Instructions for a Wedding Speech

This was supposed to be my entry for the Didcot Writers monthly competition back in June but I forgot to submit it. The theme was ‘toast’

Instructions for a Wedding Speech

Rather than have a best man panicking

About having to make a toast

I thought I’d offer instructions

Speaking in front of a crowd is scary

Even when you do it all the time

You should

Open with a joke

Understand your audience

Regale with tales of years gone by.

Give them a toast to remember

Let the couple know you care

A hope, dream or wish

Should be shared

Speak from the heart

Eloquence is required

Some gentle teasing is allowed

Permit me to offer another tip:

Last of all

End on a high

And remember to

Say the immortal

Ending line

(for further instructions, read down the side)

Flash Fiction: Friends Request

My writers group have started posting a monthly prompt competition for a piece of no more than 500 words.  I submitted this for the March competition and was unsuccessful so thought I would share it here instead.  It’s the first time I entered – it was given as an exercise at the flash fiction workshop  I went to at the end of February (as the tutor was the one who set that prompt and did this month’s judging) and I wrote it there and then typed it up and tweaked it to submit to the competion.  The prompt was “The Last Request”

Friends Request

Claire smiled when she saw the notification.  She had a friends request from Rebecca.  Years ago they had been best friends before Rebecca moved away and every year or so in a fit of nostalgia she searched Facebook for her.


There were lots of people called Rebecca Smith listed.  Dark haired ones like the girl she had known.  Ones with obviously bleached blonde hair.  And ones from all over the world.  Claire always spent far too long browsing the profiles.  Wondering if the girl pulling the silly face was her joker friend, gazing at the one with the shocking pink hair and remembering how Rebecca had always threatened to do that.


Her husband still socialised regularly with his school friends and Claire often went with him.  She enjoyed spending time with the other couples.  They were nice people and sometimes they even made her laugh.  But they were very much Steve’s friends not hers.  She wouldn’t get to keep them if she got divorced.


Claire had never been quite sure she had found her.  Over the years she had found a few definite maybes and even plucked up the courage to send a few friends requests.  But those had always got a confused message back asking who she was. Or worst still, been completely ignored.  And she was left still lonely and looking for the one who got away.


They had promised to be friends forever.  The night before Rebecca had moved away they had sworn in a fit of teenage optimism that the distance wouldn’t matter.  In reality they had lost touch within months and 15 years later Claire regretted that.

Each friends request that was declined she told herself was the last.  But until today it never had been.

As she clicked accepted and scrolled over to open the message that accompanied the request Claire had a big smile on her face knowing that this time it really would be the last request.


This is the story of…

We played Consequences at the NaNoWriMo kick off meet up today. It was pretty funny and I said I’d record them for posterity. I figured my blog was a better place for them than the forum as things get lost on there!

This is the story of how Bugs Bunny met Goldilocks on Red Dwarf. He said “I’d kill for a slice of that pie.” She said “Hush you!” And they got lost in the forest and found the witches house.

This is the story of how Reginald Harris met Marilyn Monroe at the circus. He said “Have you ever seen Mamma Mia?” She said “How RUDE!” And that’s why they don’t have a dog any more.

This is the story of how Lord Grantham met Queen Victoria on Platform 9 3/4. He said “make my day punk.” She said “that’s what?” So they went ice skating in George Square.

This is the story of how David Cameron met Miss Piggy in the GOL section of the phone book. He said “give me your toes, baby!” She said “that reminds me of the time I ate an entire buffalo.” And that’s why spaghetti is now illegal in France.

This is the story of how Jean-Paul Gaultier met Jordan in a booth of the London Eye. He said “I only speak French.” She said “oh ah just a little bit.” Then they went to the pet shop and bought goldfish.

This is the story of how Dangermouse met Shania Twain in Mornington Crescent. He said “don’t move! There’s a banana here somewhere and I’ll find it if it kills me.” She said “I’ve always wanted to learn how to whistle. They lived happily ever after.

