• THE STRESS by Claire


    Click, click, click went the computer mouse.
    Refresh, refresh, refresh went the internet page.
    All this for one item.
    Was it worth it?
    Really worth it?

    It wasn’t just me but hundreds, i […]

    • I knew it had to be a PS5! LOL! I’ve resigned myself to having to wait till spring. The pacing was excellent, and the way you captured all the different feels was spot on. The excitement, the anxiety, the real world asserting itself, the joy. All great!

      • Thank you for the lovely comments. It was very stressful. I was off due to self isolation. I got lucky. If I didn’t get one then I would have waited I think to February when the other batch would be out.

    • I also knew it had to be the ps5 – we lived through this agony a few weeks ago with my son trying to order one for him. Alas our result wasn’t as joyous as your protagonists. This was very well paced and descriptive and definitely the PS5 is the most over hyped item of this season, so very appropriate for the prompt. I also liked how you worked in COVID-19 as a topical reference. Well done.

      • Thank you for the lovely comment. It was very stressful getting one and I hope your son gets one very soon. It’s very good. I won’t spoil the astrobots, but I love the game.

  • Is area 52 what it seems to be? by Claire


    I watch an interesting documentary about ailens living in area 52. I would love to know what the alien’s like and dislikes are, what their personality are, etc. I m […]

    • Haha! What a fun story, Claire! No worries about the grammar, I understood it fine 🙂 I loved the twist at the end. I had to go back to read to see how you left hints about it. Thank you for sharing and please keep writing! (Also a side note, I applaud that you completed this despite everything you’re managing right now. I know it’s not easy. Sending you good wishes and a friendly hug from Thailand!)

  • WHAT I WISH I SAID! By claire#Who the bloody hell would want to be the prime minister of the United Kingdom? Me that’s who!It’s bad enough to listen on a weekly basis to your opposition on prime minister que […]

    • Hi Claire. Sorry that it took me such a while to get around to reading. I’m slowly but surely working my way through it all. Thank you for this honest piece. I’m going to take a bit of time with this critique, as I see you’ve been passed over with comments. As we don’t know each other, it is difficult to know what you’re looking to get out of a critique. I’m just assuming that, like me, you would like to know how to make your work better, rather than having a cheerleader on the side. I hope you will forgive me if I get it wrong. Anyway, the best approach to critique is to take what you want and ignore the rest. Please be assured it is all done with the most benevolent of intentions.
      On being in character: The author and the narrator are supposed to be two different entities (unless you’re writing as yourself). I know it is difficult really to be inside the head of Boris Johnson or whoever other leader needs to lead his/her people out of a mess like the one we’re in right now. But sometimes, in the course of reading your piece, I got the sense that it is really you, the author, rather than the narrator’s voice (Boris Johnson’s) I’m hearing. I suppose one way of making the narrator sound more “like himself” is to use some original or personally frequented phrases attributed to him. This should be relatively easy to find if you have a prominent public figure like the prime minister of the UK as your narrator. Of course, what I think you were trying to do with this piece is to use Johnson’s inner monologue to reflect the stupidity of a nation. That makes it a bit harder, and you could use some special narration techniques to commit to this “big idea” in your story.
      On the big idea: I liked your idea of letting a leader’s inner monologue reflect both the helplessness of the situation and the stupidity of the followers. That’s a great concept. One way of getting that across more, is to alternate between what the leader says in public, and what you think he thinks in private, by making use of different typeface. One exceptional novel I’ve read once did that by having the “public events” part in conventional, grammatically correct, prose; and the “inner monologue” parts in cursive with no punctuation. I think that if you were amenable to a rewrite, this technique would be very handy in your piece.
      On the moral of the story: I was struck by the how you portrayed that even in your narrator’s mind, the loss of lives, and the scale of the health problem was second to the toilet paper crisis. I think this was intentional, as you probably wrote this piece to show people the weaknesses of their leader as much as the weaknesses in their own selves, in a “either way you look at this you lose” kind of message. Is that so? If it is, you could perhaps amp up the drama even more, by contrasting the first-world toilet-paper problem with the stuff going down in the developing world, around corona and corruption, the exponential effect on the poor (and a nice tie-in with your black lives matter references.
      On the grammar: You said you didn’t want your grammar to be corrected, so I won’t. Just to say that there is a fantastic programme out there that does this for you. I’m sure you know about it. Grammarly. It has made my life so much easier.
      On the whole: It takes a lot of guts to put something you’ve written – something of yourself – out there in the world, and wait for others you don’t know to give you feedback. You need to be saluted every time you do this. Never stop writing.


