Wednesday Write-in #7


Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

CAKE.shortandsweet runs a write-in every week to writers to practise their skills, and get chatting to each other about their work. Everyone is welcome to join in, and the more people you tell, the more everyone will get out of it.

 

Prompts

amber  ::  dark chocolate  ::  heather  ::  dry wood  ::  damage

Guidelines

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some brief guidelines:

  • You can use the prompts as inspiration or try to work them into your story somehow. Use as many as you want.
  • When your story is done, post it online (your blog/twitter/in a comment here), tag with #wednesdaywritein and comment with a link so we can read it. You can write as many stories as you like.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you can.

Featured Story

We’ll feature our favourite story on the blog with a review of it and links to the author’s blog/twitter/facebook if relevant.

Posts will generally go up at 9am(ish) on Wednesday – stories are due by 10am Thursday (UK) to be considered for the featured story. You can keep posting your work after this, it just won’t be featured.

Rewards

We’ll keep track of who takes part in the write-ins, and you earn points for different things.

  • Take part in a write-in = 1 point.
  • Comment on other people’s stories = 1 point.
  • Share/reblog this post = 1 point.

When you reach ten points the editing team will give detailed feedback on a story of your choice. This only counts for separate sessions—so if you write five stories for one write-in, that counts as one, and if you share on both facebook and twitter, that’s one.

Please look for us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the write-ins, or click the follow button to get blog updates!

 

Don’t forget to read our Previous Issues and check out the Submissions page if you’d like to be a CAKE.author!

 

Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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76 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #7

  1. Pingback: Story :: Gutter « a slice of imagination

  2. Hi Sarah!
    Here’s my entry for this week – Join the Club (470 words).
    @misswriteuk
    http://www.facebook.com/louise.gibney.writer
    http://www.misswrite.co.uk

    Join the Club

    My last remaining Easter egg will be gone tonight. Yes, I still have stocks of eggs in October; I don’t eat that much chocolate (except at certain times of the month, of course!) and several gifted eggs in the Spring will normally see me through until late Summer.

    It’s been a particularly long day at work. At the gym I extinguish the frustration of office politics and long hours of data entry, relishing the thought of finishing off the last of my celebration chocolate when I get home. A reward for an unmotivated gym bunny. There’s 180 calories in a crème egg, apparently. I must have burnt off at least that amount of calories even in my measly 30 minutes on the treadmill.

    I let myself into the front door. I can smell a chicken stir fry on the hob in anticipation of my return. That can wait. I find my boyfriend in the living room watching TV. Rolled up balls of tin foil surround the sofa, a look of guilt emblazoned across the culprit’s face. He’s eaten the last of my Easter eggs, my sugary treats for a long day and a short work-out.

    “Sorry, sorry, couldn’t help myself” he grovels. I purse my lips, and throw one of the foil balls at his forehead, playfully frowning (it is only chocolate after all). “I’ll grab you a Boost or something from the shop when Hollyoaks is over, promise!”

    My craving can’t wait for that. I remember my secret stash. Don’t give me that look – you know you have one, too! In the kitchen, I reach for the ‘bits and bobs’ box inside the cupboard over the sink. This is an old Chinese takeaway tub where we keep the matches, spare keys and shoelaces – and my ‘real emergency’ rations for when a sugar fix is the only thing I can think about.

    I lift the lid on the ever-useful plastic box. My delicious, hard-earned crisis dark chocolate Club biscuit bar has gone. It’s been there, reliable and never called upon, and now, in my minute of need, it’s gone. He’s bloody eaten that too!

    Enter the culprit.

    “Can we not buy Club biscuits anymore? I ate the one in the cupboard for lunch and it was pretty horrible. Tasted like compost.”

    “It was probably out of date – it’s been my entire emergency rations for a while now, for moments of absent crème eggs like these.”

    ‘Probably out of date’. That’s a an understatement. Truth is, I’ve moved house with that Club bar three times and have never bought them myself. I don’t want to say ‘serves him right!’ (well, maybe I do), but this means it must have been leftovers from one of my lunchboxes at school packed by my mum – over 10 years ago. Delicious!

    • Ha ha I felt like I could understand her from the moment I started reading this! I started checking my own stash. What a wonderful portrayal of her dismay, then joy in revenge and the relationship between her and her partner.

