5. Rhyme (1)

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

photo.PNG-1This session is about rhyme.

Rhyme has been used in all sorts of writing, whether for reading aloud or listening to in your head. It’s about the sound.


Look out of a window or inside your mind. Grab four words and create a rhyme. Follow this process, let’s see what flows and you can decide if it’s poetry or prose.


The stimulus is the activity above. Here it is again:

01 rhyme page stimulus

The stimulus is the result of the activity. The process is the means by which the result comes about.

You are the writer, though, and you should use the process to create your own result. You can omit, redo, revisit, edit each part of the process to fit with your ideas.

You, the writer, will decide.

Word count and process

The stimulus is exactly 30 words. When we’re dealing with rhyme, we might think about rhythm too. They often work in tangent. This will affect the number of words you use. Now is  not the time to go into metre, rhythm, tempo or beat, but at least we might say that these 30 words make up a verse.

Thirty words. A single verse with four lines and two rhymes. It could be extended. You could make your own and use the process to develop your writing further.

The process could go something like this:

  • Look through a window or into your mind.

This part can be done any time and pretty much anywhere. You need to stop what you’re doing, though, and use time just to look. And think a bit.

Decide whether there’s anything you want to write about that is going on through the window. Maybe there’s nothing that motivates you. Maybe there’s no window. If either of these things is true, you will need to go into your mind. As you know, there are infinite possibilities there!

Whichever you choose – through the window, into your mind, or a combination of the two,

  • select and write down two words to use in creating your piece.

For example:

02 image window process

  • Write a short sentence using each word.

This is a part of the session where you, the writer, need to take charge and create. Use a pen and paper, a memo or note taking app, a computer. Write two sentences. For example:

03 image original 2 sentences

  • Take the last word of each sentence and note them somehow like this:

04 image mind flows

  • Wrack your brains and list as many words as you can think of that rhyme with the last word of one of your sentences. Do the same with the other sentence.

For example:

05 image with list

  • Choose one word from each list.

Choose words that you like, that fit, that sound right, that work.

  • Now have a go.

Write a sentence that ends in one of these words. Put this sentence with the sentence your new sentence rhymes with. Read what you have written. Revise, edit, rewrite as required. Do the same thing with your second word and one of the rhyming words you noted.

  • If things don’t work out, you can scrap stuff. Read, re-read, rewrite, delete, revise, edit. Read, re-read, rewrite, delete, revise, edit.

For example:

06 image corrections

  • Spend time proof-reading for any spelling, punctuation and grammar problems and check it makes sense. Make sure you would be happy for other people to read it.
  • Leave it for a while and then come back and edit it one more time. For lots of different reasons, you might want to change some of the other words in your piece. At some point, though, you should remind yourself to stop.
  • Save what you have written.

For example:

07 image complete page

What next?

Realms of Gold Hand written manuscriptIf you feel like it, or if you want some ideas about how you can develop what you have written, you could share it by sending it to The Safe House at:

Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!

Lizard in the Luggage

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

geckoThis session uses a true story that appeared in an English newspaper a few years ago.

The task is to turn it into a piece of flash fiction.

The newspaper story is quite amusing as it is, but I don’t think it’s really finished.

What do you think could have happened next?

Let your imagination chase you up the wall!


Read the newspaper story and then write your own story mixing facts from the story with ideas that come out of your head.


The stimulus is this short newspaper story:

Lizard in Luggage

Two newlyweds arrived home from their honeymoon in the Seychelles to find a gecko lizard had stowed away in their suitcase.

Tania and Tony Lugg only spotted the small reptile when their pet cat started chasing it up the wall of their home. Luckily, the lizard escaped and remained safe on the ceiling until Tania and Tony got the cat out of the way.

They have now adopted him as a pet and named the insect-eating gecko Denis – after the island in the Indian Ocean where they honeymooned. He seems to be recovering from his ordeal and is settling into his new life in the UK.