    Taken from the last short story


    I sat at the bottom stairs crying my eyes out. I was only protecting my best friend Matty and I still did not believe a word that was […]

    • strange are the circumstances sometimes , well written connecting events smoothly

    • Hi Claire: I’m glad I read this continuation. It was really well done and added to the story from last time. I really liked where this was going. It looks like you have left yourself an opening to continue this story further if you wanted to. I can see this becoming a novel even. It really brings up the emotions of jealousy best friends can have. Keep up the good writing!

      • Thank you for the feedback. I suppose it could be turned into a novel. Never thought of it. There is some bits that is based on a true event in my life. Got annoyed and angry writing about it and now feel better lol.

    • There’s something weird about the unfocused writing, every scene just stumbles into the next. I’d suggest reading more, broaden how you express actions. Overall, I like it!

      • Just wondering if you’ve read the previous month story? Is it just the actions I need to work on in this short story?

        Also wondering if the story is written for young adults or just adults. I’m trying to write for young adults on here and would like to improve for the next story. Been a challenge for the first year and learning all the time, except my grammar which isn’t the best!

        • Oof, sorry about the late reply and the structure of my comment. Didn’t mean to come off as a bit of a dick. But I mean in general, expanding your vocabulary can be a good way to put your abstract thoughts onto paper. Also, it’ll help you learn to simplify your writing.

          I’d definitely suggest picking up some YA novels, The Twilight Saga is a really good starting point. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is an American classic, Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue is vague, not nearly enough to care about, but it’s simple and easy to read. Morganville Vampires is also a good read!

  • Jumping to conclusions by Claire
    I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it!
    How could she do this!
    How could she just hurt someone like that!
    He is my best friend. The loveliest person you will ever mee […]

    • Jane replied 5 months ago

      Hi Claire

      You have written an interesting story here. I tell you what Amanda is the kind of friend you certainly do not need. Either she is in love with him herself, or she just likes to totally control his life. At least he has probably wised up to her now and will cut her out of his life.
      I have sent you some editing tips in a private message on facebook. It does require quite a few edits to make it flow better and easier to read:)
      Well done and thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Claire. This is a tale that needs much more than 1800 words to do it justice I think. Your piece forms a very good first draft/writer’s notes in preparation for the final edited version.
      Read it aloud to yourself to see where you think it sounds good and where it needs a bit of a tidy up. The trouble with a good story is that it makes itself perfectly clear inside the writer’s head but because the reader is not privy to such information, a little more clarity is sometimes needed.
      Keep and eye on your narrator/MC as she appears in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person at different times (I, You, and Amanda) – I think this story probably works best as a 1st person story (which you have chosen most of the time and I agree with your choice).
      I’m guessing that Amanda is a piece of work who wants him for herself OR (and this is where your skill comes into it) she is a controller. This is made obvious by the fact that he rings HER when he needs help with the burglary, he asks her advice about dating – etc and she likes that power she has over him. You did that very well I thought.
      I think you could break this up into, say,6 chapters and make it a ‘long’ short story. Add more layers and depth to the story – I think the possibilities deserve such a rewrite. It’s a good idea and you can turn this into a real ‘bunny burner’! Don’t give up on this story – you have the nucleus of a gripping tale.

      • Thank you very much. It was a difficult story to write within the words limit. I’m hoping it can continue into this month’s short story. I will follow your advice and will see if I can make a little story out of it. I’m starting to have a beginning as I write this to you.

        Once again thank you for your feedback.

    • Interesting story here. Plenty of scope to expand it or a sequel.
      I see Jane and Del ave picked up on most of what I wanted to critique
      “It’s your choice at the end of the day. You are an adult and are capable of making decisions at the end of the day,” Do watch the repetition. it is in a few places.

      Well done and keep it up

    • Hi Claire:
      This definitely has me intrigued. Why would Amanda be this way? What would she gain? It really it a solid start to a longer story I think and is something I would read because it is so interesting. Keep up the good writing!

  • THE MAGIC CRAYON by claire
    Rosie was happily colouring her pictures of Care Bears when the 5-year-old, pressed heavily down on her paper which saw her break the crayon in half.