    • I like the idea of moving house and taking the same packed-lunch biscuit every time; it’s giving me a wonderful feeling of nostalgia.

      I might be tempted to play with tense a little in this; the second paragraph is setting the scene, and given how the viewpoint character is addressing the reader directly I’d be tempted to treat it like someone telling an anecdote down the pub; dropping the second paragraph into the past tense and use the change into the more immediate feel given by the third paragraph on to emphasise the difference in the gym and home scenes.

      • Wow, I am excited by your comments, thanks so much guys! It’s based on a true story actually, and yes, I think he did get stomach ache! I might work on it a little though; ‘rage’ isn’t the thing I was going for, but Fallible’s comment of nostalgia was lovely, thanks!

    • I really love the idea of that chocolate bar travelling around with her. I’d almost drop the starting bits about the Easter eggs and just focus on the club bar as her only salvation – I think it’s much stronger, and you can evoke some really lovely nostalgia in there, to turn it away from feeling rage-y (which I don’t think it does, but some of us chocolate fiends will definitely read it that way!) 😀

    • Hi Louise.
      Great story. I agree with Sarah’s comment about the first paragraph. It’s not needed.

      I love how the biscuit has a sentimentality to it. I’d like to know more about it. E.g. How did it manage to survive 10 years? I know if it were me it would have been long gone 😀

  3. Here’s what the prompt inspired me to write. (Apologies for those of you not familiar with hurling, it’s an irish sport thought to be the fastest field game in the world.)
    Hurling
    She “liked” the photos on Facebook. Two injuries side by side; Wayne Rooney out for a month and a photo of him grimacing holding his gashed leg, JJ back on the pitch in five minutes and a photo of him holding his stained helmet with wine coloured blood covering his face running down his black and amber jersey.
    Unlike football players, hurlers don’t get paid. There is no money; it’s just pure unfathomable passion. It’s teeth-gritted, every muscle fighting for everything you are. The clash of the ash it’s called. That’s the sound of the clatter of two hurls made from the wood of the ash tree as two warriors fight like beasts in their prime bucking horns with explosive power again and again until the final whistle. It’s about place and pride and pace; it’s fast enough to set heather blazing. The sound of the commentator rattling off the action like an auctioneer was the soundtrack to her childhood.
    She grew up in a place where hurling was religion. Children started school with a hurl in their hand. She’d cycle to training every evening whatever the weather with her hurl across the handlebars of her bike. She’d proudly captained the under 14 team for a match and was familiar with that extra dimension of determination that numbs pain from the body making it totally irrelevant. She truly knew the clash of the ash. She remembered the sensation of the opponent’s hurl sliding up hers, the grinding of hard dry wood against her knuckles and not checking the damage until her hands were sticky with dark chocolate coloured blood. The skin from her knuckle flapped open; she licked it back into place and won the next ball.
    As a teenager hurling or anything traditional was no longer cool. Smoking, hip hop and baggy jeans were cool. Hanging around with friends was much more attractive than training. During a match she laughed as her opponent a grown woman looked her in the eye and growled at her. It wasn’t cool to be that irrationally passionate anymore. Gradually she relinquished her position on the team and as the years passed she moved away and settled elsewhere.
    She’d always be from Kilkenny though.
    All-Ireland Sunday and she was in the stand surrounded by rival supporters who cheered in unison. She wanted to drown them all out. The stadium was filled to its 82,300 capacity. Her heart was racing and her hands were shaking, it was neck and neck. As the opposition’s anthem ended she let out a roar that frightened her and embarrassed her sister beside her. She wanted the players on the pitch to hear her and be spurred on.
    A rival fan in front of her looked over his shoulder at her and dramatically shook out his ears. She took in a deep breath lifted her head and shouted even louder
    “Come on Kilkenny!”

      • Thanks. I did emphasize the brutality deliberately. I think Alan Shearer (not exactly sure) tweeted about it recently and the comparison photos on facebook are real so I started from there.

    • Hah, I can remember when suddenly it wasn’t cool to be traditional or “irrationally passionate” about something!
      This sounds like an extract from a novel – make it so! 🙂

    • I agree with Louise, there’s fantastic material here for a book!

