writing process

Pre* – Proofreading and Editing

The Safe House brings you Pre*, a proofreading and editing service that gives you more.

At Pre* we will help you:

  • obliterated parking sign close upcheck for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors and issues of sentence structure.
  • communicate your meaning and your voice to your audience.
  • get your message across clearly and accurately.
  • develop your writing, proofreading and editing skills.
  • make the most of your communication.

Pre* can help all sorts of writers with all sorts of writing. We will help you with:

  • assignments, essays, portfolios, dissertations.
  • job application forms, introduction letters personal statements and biographies.
  • flyers, leaflets, posters, business cards.
  • reports, e-mails, business and official letters.
  • blog posts, stories, poems.
  • long texts, short texts.
  • fiction or non-fiction.

italian dog logoIf you would like more information about Pre* – Proofreading and Editing at The Safe House, just fill in the form below and we will get back to you with details of this part of the work of The Safe House.


This IS The Safe House 

“We can take you to a better place.”

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The Flash Fiction Writing Sessions


The Flash Fiction Writing Sessions are for anybody to read and / or do. They can be done independently online or in structured group sessions delivered by The Safe House.

The sessions encourage structure and creativity in writing through presenting a stimulus and a guide on how to approach each specific writing task. Participants are encouraged to use each session to produce a short piece of creative writing.

For more information on the Flash Fiction Writing Sessions at The Safe House go here.

italian dog logoIf you are interested in participating in these sessions, either as an attendee or facilitator, or both (!), or if you would like to discuss developing your own Flash Fiction Writing sessions with us, just fill in the form below and we will get back to you with details of how to be involved in this part of the work of The Safe House.

This IS The Safe House 

“We can take you to a better place.”

Time is a Trick of the Mind

imageJack Kerouac’s list of stuff to do .. jUst cLicK tHe iMage.

kerouac list


Choose five of Jack Kerouac’s ‘new years Resolutions’ and use sequencers to create a narrative paragraph.

Creativity with regard to time frame and order of events is the way to engage your reader, for sure!

clock green

jUst cLicK tHe ClocK

Soup Like Windows

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

nb There are no images for this session. You need to create your own with words …

This session is about describing a scene. The stimulus is a descriptive passage from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, Love in the Time of Cholera. Marquez describes the room where the dead body of Dr. Juvenal Urbino’s friend, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, has been discovered.


Look at or imagine a scene and describe it in detail.


The stimulus is this paragraph from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

“He found the corpse covered with a blanket on the campaign cot where he had always slept, and beside it was a stool with the developing tray he had used to vaporize the poison. On the floor, tied to a leg of the cot, lay the body of a black Great Dane with a snow-white chest, and next to him were the crutches. At one window the splendour of dawn was just beginning to illuminate the stifling, crowded room that served as both bedroom and laboratory, but there was enough light for him to recognize at once the authority of death. The other windows, as well as every other chink of the room, were muffled with rags or sealed with black cardboard, which increased the oppressive heaviness. A counter was crammed with jars and bottles without labels and two crumbling pewter trays under an ordinary light bulb covered with red paper. The third tray, the one for the fixative solution, was next to the body. There were old magazines and newspapers everywhere, piles of negatives on glass plates, broken furniture, but everything was kept free of dust by a diligent hand.”


This is about using words to describe objects and their locations to create an image in the mind of the reader. Garcia Marquez describes the objects in the room where the body was found and is able to bring to our minds a strange, somehow exotic but gloomy room, disorganised and containing a mixture of very ordinary objects and unusual, specialist equipment that belonged to the person who used it. His language evokes an image in the reader and leaves an impression on us of who the dead man was.

Either choose a scene from memory, look at a photograph or describe what’s in front of you.

Write down the objects you can see, their shape, size, location. Choose adjectives to describe the objects and to convey the mood of the scene. Write these down too. You could build up a page of notes, listing objects, describing their locations and selecting adjectives to describe them.

Did you notice how Garcia Marquez tells us what time of day it is in the scene he creates for us? Decide what time of day it is in your scene and work out a way to use the objects to help you convey this to your readers.

Did you notice the first word of the passage by Garcia Marquez? It was the word ‘he’. So, the writer describes the scene from the point of view of a particular person. You could do the same. Think of a person or create a character and describe the scene from this person’s point of view.

Word count and process

The passage above is just under two hundred words long. You could aim for about the same with your own descriptive piece.

When you have created notes, and when you have decided on a character from whose perspective you are going to describe the scene, find a comfortable writing place and start fitting your notes into complete sentences.

Imagine your character looking at the scene and write about the sights as if his or her eyes are moving around, taking in everything that can be seen.

Take a moment. Read what you have written. Think of the words you have used. Are there other words you could use to say what you want? Change words, add words.

Take another moment. Do the same again. Then check your piece for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Does your description make sense?

Make sure you are happy for people to read your writing!

The length of the thinking and note-taking process depends on the complexity of the scene you are describing, of course. The writing of the piece should maybe take not more than around 15 minutes. You might do it more quickly.

The more you write, the longer you should probably take with proofreading and editing. At The Safe House, we often think that the proofreading and editing stage of the writing process can take longer than the initial writing. However long it takes, it is a vital part of the writing process if you are going to let other people read what you have written!

What next?

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!


Pre* – Proofreading and Editing

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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!