Tag Archives: writing prompts

As Write As Rain

At our Inksplinters writing group this week we had the challenge of picking a hobby or interest and write about it using as many clichés as possible. I don’t fish, by the way, but it was easier than writing about slumping in front of the telly….


I used to think that fishing was as easy as falling off a log, especially if, as I do, you do it sitting on a log. In fact it I thought it was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Then yesterday morning I woke up and smelled the coffee, then I got up with the lark and shot from my bed like a bullet out of a gun, grinning like a loon, ready to carpe the diem, and indeed hopefully the carp. I made my toast as easy as pie, then hopped into my car and drove off like a bat out of hell.

I whipped out my rod and opened a can of worms. This was because I hadn’t yet reached the lake, and whipping out your rod on an open road certainly does open a can of worms.

I made my apologies to the traffic cop and finished my trip. I sprang from my car and looked out at the lake.

There are more than fish in the lake. There was a line of ducks, all in a row.

I slung my hook, then got a nibble, but it slipped through my fingers like water through a sieve. I watched  its rear as it swam away, like a vet looking up a cow’s arse.

I was not a happy bunny, nor a ray of sunshine. I was crestfallen and down in the dumps. I was not as happy as Larry, who was fishing thirty yards away and had just landed a ten-pound mackerel.

Because you should have seen the one that got away. He was the size of a house. A big house, obviously, otherwise that sentence means nothing.

I was so pissed that I went to the pub, to get pissed. In the Depths of Despair (that’s the name of the pub) I drank like a, like a, well, like a fish actually. I got as drunk as a skunk, that well-known species of heavy drinkers. My barmates tried to tell me that there were plenty more fish in the sea. They told me keep my chin up, to cheer up and to buck up. I told them something that rhymes with that.

Going forward I’m going to fish with dynamite. There’ll be a big bang (no, not that one), there’ll be a whole new meaning to the expression “the fish are rising” and they’ll shoot from the water like a bullet from a gun, a sentence that’s as old as the hills, since I used it in the second paragraph.

Then it will rain fish, like it’s raining cats and dogs.

Second Try

About two years ago WordPress asked us to pick a book at random from our bookshelves, take the second sentence of the second paragraph of the second page, and use it as the basis of a story.

As I reported at the time I got a children’s book called “Gail of the Whales” and the prescribed sentence read “she wondered how big a horse would have to be to have a horn that long” (the previous sentence was about unicorns, by the way), so needless to say the story did not happen.

Last night I decided to try my own version of the plan. In the library of the Writers Centre I went to the second shelf, picked the second book, turned to the second page of the second chapter and read the second sentence of the second paragraph.

The book was The Janissary Tree, by Jason Goodwin. On the cover Kate Mosse says it has “everything you could want from a novel”, so presumably it contains romance, beauty, tragedy, laughter, heartbreak, a ring to bind them all and a really good car-chase.

What it definitely contains, as I have discovered, is the sentence “He’d done it before, dashing all the hopes and ambitions of the lovely gödze, the girl selected to share his bed that night”.

I have no idea what a gödze is (actually, I have no idea what a janissary is either) but the context makes the meaning pretty clear. And I’m guessing that “he” has some embarrassing problem, unless the hopes and ambitions of gödzes involve pillow-fights.

Perhaps he should read “Gail of the Whales”.

Anyway, this morning I had one last go. In the dim of our early-morning sitting-room I went to the second shelf of the bookcase and pulled out the second book.

It was The Daily Telegraph Big Book Of Cryptic Crosswords. I’m giving up.