      The only problem I have with this story is I think it tries to cram too much into too few words. I’d really love to see you explore this more and stretch it out into a longer piece. That moment where she moves on from hurling to be a ‘cool’ teenager, and how that changes her, how she must regret to some degree leaving it behind, by how she goes back to it later.

      More! 🙂

      • That’s great feedback. The more I think about it the more ideas I’m getting for scenes, how she came to captain her team for a match, the match itself and then there’s all that teenage coolness to be dealt with. I am definitely going to expand this. Not sure what it will become but there’s alot to be written. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Wow hurling does sound hard core. I love your descriptions of the sport and its brutality.

      I’d like to know more about the transitions in her life. Especially how she came back to being passionate about the sport again. What changed?

      🙂

      • That’s great that you wanted to know more. I’ll make sure to deal with those transitions when I am re-writing this. I think that that moment of change has to be expanded on. It’s being proud of where you come from especially when you are moved away and grown out of teenage angst- it catches her by surprise here.
        Thanks for the comments.

    • Good story, Emmaleene. The character you’ve created here is the sort of personality who will prevail whatever the odds and she could certainly carry a novel or longer tale with ease. I love your use of the dark chocolate and heather prompts. Well done. .

  4. Hya, here’s my short story inspired by the prompt dark chocolate. In fact it was so inspiring I’ve used it as the title!

    Dark chocolate

    The woman sat on the green metal bench, next to the under five’s climbing frame. It was that time of day just before tea time. Schools were out and parents were filling in time before they had to go home and start preparing the evening meal. The sky was heavy and dark. The clouds full of water waiting to fall. The playground needed attention. The painwork on most of the equipment was old and peeling. The swings had been replaced recently with new rubber seats and the framework stood out, its red paint shining in the dark light.

    The woman took a bar of dark chocolate out of her plastic orange shopping bag. Her pearl nail polish glistened in the half light as she slit open the paper wrapper then slowly peeled back the silver foil, before breaking off one of the square and putting it in her mouth. The chocolate initially felt hard against her tongue before slowly its edges became smooth and the square began to melt in her mouth.

    When the rain started some people slowly began gathering up their belongings and children and made their way towards the gate and home. The woman enjoyed more of the chocolate as she watched them go.

    Later, when questioned, one of the parents said all she could remember about the woman was the fact that she was eating dark chocolate. And everyone knows that children don’t like dark chocolate. Nobody could recollect seeing the woman with the missing three year old little girl with the ponytail and pink slides.

    Nobody knew, even her mother didn’t know, that the toddler had really enjoyed her first taste of dark chocolate.

      • Thanks Krystal. It was one of those times when the story just came out almost fully formed. It doesn’t happen that often and I am so grateful for when it does. I’m also really grateful that the weds prompts have given me a chance at writing short stories, something I’ve always said I could never do.

      • That’s fantastic! It’s also something I never thought I would do, but with a little prompting from a friend, I’m finding that I am really enjoying it. I love reading the varied pieces from everyone, such imagination! Congratulations on doing something you never thought you could and doing it so well 🙂

    • A small typo in the first paragraph (paintwork) has got me thinking what a wonderful word painwork is and wondering how I can use it somewhere.

      Was the repeated use of The to start the sentences (particularly I notice the ones involving the woman and what she’s doing) intentional? I didn’t notice it on the first reading, but it’s really standing out to me on the second. (Not in a good or bad way, just something I noticed.)

      • Thanks Fallible. Sorry I missed the typo though! Yes The was deliberate, I hoped that, without knowing what she looked like or anything about her that the reader would still get a sense of her. And painwork is a great word!

    • Great use of atmosphere to create a mood- love the use of halflight to emphasize the uncertainty. It really draws the reader in as the woman seems outside of the action, watching everyone else which pricks our curiosity. I love reading something a second time and finding more meaning and this happens here- your descriptions of the clouds (waiting) and the playground (needs attention-like the woman) actually hint at the twist that unfolds so well.

    • Oooohh thats creepy! what a great story 🙂

      This may sound really stupid, but I felt overwhelmed by the amount of descriptions. For instance the descriptions of the items in the playground. Just saying something like ‘a neglected playground with peeling paint’ would have covered it for me.

