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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Words on Wednesday: First Campaign Challenge and Tag!

Rachael has posted her first Writers' Campaign Challenge and this is it: a 200-word (or less) flash fiction beginning with "The door swung open". For a further challenge, you can write precisely 200 and end with "The door swung shut".

In for a penny, in for a pound! I've gone for the full set of challenges. Here is my first flash fiction piece:

Into the Otherworld
The door swung open and stayed open. Yes, she’d done it! One eye open, then the other. Yep, still there. The doorway that she’d seen a thousand times in her mind was shimmering in the air in front of her.
“Thanks be to thee, who hast shown me the way. I beg thy continued assistance as I journey into the Otherworld.”  She could hardly get the words out, but spirit guides can be dead funny if you don’t follow protocol.
She snuffed out the candles and stepped into the light. She didn’t know where to look first; everything was so bright. She rolled the air around her tongue – could it really have an actual taste? Sweet and rich at the same time. She closed her eyes to rest them for a moment. Probably mere human senses would get a bit overwhelmed here.
“You’ll adjust soon.”
She stared at the guide’s new appearance as he smiled at her. She hadn’t seen his teeth before. Well, apparently, she hadn’t seen him before.
“We don’t appear as ourselves in your world,” he explained. “You only see what you want to.”
She saw him clearly now. She turned back as the door swung shut.
Head over to Rachael's blog to read more of these and vote for your favourite!

I've been tagged by Maria on her blog, First Draft Cafe, and now I must share ten random facts about myself. Funnily enough, it's the start of term tomorrow and I've planning all those getting-to-know-you things like two truths and a lie, human bingo etc, so this feels very appropriate just now. 

  1. I teach English but my degree is in Modern Languages.
  2. I wear DMs to work (my excuse is that I have to walk to the bus stop and then to the station and then to college and my feet hurt if I wear actual shoes, but really I love my DMs).
  3. I used to play the flute and was in the county wind band and youth orchestra as a teenager.
  4. My eldest daughter will be 13 next month and I can't quite believe it :)
  5. I love cheese and chocolate (but not usually together).
  6. I'm a feminist and hate the negative reaction the label gets.
  7. The first teaching job I had was when I was only 18. I taught an evening class in conversational French in my year out between sixth form and uni. I was the youngest there!
  8. My first ever job was in a butcher's shop, washing up and cleaning the walk-in fridge walls. I still eat meat.
  9. I'm a list addict. I don't think I could function without Remember the Milk.
  10. I'm named after Beth in Little Women - Mum loved the name from reading that book as a kid.
Finally, I need to share the tagging. I think I've picked people who haven't already done this, but if not, don't worry, no-one expects you to do it twice! Here are some lovely people I've met through blogging:
You're it Kelley @ http://writtled.blogspot.com/ 


  1. Great entry Beth. I love how mysterious the other person is and would love to know what form he took in her eyes. Very intriguing!

  2. I've been tagged! lol. TY :) I'll have to post it tomorrow

    Also, I dug the line "but spirit guides can be dead funny if you don’t follow protocol." I lol-ed. Nice touch

  3. Beth,

    Love the air of mystery you've created in your flash fiction, but I want to know what happens next? :-)

    So glad I tagged you too, what fun it is getting to know more about each other.

  4. My oldest is turning 13 next month too! (Actually November) They grow up so fast, it's crazy. What's worse is he's almost as tall as I am! Ack!
    Thanks for the tag! I'll have to cook something up, since I'm #fail on the flash fiction.

  5. Fantastic story. Whoever that voice it, I like it. Spirit guides. Loving the paranormal angle.

    Great job, Beth! :)

  6. Great story - I loved that spirit protocol line too :)
    Feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything on the Campaign (argh!) but thanks for the tag and will try and come up with mine later today. Do I tag 5 other people afterwards?
    Great way of getting to know people :)

  7. I LOVE this entry. Favourite line: "spirit guides can be dead funny if you don’t follow protocol."

    I'm a fan!

  8. Nice job. I agree with Sarah. I read all the thy's and wondered then smiled when I read that next line.

  9. Thank you all for the lovely comments. I was really nervous posting it, but told myself that's what a challenge is for - to challenge you!

    And Claire, on the tagging thing, I've seen some people tag 4 others, so I don't think it's a hard and fast rule.

  10. I started work last week so I haven't had a minute to get to this challenge what with EVERYTHING else. And I've been tagged! Oh thank you.

  11. Nice work! I like the "oh, crap" moment at the end. Sometimes we have to be careful what we wish for!

    I'm glad you DID decide to post it. I had the same trepidation, as did many others who "rose to the challenge."

  12. It is / was a challenge just to hit "publish this post" on my blog. I'm with ya, there! Great job, love the spirit guide aspect of your story. And, I'm with the others, I enjoyed the "what now?" feeling I'm left with as the door swung shut. ~Candy

  13. "...spirit guides can be dead funny..." ha! Love that. I like the light feel of this one.

  14. I like it. (I hadn't written mine yet last night, so I couldn't read yours) but now I am really liking it. Will go over to Rach's and LIKE it.

  15. I like that spirit guides can be dead funny! Nice job. Mine is #72

  16. Wow, cool story! I love the transportation to the Otherworld! (My story has a similar use of the door - #262). Love your blog, will definitely be following :)

  17. Nice story. Sometimes I wish the air had a taste and sometimes I don't.

  18. Hi Beth,

    I'm really happy we have 'found' each other again through the Campaign!

    Like your flash piece, great idea to make it a doorway between the worlds.


  19. I'm impressed! Jerked me right out of my complacent stupor. Started with the word "teeth". Then the panic set in. Great piece.

  20. Full marks for originality. Liked the voice and the nice touches of humour. Very intriguing ending too - opens up lots of possibilities.

  21. Hi, Beth,

    There many fine descriptions in this entry. Well done. You made my top five. Congratulations. This is only the first step, but good luck in the rest of the challenge.

  22. Very interesting piece, and well done. I'm still working my way through the entries!!

    I had a muddied view of what "feminist" meant until I met a true feminist. Too bad it's the negative stereotype that people think of first.


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