We asked all those who signed up to this 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge to create well-written and captivating responses to our designated tasks. Each task was designed to stretch their imaginations and writing techniques all within a 7 day period. We are delighted to congratulate and confirm the winners:
1st Prize: £250.00 Julie Martin
2nd Prize: £200.00 Sue Penny
3rd Prize: £100.00 Michelle Rogers
4th Prize: £75.00 Tom Richardson
5th Prize: £50.00 C. Ford
As always, we only publish the overall winner’s submission, but we hope you enjoy the results of Julie’s hard work.
Good descriptive writing is not as easy as it seems, so for this first task you have to capture the essence of the photo. Bring the scene to life with your descriptive writing abilities and make us feel as if we are there. Be intuitive and use your senses. We want to be transported to the rock and to enjoy this evocative landscape through your writing. There is no set word count.
Sitting on this ancient rock, I marvel at the undulating forms stretching before me. In quiet solitude, I begin to breathe in the colours, a saturated burned sienna hue all the way into my lungs. These craggy rocks, this molten sky, faded as if the last of its fire has burned cool, it forms a special place in my heart. It’s only here where I can truly relax and let the soothing scents and sounds of nature soothe me. Eagles soar above, sharp eyes matched by razor talons, they scour the landscape and cast a disdainful eye in my direction. I watch salmon surge their way through cool waters, these magical depths that usher them on their journey. To be a part of this scene, I blend in and I breathe with relief.
We read many excellent works of fiction but sometimes the dialogue is hesitant and faltering. Good dialogue breaks up large passages of text but it should also be revealing. It should enable the reader to be able to ‘hear’ the voice of the character and be powerful enough to allow the reader to know exactly who is talking without using ‘ he said, or she said,’ continuously.
So for this task, we want you to write a scene where an argument is occurring and we want to feel as if we are a fly on the wall, watching the scene unfold in front of us. The argument can be about anything at all but your aim is to ensure we get to know the characters as well as possible throughout their heated discussions. Be as creative and as intuitive as you like. Please write this as if a part of a story rather than as a script.There is no set word count.
“You are such a liar Katy. It’s unforgivable.” Mona cast an angry glance at her sister. “You wouldn’t know the truth if it smacked you in the face!”
“Oh really? You would have preferred the truth would you?” Katy folded her arms defiantly. “I doubt that very much! You’ve turned into some miserable, weeping mistake for a woman.”
Mona walked towards Katy, grabbing her shoulders, “You lied and you cheated, time and time again. Do you really think that this will all brush under the carpet? How can I ever trust you again?”
Katy shrugged her off, her face sullen. “Well, maybe you can’t.”
Mona gasped, “Katy….” Her tears began to fall, they were bubbling over, fuelled by the anger she felt.
“I don’t know why I did what I did.” Katy’s tone softened and suddenly she looked like the young, innocent Katy again. “I was an idiot Mona, but I can’t take back what I did, I can never forget how I ruined everything. It’s why I am going away; I think it’s best that we have some space.”
“You almost destroyed me Katy. I never for one minute expected my own sister to be having an affair with my fiancé. I have lost the two people I loved the most in the world and I don’t know how I will ever get past this!” Mona spat the truth at her. “But it’s just typical of you walking away when you have messed up. Leave everyone else to pick up the pieces!” She walked away, her anger still evident, slamming the door.
You have 650 words or less – including the title to write a story about a nightmare. Please be as creative as you like with this – whether it is a bad dream or a nightmare situation, it is up to you. Just amaze us with your interpretation.
He was holding her down. Bruising her. His fingers seeping deep into her flesh. He was too strong. She struggled fervently but his body was stronger than hers, she felt his strength wrap around her like a spider in a web. She wondered if she was going to die. But slowly, the image changed, they blended into a multitude of colours, a 60’s psychedelic revival swirling around her.
Next, she materialized outside the door to her daughter’s bedroom, 7 year old Sammy was sleeping peaceful, she could see her angelic-like white, rose-bud lips and blonde locks. Even now, love threatened to fill her being, there was nothing like the purity of love for your child. But then the room darkened, shadows invaded, reaching like fingers up over sheets, threatening to devour her little girl.‘Stop, stop’ she wanted to cry, but no words came out, only strangled silence.
Then she saw him, leaning towards her daughter, his breathe against her face and still Sammy did not move.
“Daddy’s little girl. You are going to be a good girl for me, a very special girl. We have a connection. You’ll see.”
