Home – what does it mean to you?

This post was suggested by The Writing Reader’s prompt #1753, the first line of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Last night I dreamed I was back in Urishay, a small community of farms and cottages in the hills above the Golden Valley, close to the Black Mountains that mark the border between England and Wales. I was a babe in arms when I first arrived there with my mother and grandmother. It was to be my home for the next 14 years. Our cottage had thick walls of local stone. A stream ran in a deep ravine with two waterfalls behind … Continue reading Home – what does it mean to you?

Terror

The writers’ group set the prompt “The flashing blue light”. Here is my take on that, a tale of someone waiting for the proverbial ‘tap on the shoulder’, the fear that his crime will be discovered. Terror The flashing blue light penetrated the fabric of the blind and bounced around the walls of the small room. I felt a shiver run down my back. Something hard rose in my gut. Sweat prickled my brow. It was stupid, I knew, but I could not help it. No matter how hard I tried, the memory would not leave me. And whenever I … Continue reading Terror

Ornate part 5

I wanted to finish the story with this episode. I could have had the main character’s trust in her companion turn out to be misplaced. But I couldn’t introduce anything unsuitable for a readership that could include minors. Your comments on the conclusion I finally arrived at would be most welcome. New readers start here. Unlike the others, this door opens outwards. My friend tugs it until it jams against the uneven flags. He stands back, bows and gestures with a hand, inviting me to go ahead. My torch reveals a bare wooden staircase leading up. I step back. “It’s … Continue reading Ornate part 5

Ornate part 4

You might suppose that I wrote this story in its entirety before posting it in brief installments. You would be wrong. I come to it fresh each day, except that I do think about it in the hours following each post. Different possibilities are examined but the detail does not appear until I sit down with the laptop after breakfast each day. I write off-line, polishing until I’m satisfied with what I have written before pasting the result here. Those of you who watch James Martin‘s daily program each afternoon on BBC 1 may recognize the influence of the episode … Continue reading Ornate part 4

Ornate part 3

If you are new here, you should read this first, then this. I glimpse a pair of tiny bright red dots gleaming in the torch’s white light before their owner scuttles off into the dark. I hear the scrunch of feet on gravel and someone calls my name. At first I stiffen with shock. Then laugh inwardly at my stupidity. In the heightened state of my emotions I have forgotten the purpose for my visit to the old house. With a friend, I had planned to spend an afternoon of plein-air painting. The neglected garden seemed like the perfect setting … Continue reading Ornate part 3

Ornate Part 2

Yes, it was a cliff-hanger. Quite literally. If you haven’t read part one yet I suggest you do so here, now. The ha-ha stops me. I saw it just in time. That’s the thing about a ha-ha: you are not meant to see it. You see a green vista extending all the way to the multiplicity of tree species in the arboretum. A ten foot drop hides a gravel path and a weed encrusted lake. I pull up, bend down, my hands on my knees, breath rasping as I gulp air into my lungs. There is no sign or sound … Continue reading Ornate Part 2

Ornate: Another Prompt Response

I have been subscribing to The Writing Reader’s daily prompts for quite a while now. I tweet them regularly. This is the first time I have used one as the starting point for a piece of my own writing. Ornate. Ornate and inviting. The oxidation of the copper plate and the heads of the rivets securing it to the body of the door. The bolt that can be slid back from the outside thanks to the elaborately carved pull-ring. And the key left in the keyhole so that it can easily be turned from outside by any half competent lock-pick. … Continue reading Ornate: Another Prompt Response

Writing Groups and Writing Prompts

I don’t think it’s possible to over-state the value of writing group membership for any aspiring writer. There is nothing more likely to improve your confidence in your ability than positive feedback from your peers. The group I belong to meets weekly. Not everyone is able to attend every week but there is a core of members who turn up regularly. Members set each other exercises and read from their work-in-progress. Sometimes an exercise might be set to be completed on the night; this would be most likely to happen when there is a dearth of new work to be … Continue reading Writing Groups and Writing Prompts