Tapping #flashfiction

March 12, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tapping. You can play with the sound, make it an action, or create something unexpected. Tap a story and go where the prompt leads!


Doug watched as Clarice tapped her long fingernails onto the cover of a hardback book she carried. He could tell she grew impatient with him while waiting for his response.

***

Two floors below, Mike froze to the spot. He’d not heard the name Clarice mentioned for years. The faint sound of tapping broke his concentration.

***

While Sophie wondered who Clarice was, a tapping noise behind her forced her to spin around. Her eyes met the rear view of a woman who tapped her fingers on a book while standing over the body of a man Sophie thought she recognised.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

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Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Voices #flashfiction

March 5, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about Clarice. She can be any Clarice real, historical, or imagined. What story does she have for you to tell? Go where she may lead!


Having decided to follow the cat, Sophie came to a grinding halt when the cat stopped and turned around to face her. “Clarice isn’t who you think she is,” echoed a voice in Sophie’s head. But who was Clarice?

***

Turing the handle of his hotel room door, Mike let out another almighty sneeze. “Clarice, are you in there?” came a voice from the other side of the door.

***

Two floors above, Doug’s eyes flickered before suddenly opening. The familiar face of a woman peered down at him. “Hello, Doug. I’m Clarice. How can I help you?” asked the woman.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Blogging Challenges: Do They Work?

I’ve always been a fan of blogging challenges, whether it be to write something or to take a picture of something inline with a prompt or theme set by another blogger. 

Not only can these challenges improve the way you write or take photos, but they put you in touch with lots of other bloggers, all focusing on the same challenge.

Recently, one blogging challenge has got me on a new road to the way I write fiction; a path I thought I’d never travel. 

Not only have I been amazed by the results of this new writing journey, but so have many of my readers. They’ve given me valuable feedback about the new way I’m writing. 

How did it start? 

In the second week of January 2020, after Charli Mills published her 99-word flash fiction prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike were created in my mind. 

Given that I intended to say goodbye to these three characters after pressing the ‘publish’ button, I was surprised they reemerged the following week.

If you don’t know Charli Mills and the 99-word flash fiction challenge she publishes every Thursday, then take a look at her blog and introduce yourself. Better still, join in with hundreds of other writers who participate in the 99-word flash fiction challenge every week. Click here for details.  

This was the challenge Charli set that week. 

January 9th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

#flashfiction #shortstory
Image credit: Charli Mills

Enter Doug, who is carrying his new wife, Sophie, over the threshold of their honeymoon suite. 

Everything looks merry and happy for the newlyweds, but not all is as it seems. Two floors below, a secret festers. That’s where Mike comes into the story. 

I’d given this piece of flash fiction a twist which not only did I love but so did many of my readers. Result! 

You can read the piece I wrote for the challenge by clicking here.

Only having 99-words to play with made this a tough challenge, but I had no idea that Doug, Sophie and Mike would reappear again the following week.

This is the challenge Charli published the following week. 

January 16th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads! 

#flashfiction
Image Credit: Charli Mills

When I read the prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike came into my mind. Should I carry on their story from where I had left them the week before, or should I create a brand new story?

It wasn’t long before I had the answer, although it was with the help of those three characters. However, I was about to make the 99-word flash fiction challenge even harder for myself.

How I turned a 99-word flash fiction challenge into something even more challenging. 

Given that I had three characters who all wanted to give their point-of-view of what was going on, I had to spilt the number of words I could use between all three. That gave me only 33 words to play with for each character.

At first, that seemed like an even tougher challenge than writing a piece of flash fiction in only 99 words, but with Doug, Sophie and Mike firmly embedded in my mind, I decided to take up my new challenge. 

Fast forward a few more weeks, and I found myself writing pieces of fiction in a completely different style to what I’d been used to. It was as if I’d unlocked a door to a new writing gift. 

#ThursdayDoors

I’d always thought that writers were in full control of the direction of their stories. However, here I was not in complete control of what was going to happen to Doug, Sophie and Mike each week. 

Every time I published the next part of their story, I had to wait for Charli to post the next prompt, of which I knew absolutely nothing about until publication.

During week seven of the challenge, I’d thought I’d have to call it a day and concede defeat. This was the challenge Charli published that week. 

February 20th, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads! 

As Doug, Sophie and Mike were all based in a hotel, how on earth was I going to include a library cat named Rainbow into the story?

I also thought that a cat named Rainbow was something that was more suitable to a story in a children’s book (not one that had included spiking drinks, sleeping around, and lies).

Rainbow, the cat, proved to be a big problem for me, but I wasn’t going to allow this challenge to defeat me.

After a long, hard think about the challenge, I duly sat down, wrote something and wondered if my audience would like the new direction the story was about to take.

Given that I’ve published one more episode since Rainbow the cat first appeared (and I’ve another new episode lined up), I’ll let you be the judge of whether the introduction of a cat named Rainbow into the story was a success. 

Click here to read part one of the story, and follow the links to each part.

The icing on the cake

Last week, I received an email from a reader who ended their email with this –

 ‘…and I’ll continue to watch (with bated breath) how Doug, Sophie and Mike are doing.’ 

Not only do those few words tell me something, but I think they say it all. 

Thank you to Charli Mills who publishes her 99-word flash fiction challenge every week.

Not only do her blogging challenges help improve the way I write but they have now pushed me to think differently about the way I write.

Click here to read this week’s writing challenge from Charli.

#writer #blogger #author #flashfiction #shortstories
Author, writer, blogger, and head of the writing community at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills

And a big thank you to all the other bloggers who publish blogging challenges. You’re doing such an excellent service for the blogging community.

