Posted in Learning, Writing

Final flower/story challenge day

[Day 7 of seven]

Well, we made it to the end of the week and there have been some terrific stories. Thanks to all those who were brave enough to put themselves out there and write stories, and then post them! Please, if you feel the desire, and you haven’t yet added your contribution, feel free to add your story to any of the days’ challenges. 

Tim asked if I’d write stories too … and I said that I’d post them at the end of the week. Well, that’s today, so here are my contributions.


Day One

She emerges from the quiet of the exam room into the gloom of late evening. The silence from inside lingers, deepening her mood of contemplative forgetfulness. Her steps slow despite the urgency to be home. The smell of decay whispers to her. With a jolt she remembers, laughs, tears streaming.

Day Two

She is overwhelmed by it. Ornate, golden, speaking of riches in earlier times. Whispers of those who have gone before float through the centuries and her ears buzz with proclamations, judgements, sermons, debates, messages from afar.  This place stops her breath and, laughing at her clichéd self, she shoots again.

Day Three

She sways inside the open front door, denying his news, rocking as she used to as a young mother. The floor provides a sanctuary she never imagined she’d need. She feels more, and much, much less, than she ever imagined she could.

At the end, just one shot.


My only one.

It was the end, and the end, and the end.

Her anguish swirls around the empty hills.

Day Four

She clutches them so tightly they tremble in her fist. Mum says, don’t hold them so tight, you’ll make the petals poo, the leaves leak,and the teacher will think you’re a freaky flower geek. A heartbeat, and they collapse under the weight of shared giggles.

Day Five

She laughed her head off, her knees dancing up a storm. It took the floor right out from under her and she fell, head over heels. He had cast a spell, knocked her socks off, turned her to jelly, blew her mind. She didn’t mind. She was hit by cupid’s arrow and willingly gave him her heart.

Day Six

She stood, holding her head at an unfamiliar angle, trying desperately to keep it on. The ceremony was much more solemn and more formal than she had anticipated and as if on cue giggles rose in her throat. She coughed to stop them bursting forth and walked slowly forward. Soon it would be her turn to climb the stairs, hand her card over, walk across the stage, doff, shake, keep walking. A moment to savour.


Thanks again for your responses and interest.

Posted in Writing

Flower/story challenge – Day 6

[Day 6 of seven]

Is it really day 6, or do I have my days confused? That’s highly likely you know!


Today’s flower shot comes from my backyard. When we moved into the house three years ago, I was delighted to discover a lovely pink rose growing beside the clothes line, squashed into the fence by a rhododendron bush.

I have better photos of this particular rose bush, but I quite like the light on this one, so it will do for today’s stimulus.

Today, the challenge is to use the word ‘rose’ in the story somewhere. It doesn’t have to be referring to the flower, it could be something along the lines of ‘Jim rose from the chair … ‘, or ‘The bread rose gently …’ or ‘Rose wandered lonely as a breadcrumb through the aisles of a deserted theatre.’

It’s entirely up to you how you use the word in your 60-80 word story!

I look forward to your unbridled creativity.

Backyard Rose
Posted in Learning, Writing

Flower/story challenge – Day 5

[Day 5 of seven]

Great to see so many taking up the challenge, and sticking with it. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading all the stories and learning about the way people express themselves in this way. I have to admit that I also enjoy posing challenges for you, my valued reader. I’m afraid that I can’t stop being a teacher, and so I will continue to challenge – in an intellectual and creative way.


Today’s challenge is a simple one. This flower, called a Red Hot Poker, is actually orange. Can you write a story that purports to be about one thing (a colour, an expression, a gesture, a room, an experience) but is actually about something else?

I’ll give you up to 100 words as that might allow you more scope to develop something that will better reflect today’s boundaries. You don’t have to post your first draft – I know that Stephanie is working on her stories without yet posting (but I’m confident that she will) – so feel free to edit, re-work, re-shape.


Is this the colour pokers get when they’re red hot?
Posted in Writing

Flower/story challenge. Day 3

[Day 3 of seven]

Yesterday I mentioned three characteristics of short stories: character, plot, setting. There is a fourth characteristic: theme – that is, what the story is about.

Today’s challenge focuses on theme.

The setting is rural Australia in 1946 as the world settles down after a few years of turmoil.

The characters are in their 40s, married to each other, with one child.

The theme is forgiveness.

Too many boundaries for a 60-70 word story? See how you go!

Posted in Learning, Writing

Flower/story challenge

[Day 2 of seven]

Before I start today’s blog I want to say how impressed I am with the stories that emerged from yesterday’s flower-story challenge. They were diverse, succinct, used the boundaries cleverly, and showed imagination and thoughtfulness. Thanks to all those who created a story, I really enjoyed reading them. 





These are the three main characteristics of a story. Many authors will develop characters as the starting point of their novels (and some will go to great lengths to learn as much as they can about their characters), some authors will write plot-driven stories (many authors who write for boys will begin with plot – the action of the story). Fewer authors will start with setting, but some do so to great effect – think Nadia Wheatley and Jeannie Baker.

The challenge today, if you choose to accept it,  is to write a 50-word story with one of those characteristics in mind. Which one will you use as a starting point?

Here’s your flower stimulus … have fun!

Standing proud