    She sat there with two broken […]

    • Lol… just what every little girl would do at some point. Nice work.

    • Cute! Love it. Thank you for sharing

    • Hello Claire,
      What a cute story. I am smiling as I type, envisioning myself and many other little girls who have done this. What a thrill it is to break into mommy’s lipstick. I love the idea of it being a magic crayon, and could definitely sympathize with Rosie when her crayon broke. Excellent use of the prompt, dialogue and characterization. Nice job!

      • Yes I’m one of them girls who have done this lol. So it was nice to look back and reflect. Thank you for reading this 😊

    • A really lovely story, I love the concept of the magic craton and from the title had no idea and only when she was in the bathroom knew what it was referring to. Really nicely written and put a huge smile on my face. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Claire, this was super cute. I loved how she talked of the magic crayon:) The only thing I would suggest is that you don’t mention it being a lipstick in this line:
      Still standing at the sink looking at herself in the mirror, Rosie was trying to work out how to open the lipstick. It did not take long as she pulled the two bits away and there inside, she could see something. There she could see Mummy’s magic crayon that was red. Just what she needed.
      Rosie believes it is a a magic crayon and so the mystery should stay. We can work out it is a lipstick easy enough from your great descriptions.
      I would suggest: Still standing at the sink looking at herself in the mirror, Rosie was trying to work out how to work the magic crayon. It didn’t take long …….. etc.
      Well done and thanks for sharing.

    • Charming! Original take on the prompt! Well done you 🙂

    • Well done, Claire. I love how you’ve managed to get inside the head of the small child. ‘Mummy’s magic crayon’ is a perfect image. Thank you for sharing.

      • Thank you for reading my piece. I’ve been one of those little girls that would be interested in my mum’s make up bag lol 😆

    • Hi Clair. This is an enchanting story. I shall now, forever, see the lipstick as a magic crayon. Thank you.

    • Fun story of childhood innocence and charm. Well done!

      • Thank you for your comments. Chuff to bits with this little story.

  • Chloe sat at her desk pondering on what to write for her home education that was set by her school. Everyday, she was given a task to do with her subjects she was taking. Today it was English and she had to create […]

    • An interesting piece and told in the present time, with the lockdown which we can all sympathize with. I liked the ‘story within a story’ about the little t-rex and the fact that Chloe dreams of winning the competition. I hope she is successful.

    • a writing technique well used, building a great story

    • Thank you to both of you for the lovely comments. I was dreading it to be honest. It’s was a short story I was really struggling to connect with but kept on writing.

  • The orange glow of the streetlight made a path in the direction the man was walking. It led the way. The streetlights were saying come follow the light; it will lead you to where you are going. But the man knew […]

    • Creepy and atmospheric with a surprise ending. Although I didn’t think through this that it was exactly going to end well. I’d like to see more of the man’s inner thoughts and motivations as he goes deeper into this crazy house. Even if he is curious, I don’t think he’s just pushing forward because he’s clueless. What does he want out of these regionals that push him to continue into this creepy stinky building? Is chess the only thing that gives him self worth? Does he want to be like the chess champion he mentions? I think he needs a stronger motivation to press on and it would help flesh him out a bit. I like the image of the chessboard on the table lit only with candles. Cool touch. Thanks for sharing your work!!

    • Such descriptive writing set the tone nicely for the story. I was anticipating a twist, and at the back of my mind was expecting actual chess to be played haha. That was a nice twist at the end there. A few grammatical corrections, like punctuation on the last sentence and a few others, and correction “to his disappointed” should be “To his disappointment”. I enjoyed hearing the story, and I would love to know the back story and exactly what happened! A good read.

    • great premise – enjoyed the concept of this.
      I do think you could work on your delivery more – create better suspense, less labouring over the lights right at the beginning. Think once you work out how to pace your story forward , you can work on fleshing out your MC’s character so that by the time we get to the end and realise he is trapped (is he trapped in the building, to die himself?) we are really invested in him.

      Nice work

    • Thank you to those that submitted their reviews. Much appreciated. Sorry I’ve not had time to reply to you all. Been busy working. This was a story i first wrote with the story dices i got from xmas (seems ages ago) and i loved it. I wanted to share it. Probably make it into a novel for murder mystery.