Administrator Tanis, 28, from Bournemouth, Dorset, said: “We didn’t unpack for a couple of days, so Denis must have been in our luggage for nearly four days.”


The newspaper article is just the beginning. The story you write could go anywhere. It might be realistic or it might be fantasy. I suppose it could even turn into a horror story!

You could also change some of the details in the story to fit with your ideas. You, the writer, will decide.

Think about these questions:

  • What did the lizard look like?
  • How big was it?
  • How did it react to being transported from its home?
  • What was its reaction to the cat? Why?
  • What did the cat think of the lizard?
  • What are Tania and Tony like?
  • Are they happy? Why? Why not?
  • What effect has the lizard had on their lives?
  • What happened when Tania and Tony went back to work?
  • Does the story have a ‘happy’ ending?

When you have spent a bit of time thinking about these questions, you probably need to decide whose point of view the story is from. That means, who is telling the story. Is there a narrator? Is it one of the people? Is it the lizard? Is it the cat?

This decision will affect how your story is written. Is it in first person or third person, or rather, ‘I’ or ‘he’/’she’?

You probably also need to think about whether you are going to give the lizard (or the cat) human qualities and even voices. If you do this, you will be using a creative writing technique called personification. This can be an entertaining way of telling a story about animals because it can help your readers to engage with the characters in your story.

Word count and process

The newspaper article is 133 words long. You could use some, or even all, of these words. It’s really up to you, but I think you could at least try and double the word count. That would mean you are aiming for just under 300 words. Of course, your story could easily be longer than that. It’s up to you … and your imagination!

The process should probably go something like this:

  • Read the newspaper article and then spend some time thinking about the questions in the guide section of this session. Get a good idea at this stage about what is going to happen in your story. You should try and be clear about how it will end. You could make notes to help you with this.
  • Use your notes to write the story in full sentences and paragraphs.
  • When you have done this, spend time proof-reading for any spelling, punctuation and grammar problems and check it makes sense. Make sure you would be happy for other people to read it.
  • Leave it for a while and then come back and edit it one more time. You might want to add or take out some details at this stage, but hopefully you won’t need to make any massive changes to your plot because your ideas and your notes at the beginning of the process were good.

What next?

cat on the luggage

If you feel like it, or if you want some ideas about how you can develop what you have written, you could share it by sending it to The Safe House at:

Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!

A Kid’s Story.

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

This session is based on:

A Kid’s Story?

A Kids’ Story?

Our Kid’s Story?

Ah, Kids’ Story.

Kids, the Story.

Ah! Kid’s Story.

Well, a Kid’s Story.

owl talonsYup yup…


Think of a time when you were nine

You were scared. A bully, a beast?

A dream, a reality?


Me and Isaac, and Yvette and Fin and Becky, did a Flash Fiction Writing Session a while ago. It was about a boy who got scared in a hotel room in Paris.

This is Isaac’s story:


I was nine, nearly ten, in a hotel room at night in America. I was scared. I was scared because of noises.  The next day I saw an owl sitting on the window sill. I said ‘Oh! Thank God’.


This piece is written in the first person. It makes us wonder how much of it is autobiographical.

You could write a piece in the first person like this or you could write it in the third person. That way you could create writing that gives the point of view of another person. It could be a real person or a fictional person. As the writer, you get to decide.

owl faceBut, be sure to remember:

  • Get it done and then work on the detail.
  • Re-read, re-read, re-read.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar are crucial.

Word count and process

Isaac’s Owl Story is 39 words long. We think that’s spot on and reckon a 30 to 60 word target might be good.

Later, you could make it rhyme and turn it into poetry.

You could spend forever just working on a sentence or two. It could be interesting.

Look for other Sessions from The Safe House on ways to edit and proofread your writing.

What next?

Send it to us at:

Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!

2. A Walk In The Park

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

struggle to sketch the flow

OK, so this session is all about going inside your mind. The stimulus will be a few simple prompts which may, or may not, be linked. You then go inside your head and imagine the scenario. The aim is to try and get a rhythm going and to get words down. For this reason, you should try to be aware of time as much as you can.

