Current trends (Friday Fictioneers)


Image by Ted Strutz at

His first day of high school everyone laughed.

‘See what he’s wearing?’

‘Around his waist… what a weirdo.’


He ignored them. Acted like he didn’t care.

It only took a few weeks.

By the end of first term everyone wore cords instead of belts. Jim’s Hardware put in a special order from China just to meet the demand.

The first morning of second term he stared at the extension cord hanging over the back of his bedroom chair.

From his wardrobe he pulled a dusty old belt and threaded it through the loops of his jeans.


Have you read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? It’s the latest book I read as part of my 100 book challenge. Read my review here.

Check out the 100 book challenge list, and my other reviews, here.

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see:


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9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle (100 book challenge)

It was Sherlock Holmes’ birthday yesterday. If he’d been alive today, and more importantly if he’d been real, he would have turned an impressive 161. That shows just how long ago these stories were written.

Yet the detective himself is so well known among people of today. I bet that even my nephew knows that when someone turns up to a fancy dress party with a magnifying glass and a tweed hat that they’ve come dressed as Sherlock.

sherlock holmes

The detective from the 1880s is still well-known today

But Conan Doyle, the author himself, didn’t seem that keen on the adventures of Sherlock. He even tried to kill him off at one stage in a case called The Final Problem, but due to public outcry he resurrected the detective in later books. Sometimes characters just want to write themselves and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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2014 in review – a cool little infographic about my blog

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Newcastle Herald Short Story Competition 2014 – online pieces

Below you will find links to online pages relating to the 2014 Newcastle Herald Short Story Competition.

This year’s Herald Short Story Comp published its first shortlisted story on Boxing Day (26th December 2014). I was thrilled to hear that my story ‘Yellow wool‘ has been shortlisted and will be printed in the newspaper (on Saturday 10th January 2015).

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8. Charlotte’s Web – E B White (100 book challenge)

Is there a story you read in your childhood that has stayed with you forever? That when you go back and read it, even just a few lines, it brings back a wave of emotions that you thought you would never feel again?

Well for me, unfortunately, Charlotte’s Web wasn’t one of those books.

charlottes web

Some story

The eighth book in my 100 book challenge somehow missed my childhood altogether. I don’t remember reading it. At a stretch I might have seen the movie.

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7. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (100 book challenge)

I used to find the literary technique ‘deep point of view’ pretty annoying. When I first heard it described in our writing workshop by tutor Karen Whitelaw I admit I put it in the I’ll-never-use-that basket. I believed good writing was about showing a character’s thoughts and opinions through their actions, not from spelling out exactly what was going on in their head. I guess I saw ‘deep point of view’ as the lazy way out.

Ahhhhh… but then I read The Catcher in the Rye.

catcher in the rye cover

A simple cover for a book that has well-earned its place on the classics list

This story, written in 1951 and set mainly in New York, is written deeply in the mind of teenager Holden Caulfield. It is written as though he sat down with you – no doubt over a packet of cigarettes – and rambled a story for a few hours, then it was transcribed word-for-word into a book.

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6. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (100 book challenge)

Audrey Niffenegger is a genius. The impact of time-traveling on love is such a clever idea. The issues the main characters deal with in their relationship are common (love, lust, guilt, desire, pain) but the reason for the issues is so unique (Clare’s husband keeps disappearing unexpectedly because he’s a time traveller).

This is the 6th book of my 100 book challenge and while I was reading it I felt like shouting from the rooftop that everyone should read this book. Sure, the ending was a bit disappointing. But I’ll get to that.

Time travel is so confusing!

Time travel is so confusing!

I’m the worst audience when it comes to stories about time travel. I always manage to get myself confused. In fact, the characters themselves don’t even have to time travel: a simple flashback in the story and I’m lost.

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