This is the story of how Mickey Mouse met Eva Green on Jupiter. He said “Gold is my favourite thing, precioussss.” She said “Pandas are not lobsters.” So they had no choice but to eat hot dogs until they felt sick.

This is the story of how Mark Twain met Elizabeth Bennett in Churchill’s bunker. He said “do you like vanilla ice cream?” She said “I am going to call the police!” And then they jumped off a cliff.

This is the story of how Winston Churchill met Mary Poppins at the £2 book store. He said “can I buy a box of arsenic?” She said “I like old movies.” And they all won NaNoWriMo.

This is the story of how Gollum met Margaret Thatcher on the London Eye. He said “that’s the way the cookie crumbles, my dear.” She said “sometimes I think I can hear trees talk.” Aliens blew up the building they were in.

This is the story of how The German met Alice (from Wonderland) at The Jam Factory. He said “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester.” She said “I prefer golf clubs.” And then Frank ate bacon.

This is the story of how Ash Ketchum met Isabella Valentine on Betelguise 4. He said “your shoes look fantastic.” She said “ok, I’ll go for drinks with you.” Then they did vodka shots and ate cake.

This is the story of how Jonas met Doris at the Eiffel Tower. He said “I love jam”. She said “I think they’re writing novels.” And they ate fish and chips in a yellow submarine,

>Stop! NaNo Time!

>Yes it is indeed that most wonderful time of the year – NaNoWriMo. And just because the madness that is writing 50 thousand words in 30 days wasn’t enough for me this year I’m also one of the Municipal Liaisons for Oxfordshire.

It’s going well so far although not as well or as fast as I’d hoped.  I’ve been very lacking in motivation for the past day or so which means I’ve not hit the goals I’d set for myself but I have hit and exceeded the standard day one and day two goals.  The goal is 1,667 words a day and I’m ending day two with 4,462 words meaning I’m over 1000 words ahead of where I needed to be. Good stuff.  I am trying to take care of myself and not beat myself about missed goals etc.

My motivation does seem to be coming back tonight and I’ll need to channel some of that into other things like doing some washing and cleaning out the fridge tomorrow.  But I’m at that week one of NaNo point where I’m remembering how much I enjoy it and it’s getting easier.

Being ML is very different to how I expected but I think I like it.  We gave everyone at the kick off party four index cards and had them write down a situation (or place), a person (either the name of a real person or a type of person), an object and an action.  I am loving the level of creativity in those and the amount of detail some people went into is astounding.  I’m posting one or two of those prompts to our regional forum each day and so far they seem to be triggering interesting discussion.  Today we had a radioactive tea bag and swimming as our two prompts.  Yesterday’s prompt was to add some monkeys.

>Two Creative Writing Prompts

>We were talking about setting the scene and establishing mood at my creative writing class tonight.  As a part of that we did two exercises.

The first was to describe a place you love or hate in two sentences without saying why you love or hate it.

Ducks, geese and swans as well as a sewage works, this is the noisy home to an eclectic mix.  You usually end up getting either sunburnt, really wet, or both and laughing as you watch spectacular sunsets whilst doing something you thought impossible.

That’s Oxford Sailing Club in case you hadn’t guessed I was talking about sailing.  The first thing my tutor said when I read it out is “are you talking about sailing?”

For the second exercise we as a group came up with the description of a bar.  Who was in it, what sounds there were, what the weather was like, what was in it, what it smelt like etc.  Then we were each given a short character description at random and had to write a description of that bar as though we were that person (in first person).  We had about 15 mins for that.  My prompt was a woman in mourning for her husband who has died suddenly.  This is typed up exactly as I wrote it and without any editing.

This really isn’t the sort of bar I’d usually go to.  And I don’t think I’ll be coming back.  We always used to go to nice quiet wine bars.  Or to old country pubs.  The type you find almost by accident and collapse into after a long walk.  Jess had insisted however.  Claimed I needed to get out.  “It’s Christmas” she’d said as though that explained it all.  I didn’t go out as often as I used to, hadn’t been out in months.