Do you publish a weekly or monthly blogging challenge on your blog? If so, leave a link to it in the comments section.

 Do you participate in blogging challenges? If so, which ones? Have they worked for you and changed the way you write or take photos? Have you had any success with them or do you think they’re a waste of time? Join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section.

The Road To Where? #flashfiction

February 27, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the open road. Where will the trip lead? Who is going, and why? Follow the open road wherever it may lead!


Thank goodness nobody else was in the room, thought Mike. Putting the gun away, the sound of meowing from the other side of his hotel room door startled him. He hesitated before moving towards it.

***

Having decided to follow the meowing cat, Sophie was shocked by what she saw as she turned the corner of the hotel corridor. In front of her, an open road with a cat running towards the horizon. Should she follow it?

***

Two floors above, Doug’s dream continued. Rainbow, the cat, reappeared, only this time somebody was following the feline. “Don’t follow,” he murmured.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Rainbow #flashfiction

February 20, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!


Doug watched as the dog sat next to the stranger, turned into a cat named Rainbow. Holding a library book in its mouth, Rainbow jumped out of the picture and disappeared.

***

Two floors below, Sophie decided it was time to find out the answer. The ‘ping’ of the elevator doors opening stopped her from knocking on Mike’s door. She watched in disbelief as a cat exited the lift.

***

Aiming the revolver at the door of his hotel room, Mike made the sound of a gunshot before sneezing loudly. Only cats made him sneeze. Hotels didn’t have cats, did they?


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Torn #flashfiction

February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!


The first words that entered Mike’s head when looking at the picture were ‘I love you.’ He wished he’d kept the sugar letter he’d received while on duty in Iraq.

***

Torn by love and lust, Sophie suddenly remembered the reply she’d got from a sugar letter she’d sent. Had he meant what he had said? Was now the right time to find out?

***

Two floors above, Doug dreamt about a tall stranger dressed in military uniform stood in a field of daisies, and who held an unopened letter towards him. ‘Not everything is as it seems,’ whispered the stranger.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Picture #flashfiction

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!


Sophie’s face wasn’t the last thing Doug saw as his eyes finally closed. Having fallen to the floor, it was the picture hanging on the wall, of a dog sitting in a daisy field, that was his final vision. It spoke to him.

***

Two floors below, after removing the revolver from his trouser pocket, Mike’s eyes became transfixed on the same picture of a dog sitting in a field of daisies. It spoke to him.

***

Outside Mike’s room, Sophie hesitated before knocking on the door. Was she doing the right thing? Shouldn’t she go back and check on Doug?


Image Credit: Charli Mills

Click here to read the first part of the story and follow the links back to this part.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Turning Point #flashfiction

January 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. Even if you base your story on a true one, focus on the core trait of this postal carrier. Go where the prompt leads!


Putting his right hand into the trouser pocket of his postal carrier uniform, Mike felt the outline of the handle of the revolver. He knew his jealousy was forcing an extreme situation to develop.

***

Two floors above, Sophie wished she could wish herself back to the postal depot where she and Mike worked, so she could escape the extreme situation Doug was putting her in.

***

Just before deciding now was the right time to smother Sophie’s face with the pillow; he was holding, Doug’s vision became a little blurry. Why had Sophie put them both in this extreme situation?


Image credit: Charli Mills

Click here to read the first part of the story and follow the links back to this part.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

15:30 to Midnight #flashfiction

January 23, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a park bench. Use this gif to choose a timeframe and write the story behind that particular scene. Use the time as your title. Go where the prompt leads!


Sophie wished that right now she still had the knife she had used to inscribe their names on the park bench where she and Doug had first met.

***

Doug’s mind wandered back to their first date. It was a bunch of flowers he had held in his hands at 15:30 that day. Now, here he was holding an oversized bed pillow in front of Sophie. He wondered if their names were still inscribed on the park bench.

***

Two floors below, Mike thought about the park bench where he and Sophie had first made love at the stroke of midnight.


Image credit: Charli Mills

Click here to read the first part of the story and follow the links back to this part.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

It’s Not Fair #flashfiction

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!


“It’s not fair,” protested Mike, as he paced up and down his hotel room. “One of them should have been here by now.”

He hated the thought of the newlyweds sleeping together.

***

Two floors above, while holding an oversized pillow in his hands, Doug angrily protested to his new wife that she had probably cheated on him. “It’s not fair; how can you have wanted to sleep with somebody else and not me?”

***

“It’s not fair,” Sophie quietly protested to herself, while looking somewhat worryingly at her husband. “That spiked drink I gave you should have worked by now.”


Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Click here to read the first part of this flash fiction story.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

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Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Honeymoon #flashfiction

January 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!


While carrying his new wife over the threshold of the honeymoon suite, Doug’s eyes lit up at the size of the massive bed in front of him.

Those pillows were big enough to suffocate his new wife for cheating on him.

***

Landing on the bed, Sophie looked at her new husband and wondered how long it would be before the spiked drink she had made Doug consume, would knock him out cold so she could spend the night with Mike, Doug’s best friend.

***

Two floors below, Mike wondered which of the newlyweds would be joining him in bed tonight.


Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Click here to read part two of the story.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Growing Older

She sat, watching the world around her getting older, her included. It had been a rather tough day and she disliked what ageing did to her.

I may be wiser, she thought, but I feel like I’m on my last few breaths before I leave this world again. I don’t want to go, but know it is time to move on.

As she sat back to take in the last sight of the world she loved, a door behind her opened and slammed loudly.

“Move over, Saturday. The day of rest has arrived. See you in a week’s time.”


Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge with the theme of ‘growing older’, hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Click here to join hundreds of other writers who have taken up the challenge.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.