  • The meeting in what is usually held in the busy training room at Rise and Shine day centre was instead in Amelia’s back garden. She would be having meetings upon meetings via zoom to deal with this crisis that w […]

    • Hi Claire,
      You’ve touched upon a very critical (yet overlooked) point in our present situation. Thank you for that. I loved the spirit you gave Amelia and wish her fight gets her the results she wants.
      About the grammar…that’s ok, you’ll get better as you write more. 🙂 Only tip I can give is to break up longer sentences into smaller ones…that makes the grammar easier to handle.
      For example, here, ” The meeting in what is usually held in the busy training room at Rise and Shine day centre was instead in Amelia’s back garden. “…it would be easier to split the sentence…”Amelia was in her back garden doing her meetings. Meetings that used to be held in the training room at Rise and Shine Day Centre, until the virus struck.”
      Will you be continuing this story with the next prompt, too? Would be interesting to see what happens!

      • Thank you for your feedback. I really couldn’t motivate myself to be creative like I normally am. So all I could think of was to talking about this virus. I’m working as a support worker and I know my manager is supporting us the best she can.

        This is not based on her or her family. I just know she comes into work and has meetings.

        For the next story I’ll try and break up the sentences to make it flow better.

        As for the next story, I’m trying to rattle my brain if this story could continue.

    • Claire,
      I agree that grammar is not a huge issue. It gets better with time. I like the premise of this story. One recommendation I have is to show more and tell less. Sounds cliche, but if you can add in Amelia’s physical reactions and emotions . I love the line “this was war, but not the war we all know.”

    • Thank you for your feedback. I agree grammar isn’t my strong point. I never thought about the show more and tell less. The more I think about it I could have expressed how Amelia was feeling but that is something for the next story to try.

  • A young girl swung her swing casually in her back garden taking in the light breeze that hit her face. It felt soft, light and most all of clean. She let her bare feet slightly touch the bright green grass as it […]

    • Beautiful story with much heartbreak and sadness.
      There were a few grammar issues I am sure you are aware of but they did not disrupt or break the flow of the story. With that lovely bright beginning you could not even imagine what she had gone through to get there! The ending although hopeful also left me wondering more! Will she see Jim again, her Mother, make new friends or be an outsider? Much to explore if you decided to revisit. Thank you.

      • Thank you for the kind comment. I wrote the story before typing before realising I was 1,000 words out. It was a hard one but I’m glad I continued.

    • Wow, there is so much action and drama packed into 2500 words! Like Catherine, I found some grammar issues, some words not put in the past tense, that will need going over if you plan to edit this. I like at the end that her final hurdle to getting through this traumatic time and adaptive is achieved and there is resolution and a happier ending for this little girl. I hope she finds her friend again.

      • Thank you for the kind comment. It was an interesting subject to write. I didn’t want to give up even though I was 1,000 words out.

    • Waaaoooo


    • Thank you for your kind comment

    • I loved your story. I too found a number of grammar issues, but for me, it didn’t detract from the story, it seemed to enhance it. I could feel the fear in the abandoned building, and the boat. I like how you began and ended with the little girl on the swing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much for the comment. I’m aware that my grammar isn’t good. I’m trying to work on it.

      I’m suprising myself this year with this writing challenge. It’s out of my comfort zone but I seem to be doing okay. I’ve loved this one. I saw a bungalow and a swing for the inspiration.

    • You have some great imagery and the strength of your emotions come through very well. As others have stated, a bit more attention to grammar (problems with your tenses and pluralization were both apparent) would be the best place to start on your next editing – but still a very lovely story with great bones to build on.

    • Thank you for the comments. I’m really pleased to hear how this story has flowed. It was an easy one to write for that amount of words but I did it. Grammar is a problem for me and I’ve bought a work book to help me improve.

  • “No I don’t want those tables there,” shouted Betty. “Just put them over there.”

    Betty is a senior person who is a fuss pot according to Bill when it comes to sorting out tables. She is never satisfied and will […]

    • Gave me a glimpse of a world I am unfamiliar about. Nice! Stories are a great way to travel the globe, I think. Irritating old mothers can be potential life threats, I swear! Nice build up. A few more dialogues will help its pace I think. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your feedback. I really enjoyed writing this one. Everything just seemed to flow in my head.

