sandwich 2A little short story for you – that could become something longer…

They met at university – that is to say, Nell was a student at university and Digby was a 20-year-old young entrepreneur who had figured out that the students who came into his High Street deli shop for gourmet sandwiches might appreciate the availability of those sandwiches at other times.

Times such as a Thursday night, post the weekly disco held in the union hall.

He had persuaded his dad to lend him the money to buy a cheap van, which he then converted into a mobile sandwich-making and preparing venue and he parked outside the union hall every Thursday from 10pm. At that time of the night, he was targeting the swotty students who weren’t prepared to sacrifice study time on a Friday for a hangover.

As the night progressed though, sales rose dramatically. He had always been a practical person and he couldn’t understand why students wouldn’t reason to themselves that they were only yards from their student halls and bedsits so why not conjure up their own sandwiches at tiny costs to themselves?

As he said to his Thursday night sandwich assistant, ‘ours is not to reason why’ (congratulating himself on the high-brow sound of the phrase which seemed imminently suitable for the university setting) as they enjoyed raking in money from the leery students who crowded round the van and demanded sandwiches, often two at a time.

Nell wasn’t a frequenter of the Thursday night disco. Not because she was a swotty type – though she had progressed well at university so far – but because she loathed not being able to hear herself think and being chatted up by drunken morons. (Her words, not theirs.) Continue reading

Miami Vice circa 1985

Some flash fiction – January-themed:

Jamie’s 2016 New Year resolution was to model himself on a 1980s lounge lizard whenever at parties.

Thus, he dressed in chinos, a polo shirt with a pastel-coloured jumper tied loosely round his shoulders and deck shoes – no socks. He also magically materialised beside any woman in need of a drink top-up or a light, proffering either a bottle of wine or a lighter.

Unfortunately for Jamie, he hadn’t taken into account Dry January. Most women didn’t require a drink top-up because they were abstaining (ditto the ciggies).

Jamie’s appeal depended almost entirely on the blunting haze of alcohol.


If you can do better (you can, you know) why not submit a story to the FridayFlashFiction website?

Potential senior photos of Thomas.

“He tilted his head to the side, pushed up from his chair and looked at me askance…”

No, it’s not a description of the man in my life contemplating some request I have just put to him, it’s three of the terms I over-use.

A quick find check of my latest manuscript revealed a lot of askance staring, too many push-ups from chairs and a surplus of head tilting. My vocabulary is shamefully limited at times.

This kind of over-use of words and terms is something a professional editor would pick up on, no doubt, but in the meantime I am relying on the ‘find’ facility in Word and an online thesaurus to come up with alternatives.

How often is repetitive anyway? If it’s an ‘askance’ every 10 pages or so, is that too much? Or does it demonstrate that my character is puzzling to others and they have a need to look at her, askance, frequently?! Maybe they should simply be puzzled from time to time.

Do you find yourself using certain phrases (particularly descriptive phrases) repetitively? Any advice for the remedy?


Pic thanks to Nic McPhee on flickr.

Writing Resolutions: 2016

happy new yearHappy New Year y’all and wishing you health, happiness and other lovely things etcetera.

But it wouldn’t be New Year without a resolution or two hmm? Other worthier and better writers than I shall be listing earnest writing resolutions on their blogs. Write 1,00 words every day – that kind of thing.

I, on the other hand, am listing my alternative writing resolutions.

  1. Do not write after more than two glasses of wine. Yes, the muse may well deign to wander in and stay a while and send you off on the most creative flights of fancy – but correcting the typos the next day is MURDER. And some of those creative flights of fancy, should they ever see the light of day, may well result in your arrest.
  2. Find some reasons to squeeze in your favourite words everywhere. I’m rather fond of quality, spurious, elegiac, medley, splendid, muckle, fulsome and whesht (sp?). I don’t even know what some of them mean.
  3. Learn grammatical rules. I’m a teenager of the 80s. They forgot to teach it to us. Two years ago, I was in charge of a Polish girl interning at the charity I was working for. Sometimes she would ask me to explain English grammatical rules to her, asking about clauses, auxiliary verbs, finite verbs and others. I  had no idea what she was talking about.

Finally, write no more poetry. As proof that I really should desist, I give you the following:

 T’was the day after New Year…

And all through the flat

Not a creature was stirring

Not even the cat

A true Scottish Hogmanay had just taken place

Which meant all the residents

Had decided to get “off your face”

Wine, whisky, lager and beer

Had all vanished down the hatch

Which meant that by 11pm, everyone was of good cheer.

Alas, the cheer lasted only 30 minutes more

And by 12pm, a major rammy took to the floor.

By 1pm, the police had been alerted, 

And by 2pm the party-goers deserted

Heading for the next party and a fresh home to wreck.