of the day.

Emma text her back later confirming Friday, it was silly but Zoe felt a bit of a flutter, then she exhaled and thought about Friday. The venue may well be The Hilton, the locals would be the people to attend surely. They are the same whether you stick them into a posh establishment or not, in fact two minutes would be far too long with some of them.

Zoe spent several days wondering what she would say, how could she explain her existence and needs to random strangers in under two minutes, it took her longer to drink a Gin & Tonic! She called her mother and some of her close friends, she wanted a male prospective on the whole mission and called her brother, it took him a while to stop laughing and when he realised she was serious he imparted some helpful tips.

Then came the real test, not the event itself but the wardrobe. Zoe looked down at herself and for the first time in months was happy she hadn’t managed to shift the Holiday weight, it meant at least half her clothes wouldn’t even make it to the flung on the bed pile. Recalling help from her phone Samaritans she muttered the mantra ‘not too short, don’t show too much cleavage, not desperately seeking sequins’… Zoe shortlisted four dresses and pulled the hangers out. ‘I hope people will dress up and I won’t be the only person not in jeans’ she thought to herself. She grabbed the phone and called Emma to make sure she wasn’t wearing any leisure items. Emma convinced Zoe that at these events everyone dresses as if they are there for a New Year Party on the QE2 and besides, it was The Hilton.

The taxi had only just dropped her off and already Zoe felt sick, she clung onto Emma as they ordered their first complimentary drinks at the bar, she had already had half a bottle of wine getting ready. Her head was spinning, she ordered champagne anyway, well it was free!

The night got off to a swift start and every now and then Zoe glanced across at Emma, who seemed to be having a great time. Zoe wasn’t really committed, she didn’t like the look of any of the Speed dates and had found it difficult not to drift off into her fantasy land within the two minutes.

Zoe forced such a level of concentration, pretending she was into them, nodding and making sounds, responding to friendly questions, fooling the men into thinking she was interested. She even pinched the top of her leg to stay present in the moment. She worked so hard at being the perfect speed date, she never noticed the way the Italian Bar Manager was looking at her.

How he wished for just two minutes to change her life forever, if only she hadn’t started drinking the water served on each of the Speed Date tables.

A Writers Fountain Monthly Writing Challenge – My Valentine



‘It’s okay for couples,’ Sophie thought, ‘it’s just an excuse to be soppy, declare undying love and have a date night.’ She had noticed a growing trend in SINGLES events booked on the 14th, she couldn’t think of anything worse! No, she’d rather stay in, wear comfy pyjamas and eat tubs of ice-cream, that would make her a total cliché though, she was far more likely to arrive home from work, exhausted. Strip off her clothes, grab something quick to eat, watch some telly and then clamber into bed and sleep it all off. That’s how she had greeted some New Years in, so why should mid-February be any different?

It wasn’t that she hadn’t experienced the most wonderful valentine dates herself, or that she was growing particularly bitter the closer to 40 she grew, it was a problem with envy, pure and simple. She couldn’t stand shopping on weekends, all those couples dragging each other around, faces constricted with misery, yelling at each other, at the best grunting and rolling eyes. How lucky they were to have each other, it made her cringe. No, Sophie’s New Year resolution was to shop online. She only left the house to go to work and to her Salsa Classes every Tuesday. It wasn’t that she had no friends, she was between chapters that was all. Most of her friends had children in tow, husbands, second husbands, many of her girlfriends were no longer single and most people she knew had local family too. The bars and clubs that she frequented in her thirties no longer appealed, she had a belief that anyone she met now would have something wrong with them, which was funny because she was perfectly fine and yet still single. Dating was going to start online this year too.

Thursday the 14th rolled around as it was inevitably bound to, glad that it was at least a workday, Sophie dressed in her grey trouser suit and left her curly, auburn hair down to hide the earplugs she planned to wear all day. What a pity she couldn’t wear a blindfold for the day as well, she’d just have to keep her head down in work and try to ignore the giggles and lust-fuelled gasps as more rose bouquets arrived. Taking the last preparation to survive the day Sophie swallowed two small pink headache pills, ‘I’m surprised they haven’t started selling those in heart shapes and charged twice as much for the packet!’ She thought as she took one last look at her reflection on her way out the door.

Her day at the office was as painful as spending the day having an all over body tattoo, of course no-one in their right mind would undergo such a thing all in one appointment! She hurried home in the dark and drizzly rain, glad that she didn’t have to come out again tonight. Smugly smiling at some of the couples who were already out for the sake of the babysitter with school the next day. Women huddled under  umbrellas, providing them a poor barrier against the rain. Sophie ran through the streets, not having to worry about her hair turning frizzy.

Her answer machine was flashing, a message from her hairdresser. In a half conscious state Sophie stripped off and wrapped her fluffy red dressing gown around her, the irony of dressing for the occasion did not pass her by. She warmed up some two-minute rice and chopped up some mushrooms and herbs to go with it. Flicking through the TV channels she decided on a DVD, something completely unromantic, she chose one of Darren’s action films that he’d left behind. She switched the laptop on and went to pour herself a large glass of Pinot.

‘Ding’ her inbox announced, ‘Ooohhhh special delivery’ Sophie thought, it was bound to be work. They didn’t believe she was entitled to a life outside the office. She sat down and to her delight found it was from her friend Justine. Last year she had booked a ski-ing trip to avoid Valentines, she had booked it before Darren came on the scene, typical. Her eyes greedily consumed Justine’s words, she felt her stomach flip over on itself. She re-read the email over and over, elongating the time, avoiding opening the attachment.

There, she clicked on the paperclip icon, accepted the upload, Justine’s smiling face appeared next to the head and shoulders of her gorgeous new partner. She knew it, the title of the attached document had given it all away, so why was there still a lump in her throat preventing her from breathing! ‘Robert and I enjoying the Alps x’ … ‘Robert and I’…. Sophie thought, ‘if only I could have been soppy, honest and brave last year. That should have been me!’

Crying into a tissue, the image of Justine and Robert grew blurry, she hated February the 14th not because of couples, or envy, not because Darren had discovered her secret and done a moonlight flit, not because her parents had all but disowned her, not because she was still stuck in a tiny bed sit at the age of 39. She hated it because it was a concrete reminder that she had let love slip through her fingers, too scared to dress up and speak the truth. She had gone to bed early with her earplugs and blocked out the sounds of the other chalets and the Apres ski of the village. Left Justine alone, with Robert… ‘He should have been mine’ Sophie whispered out loud as she shut the computer down.

Curled up in bed Sophie was asleep within a few minutes, alone with her dreams and hopes. The moonlight shone through the tiny gap in the cream curtains, the silver frame glistened and there in the dark, unseen by anybody other than Sophie, a black and white photograph taken in 2010 of her father and his business partner, Robert.

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