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Trying the U3A Creative Writing Exercise

If you are trying the U3A Howden & District Creative Writing Group Exercise then you will be interested how the group leader got on with Flash Story Writing at ThoughtTree CW Workshop. Well here is how it went.

Flash ‘Cricket’!
Use the words in a short story (100 words max.) strictly in the order given (no going backward or restarting allowed)

Shadows flint shimmer stealthy jealous priest steel mother candle-wax harbour

You can choose no fewer than six words from this Ten Word list.

                                                                              (Ten Minutes... Go!)

“The shadows cast by the flint outcrops (despite the shimmer of moon light upon them) enabled the stealthy entrance of this jealous Roman catholic priest. In his coat inside pocket he could feel the steel and brass ‘mother Mary’ effigy and the candlesticks soft squidgy candle-wax. For 20 years his mind had been the harbour of a grudge that he held against his brother.”

(64 Words - ran out of time, with the remaining 36 words I could have finished the story thus.)

“ suddenly he was outside the door of his brothers house. The front room lights were on. The candle stick was in his right hand. He rang the door bell. Bludgeoned by a mighty object. mission accomplished. “

(100 Words)

* You must try not to write the opening of a much longer story.
* All stories are about movement. A story is a journey from one place to another.
* “Before I was a writer I was a reader” Edith Pearman

Group Observation: - Never give up being a reader, even if your writing is going very well for unless you share the readers experience you will never write anything of any worth.

* Ernest Hemingway is thought to have said that 10% off any story is revealed by the writing the other 90% is created in the readers mind.

* Flash fiction is a snapshot “glimpse“ of a journey.
* It is not a vehicle for memoirs and neither should it be A place for random thoughts.
* Flash fiction is a complete stand alone story which could be expanded upon but does not have to be.

* The idea is for the reader to build the paces of the story that are missing in his mind.

When your story has been written read it and then re-read it placing emphasis on different words below is an example.

Chaos. And then I found you.

If the emphasis is on CHAOS then this sentence has one meaning. If the emphasis is placed on the word YOU then it has an entirely different meaning.

A Task.

1) What terrifies me is…
2) It’s hurt so much I…
3) No one believes…

Pick one of the prompts above and write a flash story that begins with your choice.

First attempt of a draft version.

Title:-  NO SENSE

No one believes any more. The world seems to have promoted the eye way beyond its merits. The eyes now stand on a victory podium where the noble pair control instead of serve the mind. The ultimate power in his region had asked but one important, vital, unanswered question “And what is the truth?” The ensuring silence sealed his fate. The end of the beginning had begun.

In my mind, when writing, was the picture of Christ standing, after being severely
flogged in Pilate’s inner office. Pilate’s wife had a very bad dream and had begged her husband to find some way to let Jesus escape with his life. BUT what image another reader has depends on where he focuses the emphasis and thus the story conveyed to him might be an entirely different one. DO YOU SEE?

I decided to give my short story the title No Sense. I then re-read and re-wrote the story so that I could make some now obvious improvements.

No one believes any more. “Now” has promoted the eye to the pinnacle position of the five. It’s lofty place dominates, whereas it used just to serve the mind. Long ago two men met in a room. One was authority and the other was just subject two. Only one question trumpeted around the room. “And what is the truth?“ The question resounded into a world whose hearing was severely diminished through time, it failed to touch them, had no taste, The salt was missing, they just felt nothing. The eye saw only that one man lived and the other died. Although a tear was shed the event meant very little out of the ordinary. People live. People die.

[117 words] needs an edit to remove 17 words.

And there ThoughtTree session ended. Try the exercise yourself and see where your inner thoughts lead you to write a flash story about. Try to keep as close to 100 words as possible. We will review at the next U3A Creative Writing group meeting where you can have your say about this exercise and whether you thought it was worth including in our already busy agenda.

Thanks for your efforts, we are all improving our writing slowly but surely.


God's Private Army

I cannot believe how spiteful some 'Christians' behave. In itself their individual behaviour is not truly awful as our Lord preaches mercy, forgiveness and Love. However this does not give His followers license to do as they like, because they will be forgiven. Nor does it give a group of Christians the right to turn a blind eye to members behaving badly, because they must always be meek, mild & merciful. Nor is it ever right to get all self righteous and declare that the ends justify the means. Setting out to achieve something great for God and not caring about the mayhem caused by pursuing it should not be on any Christians agenda. If Christians are no better, indeed considerably worse in their behaviour than your average Atheist then what's the point in being one??

In my religion, anyone who treats someone else with complete indifference needs correction. Religion is about passion and not don't care. If everyone in a church is passionate about everything that occurs good and bad in their lives THEN that's a church that prays incessantly, reads its Bible and discerns the vision that God spreads before it. That's a church that dares not fail God! That's a church which transforms lives and people by being there. This Churches people are different and have lives which are attractive to others who like and appreciate the differences in them.

If people, outside of a church, decry what goes on inside it and say things like "Those people are awful they spend their time gossiping and slandering each other. See they even delight in individuals failings! And they have the nerve to tell us they are saved and we are not. Is it any wonder the churches are empty? I've never been to any church and I consider myself lucky I could of ended up just like them. Perish the thought!"

 So what's the solution? 


If you get your relationship right with God then you will not be on your own for very long. People will want to join you, in order to find Him. Many people are seeking Him, they are just looking in the all the wrong places.

Lastly, the idea you have to be clever to understand Christianity is complete crap. The disciples never had certificates or degrees, some were clever yes, but the majority were ordinary working peasants [just like you and me]. Men do not make church leaders, God does. Some professional Christians got all their notions and ideas about God by imitating the writings and the deeds of others. They are just not the genuine article.

The second best Christian I ever met had never been to a church in his life. The best ever Christian I ever met was a Baptist Pastor. None of his colleagues liked him, he was absolutely gossiped and slandered and generally despised by his fellow Revs.

Are you God's man or woman? Just ask Him if he wants you. You will not be surprised at His answer, just very amazed that you didn't ask Him sooner. Spend some time with God, sit quietly and have a chat. Examine carefully how your life changes after five or six earnest chats with Him. Are you calmer? More in control? Are you understanding and treating others better? Do you need more guidance? Ask God who you should ask. Ideas and thoughts will come to you. Remember this is a journey of faith you are making. You know how you feel. You know if you are content with yourself or not. You know when your life is fulfilled or hollow. As well as faith this is a journey of experience and beliefs. The Bible is full of Visions, Prophets, Angels, miracles, changed lives, portents etc. The church today does not seem to believe in any of these things anymore. It is far too uptight about being on the back foot about any of this spiritual stuff. This journey is about understanding the incessant battle taking place between good and evil. It is about choosing allies and knowing who the enemy is. Christians are literally the Salvation Army!


New Things

Doing something new or different is never easy.

Occassionally though what you are currently doing hurts real bad. The knotted tummy feeling that will not go away, the restless energy screeming to you 'something's wrong, get out get out get out.', sleepless nights, the feeling of waste... oh you put up with all this for a while, well as much as you can, and then you think 'I just have to make a chnge.' And you do, and yes the pain doesnt go instantly away but a month or so later you think 'why the hell didn't I do this sooner?'


My New Web Site

This is called start again from scratch. The Howden Methodist Web Site was piggy backed onto my site and they really deserve their own domain dedicated to the work that they should do in Howden. In taking their site down I buggered up my own so hey ho, that's life!


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