“Sammy, Sammy!” She screamed at her daughter to wake up. “Leave her alone, you despicable man.”
The cries were picked up in a torrent of emotion and sucked away into a vortex, swirling around, like some maelstrom, where none had any control. She awoke, sweat laden, crying and turned to look at her husband to be. He was murmuring in his sleep, “Sammy, be a good girl for Daddy.”
The old steam train shuddered to a halt. Tamsin could imagine the steam belching out of it covering all those people at the station in sudden smog. She resisted the urge to smile at the thought and settled back in her seat, looking through the crowds and noticing the old station surrounds. It was like stepping back in time, but then she reminded herself, that’s exactly what this trip was all about. She had given her trip a lot of consideration, should she do it or not? A little voice inside had told her yes, it was time but another voice had said no, it never pays to go back.
But here she was anyway. Alone and steeped in nostalgia for a time gone by. It had been fortuitous that the railway line was commemorating the age of steam trains and had re-opened the station nearest to her childhood home. She had heard that the station had been closed, putting old Mr. Boxley out of work. She could remember him with some fondness and reflected how neat the station had been. But most of all, she remembered the vibrancy of the flowers in the window boxes along the fencing and leading into the station house. He’d been a keen gardener back then and she hoped he hadn’t had to move to some apartment with no hint of greenery insight.
They were nearing her station now. Tamsin had to smile as she noted all the luggage alongside the fencing. It all looked old and authentic, in keeping with the steam train theme. They were slowing to a halt and she pulled herself up out of her seat, struggling to keep her balance. She only had one suitcase with her and she very quickly retrieved that. There were quite a few people alighting at Kingsway Heath station and she took her time getting off, mindful of the drop between the steps and the platform.
The sun greeted her like an old friend and she cast her eye up around the place. She hadn’t been here for nearly 40 years, yet it all seemed painfully familiar. The station was clean, ‘spick and span’ as Mr Boxley had called it. She walked along the platform weaving in and out of the throngs of people. Visitors or locals, she couldn’t tell. Tamsin had heard that Kingsway Heath had become a desired setting for young, successful couples only too glad to live out of the city. It was so different in her day. She had been one of the youngest for many years, the village had badly needed fresh blood but the residents tended to live long and happy lives and childbearing was minimal as the local population grew older.
How things changed, she mused. Then she saw him. Mr Boxley. He was shorter than she remembered and he was stooped a little but it had to be him. He was dusting imaginary dirt from the brass fittings, nervous, excitable and so happy to be back where he belonged. She was so glad they had asked him.
He glanced up, peering over the top of his glasses like a wizened owl.
“Young Tamsin? No, it can’t be.”
She smiled, “Nothing wrong with your memory I see. How are you?” She stepped forward, towering above his wizened frame.
He looked up at her and smiled, “All the better for seeing you my dear.Now come and sit with me and tell me what you are doing here.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, both absorbing the sights, scents and scenery as the throngs of people began to disperse.
“So?” He prompted.
“I came back to see my old home.” She said slowly, “Crazy, but I saw it advertised for sale and it looked the same somehow. Then, I saw the advertisement for the steam train and it all seemed to fit.I was meant to be here today “
“Memories,” he smiled at her, “They are strong sometimes and draw us back to a moment in time.” He nodded at the station, “Like me with this place.”
“Yes I am rather glad you are here, it’s only fitting somehow.”
He reached into his bag and brought out a flask of tea, “cuppa?”
She nodded and they sat quietly on the station, both lost in their own memories. When he had drained the last of his tea, he nodded to her luggage, “Staying for a while then I see?”
“Actually, no, no I am not.” Suddenly, it all seemed very clear. She watched as the porters opened up the train doors as they prepared to depart, “ I think I have seen all I need to see and spoken to the only person left who I want to talk to. “ Tamsin smiled, “I have satisfied a need to come here, but I don’t want to raise old ghosts, merely connect with them – you understand I’m sure.”
“Indeed I do.” He helped her to her feet and wheeled the luggage towards the train.
“Best board now or you will miss it. “ He looked a little emotional. “ It was so lovely seeing you again my dear, put those old ghosts to one side now and instead, make some new memories, while you have the time.”
Tamsin kissed him gently on the cheek and then without a backward glance got back on the train. She supposed her open ticket meant she could use it whenever she wanted and this seemed as good a time as any. The sounds of a steam train were noisy, although mesmerising, she thought, knowing that if she closed her eyes, she could transport herself back here at any time. Tamsin smiled, there was no need to ever return.