  5. Pingback: Fallible Opinions - Wednesday write-in #7

    • Wow, GUILT!!!! I liked the line “A man Amber knew too well” – a good way of setting the scene for this drug dealer. Insinuates history (obv!). If I was to make it more flashy I’d cut out the dialogue from parag 3 but it’s good. Well done!

      • Hmm. I was trying to use the dialogue to convey the wrenching away of clear thought; I think you’re right in that it’s not really working for that paragraph, but I’m not sure how else to convey it in a “show, don’t tell” approach.

    • Great story Fallible.
      The only thing I’d change would be removing “Half-disappearing between the cushions at the back a dirty pile of laundry extruded a grubby hand and tugged at its twisted and over-sized hoodie.”

      I found this sentence difficult to read. The rest though I loved 🙂

      • I think you’re right; I didn’t like “extruded” when I wrote it but decided to press ahead and fix it later, I must have forgotten about it and not noticed it when I read through it again before posting. Ooops.

    • Great work- very intriguing & compelling scenario – want to know more about characters’ histories. If there was more I’d read on. Tiny detail but variations of the word twisted is used three times: could vary this when editing.

  6. Pingback: Splinters « Rebecca Dudley – Collected Stories

  7. Pingback: Story: Honey | beccaaudra

    • Yummy. You make me what to go out and buy some dark chocolate and call my boyfriend 😀

      I love the detail you go into to illustrate each action. I’m curious to know where she’s gone 🙂

  8. Hi, I discovered this website late on a Wednesday evening, so I threw something together a bit hastily. No blog as such to post it in I’m afraid,

    The children looked mighty aggrieved that they had been given dark chocolate, considering it to be a distinct booby prize of a confection.
    Sarah had wandered deep into the heather as I tried in vain to please her demanding offspring. Her mind was whirring with the consequences of my actions and I knew this only too well. What I didn’t know was what to do when a woman you love wanders into heather trapped in her turmoil. Just what is the acceptable etiquette? Like many a man, I chose to leave her be.
    The damage had been done and it had been done by me. She looked towards me, her face ashen and angered. Everything about her looked pale and drawn except her bright amber jacket, but even that did not seem as vibrant as usual.
    I couldn’t make it all right. I was beyond that now. I had betrayed her, although the seed of that betrayal happened months before we met, it had bloomed before us over the past few days.
    I could not recall a moment so charged with emotion between two people without speaking. The children had begun to whack each other with some freshly discovered dry wood, undermining the feelings coursing between the adults on the moor.
    I knew I would remember what I had done to Sarah for the rest of my life and I knew I would never come to terms with what I had done to her.

    • Ooh there are so many questions I have right now! I’m so intrigued as to what he has done. What magnificent imagery, and so nice to see it from a man’s point of view. If this was ‘quickly’ put together, I would love to see what you can do with a bit more time!

    • Oooh I wonder what he did? I love how I can walk away from this story and contemplate what has happened. I love those type of stories.

      I like how you write: Just what is the acceptable etiquette? Like many a man, I chose to leave her be.

      So true 🙂

      When it says ‘Her mind was whirring with the consequences of my actions ‘

      I’d like to know how he knows what she’s thinking. Seeing the narrative style is in first person they usually don’t know what another is thinking unless they’re a mind reader. So I think maybe an explanation of how he knows this ‘only too well’ would be great.

  9. Hello Sarah,

    Thanks for sending me the prompts in the last 2 weeks. I’ve been writing for a long time, but often don’t get round to it anymore because of work etc. They’re really helping me do a bit of writing. I’m still working out how to post things I’ve written on the website, have joined Twitter, but haven’t worked out how to send a link etc. yet and wonder if that means anyone can read it, not just CAKE members.

    I’m hoping to get my act together with that soon and also comment on other people’s writing, but please could you keep sending me the prompts and what other people have written, if possible (or otherwise I suppose I’ll be able to find it on the website)?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jane Scargill.

    • Hi Jane,

      You’re welcome, I’m so pleased it’s been helping you to keep writing.

      Looks like you’ve actually posted this to the site by replying to the email – so you can post your story here every week if you want to by replying to the prompt email you get. But yes, everyone outside of CAKE will also be able to see it 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Sarah

  10. Pingback: Featured writer week 7 | CAKE.shortandsweet

  11. Pingback: Passive Agression is the Most Potent Form of Love | Jacky Hillary

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