Zach had died suddenly one night.  An hour after we’d got home from our favourite pub.  I’d gone to make hot chocolate.  Celebratory hot chocolate we’d laughed.  After more than a year of trying we’d finally won the pub quiz.  Five minutes later I dropped the mugs on the floor when I found him.  He was dead, just like that.  I hadn’t had a night out since.  Nor had I managed to get the chocolate stain out of the carpet.

So, three months later I found myself in this crazy pub.  It’s full of children screaming as their mums sing Christmas Carols badly on the karaoke machine and their dads roar at something on the biggest TV I’ve ever seen.  Jess had said this was a nice place.  It had a fire I could sit by and we could chat.  Shout right in each others ears? Yes. Chat? No.  And as for the fire?  Tattooed bikers sit round it along with a menacing looking dog.  I wouldn’t dare go near it.  It’s so cold in here too.  Snow is coming down by the doors are propped wide open and I don’t dare go shut them.

I was really intrigued by the sound of the wine I’d chosen.  But now I don’t know why Jess thought I’d like this bar.  I didn’t like this sort of place when I was a teenager let alone now.  I just want to go back three months.  Back to “our” pub.  Back to Zach.

>Creative Writing Prompt – The Object

>At creative writing last night we each picked a random object (without looking) from a box our tutor bought with him.  Then we had about ten minutes to write something about the object’s owner, which included the object.  This is mine.  I might do something more with it, I’m sort of toying with the idea.

The Enigma

He is a bit of a mystery – and that’s the way he likes it.  He’s a bit different – a bit unusual.  That’s what people think about him or at least those that get close enough.  To everyone else he’s just a regular guy.  Friendly, helpful, unremarkable really.  He likes that view of him too but not as much as he likes being a mystery.  But then there aren’t many people who get close enough to notice the silver cufflinks shaped like question marks.  And fewer still who realise just what they mean.

>Word Prompts

>I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve attempted it several times but have either ended up “winning” with a lot of rubbish and a hell of a lot of cheating or as in the last couple of years I’ve failed dismally.

For the first time ever I have actually done a chunk of planning and I know roughly who my main character is and what my plot is. But writing prompts are always good.
So I’m basically posting this entry to ask if anyone who wants to could leave me a list of ten random words in a comment. I’ll try and fit them in somwhere, hopefully each person’s ten will fit into the same chapter. They don’t have to have anything to do with each other, this is supposed to be a crazy challenge and to spark ideas off.

>Creative Writing Prompt – Someone Following Someone

>My creative writing class started again last night for the new term. And we did a ten minute free writing type exercise. Mark gave us a variety of prompts and I chose someone following someone.

This is what I wrote. Not edited at all.
Loitering in the doorway of a busy coffee shop, he tried to blend in as he looked around. Jack hoped to spot Sarah soon. He also hoped she didn’t spot him. If Sarah saw him this would all be over before it even started. Suddenly he saw her. She’d changed her hair in an attempt not to be recognised and was walking quickly with her head down. But there was no denying that it was Sarah.

A minute or two later Jack slipped from his hiding place and started just as quickly down that busy street after her. He kept a close eye on her but also kept looking around, so as not to be obvious. In reality it didn’t work. It just made being caught more likely. Jack had never followed anyone before and was going by what they did in Spy Movies. Life isn’t like Spy Movies however and it was only sheer luck that Sarah didn’t look back and realise that after six months of hiding, her brother had found her.
I got good feedback when I read this out but I’d welcome any more feedback you’d like to leave here as you can never have to much. Constructive criticism is just as welcome too. I was surprised to realise that instead of being the scene I’d meant to take further but ran out of time for what I’d actually written was complete story in itself.
I will probably post some more writing prompts here as the class continues. And I intend to try and use the free writing technique most days if I can.