Later, you could look at other Flash Fiction Writing Sessions for ways in which you could put your writing from these prompts together to work on a piece of narrative writing.

We are talking about descriptive writing here so you have to create lots of images of random things like size, physical appearance, colour, texture, smell (!).  Sometimes you might think about describing emotions as well.

If you’re going to write in the third person, you’ll have to use your imagination and think about how your character will perceive the surroundings.

Maybe you could refer to the Flash Fiction Writing Session, Elsie Ethel Court, and describe your surroundings from the point of view of the person you wrote about for this session. You  could also try and use the prompts to help you to imagine how Elsie would have perceived the scenario(s).


Write either notes or full sentences in response to 8 short prompts.

nb: You need to decide whether your character is you or somebody else before you start writing your responses to the prompts!


  1. You are in a park. Describe the park.
  2. You are standing on a path in the park. Describe the path.
  3. You walk along the path. You see animals. Describe the animals. Do they notice you?
  4. You continue along the path and you see, on the floor, a key. Describe the key. Do you pick the key up and take it with you or do you leave the key where it is?
  5. Either way, you continue walking along the path. You come across an obstacle. Something is in your way on the path. What is it? Describe the obstacle. Is it easy or difficult to get past?
  6. Somehow, maybe easily, maybe with great difficulty, you get around or under, or over or through the obstacle and you continue along the path. Somewhere in sight, there is water. Describe the water.
  7. You continue along the path and, in the distance, you see a building. Maybe a house, but not necessarily a house. It’s a building. Describe the building.
  8. You walk along the path to the building. You go inside and sit down. Describe the scene.


Like I said, this is about using your imagination, but it’s a good idea to try and harness your imagination just enough so that you can get it down. That means you need a decent place to sit where you can produce words.

Then, you need to have some kind of way of measuring time because there are a total of 8 prompts and you could easily get a bit disoriented, if you don’t have some kind of structure to the task you are about to engage in.

Think about adjectives, obviously, colours, of course, but also about the senses. Although you probably shouldn’t get too obsessed with what everything smells like! Unless … Well, you need to not get too bogged down. Keep your mind moving and get words down as quickly as you can.

Don’t worry too much about telling a story.

Other Flash Fiction Writing Sessions can help you make what you create here fit into a narrative. Now is the time for sights, sounds and all the rest. Straight out of your head and into written words.

Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Keep to the time scale described below as much as you can so that things stay quite spontaneous.
  • If you save what you write, you can edit and change stuff easily.
  • If you want to go more slowly, you can adjust the times, of course.
  • You could even get someone you know who can get words down quickly to do the note taking for you and then you can write it up in your own time later. ; )

nb: Look for other Safe House Sessions for ways to proof read and edit your writing.

Word count and process

Don’t worry about word count, but for this session the process should take you about 20 minutes once you’re settled and ready to start.

Have 2 minutes thinking and writing time for each prompt. That makes 16 minutes in total. You could quite easily spend longer, I guess. Or less, I suppose. But this would be my recommendation.

If you give yourself 20 seconds to think before you write anything for each prompt,that would make another 1 minute and 40 seconds. If you keep going that is just under 20 minutes creating and writing time.

Spend another couple of minutes reading what you’ve written and making sure you will be able to understand it later.

Put the pen down. Sit back. Relax. Phew!

What next?

If you feel confident, you can take your notes and you can spend time to put them together into a narrative. Here you need to think about time and tense in order to construct your sentences so that they have proper meaning for your reader. Narratives are often constructed in the past tense. But:

‘Time is the Avenger. Never the Stranger.’

So concentrate when you’re at it and read your stuff loads while you’re writing it.

Look for other  Safe House Sessions for ways to work with time.

If you feel like it, or if you want some ideas about how you can develop what you have written, you could share it by sending it to The Safe House at:

Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!