    • I wasn’t quite sure what happened in this otherwise entertaining story.
      How was the ‘tampering’ done? and What was the object at the end of the bridge? And later by the hall?
      I think a higher word count would have suited this story – but we have no say in that!!
      Have a look at the grammar in parts. The first few sentences have a little hop from present to past tense and are easily sorted. just simple things like ‘bade him goodnight’ not ‘bidded’ and ‘Is these tables….’ should be ‘Are these tables…’
      I’d love to know the bits that don’t have the room to appear in this story.
      I liked the amount of dialogue in here – not too much nor too little.
      Good characterisation and I could see those people clearly in my mind.
      Good use of the prompt and excellent title too.

    • Hi, thanks for the feedback. My grammar is something I’ve always struggled on so hopefully this writing and website will help me and I do really appreciate the feedback.

      The object at the end of the bridge was suppose to keep the reader guessing what it could be. With the mention it lit up, the reader could guess what it could be. It got revealed once I side the hall. Who would have thought a forklift truck would have fitted inside a small village hall. I work in a building and I wondered if that could happen and I think it would. That’s where I got the idea from.

    • A fun story to read, Claire. Your twist at the end made me laugh, and I would have loved to see a little more reaction from the stunned neighbours , so rudely woken.

      A couple of little issues which just brought your story down a little. “he bidded goodnight” – as someone else has mentioned, I would substitute bidded for something else, for me, I would go with “bid”.

      I drove a forklift for many years’ and I’m afraid there were elements of the forklift that didn’t ring quite true to me, but I enjoyed the premise and your use of it. Depending on the height of the mast, and the height of the hall doors, the forklift could have fit in the hall, so that was all good.

      A good story, good to see Betty get what was coming (we all know a Betty don’t we?) Thank you for sharing

      • Thanks for your feedback. I was stuck for a while regarding the word bid. Did it sound write. I’ve got dyslexia and in the end went with that word. I do appreciate feedback as I try and improve my writing.

        As for the forklift truck, I looked at a website near to where I live and measured my work side double door. Would the forklift truck fit and also would it fit inside and because it’s an old building it would have. Not that I’m planning bringing in a forklift truck. Would be funny!

        Once again thanks for the feedback

    • Hi, Claire,

      This was an enjoyable read. I think you gave your readers a nice twist, and the quotation to the mom was awesome. If you wanted to add more dialogue and use the words to show us who is who and what is what will come across better than the Narrator explaining things to us.

      Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to reading more of your work this year,


    • Hi Claire,

      Funny ending! A bit more attention to your grammar, and more dialogue would have fit the mood of the piece. Keep writing!

      • Thanks for the feedback. I’m know my grammar isn’t the best because of my dyslexia, but I’m glad I’ve join this writing group to find ways of improving my writing.

        I appreciate the feedback from people.

    • It’s hard to write humour and you did a good job of setting up the ending, but I am am confused by the last line:

      ‘Betty looked at Bill in disbelief, but all Bill could do was to wave and walk away following the forklift truck thinking all this for the annual quiz.’

      I thought Bill and the young man were alone outside and everyone was asleep.

    • Hi, thank you for the comment. Originally the funny bit was going to be in the middle, but I couldn’t make it work so the ending became that.

      There was a paragraph before the last one

      ‘A majority of houselights in the cul-de-sac were switching on including the young man’s mother house and faces appeared at the windows.’

      As the shouting was for quite some time, neighbors began to stir and looked out of the window.

  • Claire's profile was updated 11 months, 3 weeks ago

  • It’s like watching a boxing match where two different parties face each other and fight for our votes. “In the red corner, founded on 27th February 1900 in London is the Labour party.” Supporters cheer when they s […]

    • Hi Claire, I love how you’re able to make a political point in your story that the voices of our youth matter. And your story would be more powerful if you made one change– to avoid the use of passive voice.

      Here’s an example of how could make a sentence more impactful:

      Passive: One of their passionate issues was the global warming and how much the ice was melting and the sea was rising.
      Active: The new kids spoke passionately about the impact of global warming and their concerns about melting ice and rising seas.

      Keep at it! You’ve got this!

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you for the comment. I found January prompt hard and then a light bulb moment came. It’s been a while since I’ve written and I’m glad i brought the story home close to our heart.

    • This is very interesting and a topic I’m myself passionate about. 🙂 Overall, I find your story well-written and the pacing is also good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I’m chuffed to bits ho it has turned out as i was struggling.

  • Claire changed their profile picture 1 year, 3 months ago

  • Claire's profile was updated 1 year, 3 months ago


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