Three Pieces Of Fiction And Why They’re Important To Me

Blog, flash fiction

Since writing for Vocal+ I’ve written three pieces of flash fiction, each under 2000 words and inspired by separate word prompts. The process has ripped me out of writers block and put me back on the path of writing online again, and I’ve never had so much fun doing it. Instead of creating separate blog posts for each one and clogging your feeds with my ugly mug, I figured why not share with you the three stories all in one post, and give you a little excerpt and rundown of each one as I go! So here goes nothing.

Barnacle Clumpersnatch

This is by far my favourite piece of writing to date, telling the story of a man receiving a mysterious package. He is immediately whisked back into the memory of a time where he first met Danny, the son of the woman his father started dating. I leaned into this piece fully, with humour and characterisation, slowly revealing the difficulties of their history through dialogue and interaction. I’ve had nothing but amazing feedback on this one, and really hope you take the time to give it a read.

I examined the box before me in a trance, with the breath caught in my lungs. No return address. No label. No branding. Just a brown paper box with ‘BARNACLE CLUMPERSNATCH’ scrawled shakily in its center. My mouth dried up in the low hum of tense silence.

Those words… that name… The package could’ve only come from Danny. But why? And more to the point, how? I felt the colour drain from my skin.

Death By Chocolate

This piece was a response to Vocal’s ‘Death By Chocolate’ challenge, and had me feeling experimental. The story chronicles the morning of a rather depressed young insomniac being woken up on his birthday, and I really had a chance to play around with language techniques and humour. It’s a little Neil Gaiman in style, and I loved stepping outside of my norm in an attempt to emulate that. Where it truly crosses the boundary into experimentation is in its false endings. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll see when you get there. Some loved it, some didn’t, but the story itself was very much enjoyed and I had a blast writing it!

When Jonathan finally drifted off to sleep after hours of wrestling insomnia, the last thing he expected was to be awoken at 7am by his younger brother. 

BANG! BANG! BANG! Lurched him into a dizzy, semi-awake, consciousness, with panic and confusion dancing in his chest. In the exact same second the door swung open and the family burst into his room. “Get up! It’s your birthday!” They squealed in an imperfect unison. Or words to that effect… I’m paraphrasing, of course.

Cries Of The Barn Owl

This was the first piece of fiction I’d written in a long time, and it came in response to the Vocal prompt: Barn Owl. The piece is somber, reflective, and emotional, and I truly got to lean into the darker aspects of love and loss while stretching out my ‘descriptive muscles.’ Are those even a thing? I guess they are now.

Anyway… blowing the dust off my creative side felt good and got me right to where I am now, having already earned Top Story for Vocal and building a portfolio of over 10 pieces so far.

He watched as smoke twirled upward from the glowing tip of his cigarette, twisting and turning against the silhouette of tall chestnuts that lined the back of his garden. He filled his lungs with the rich, heavy warmth of tobacco and exhaled a large cloud, swallowing up the spiralling streams as they danced toward the night sky.

It was cold out. Ice had already claimed the decking beneath his feet, and the black felt-lining of the shed roof glistened in the blackness of night. Dense, entangled, branches glowed white against the fullness of the moon, and somewhere, shrouded in the shadows, the unmistakable call of a barn owl echoed out from beyond the tree line. 

Well there you have it! Of course I have written more than just fiction during my time on Vocal (which you can check out here) and am fully back in the world of content creation from here on out.

If you liked any or all of those stories above, let me know in the comments. Or, you know, if you hated them. You can tell me that too…

Now that that’s out the way, I solemnly swear to no longer inundate you with fresh posts after a year of radio-silence. I’ll update you on new posts as they become available, frequently update my on-site portfolio, and start building out my “To Himself” journal right here on WordPress. Damn it feels good to be back!

Now I’m gonna go make a cuppa, I’m exhausted…

York Castle Ruins

I’m Back For Good… And I’ve Been A Busy Bee!

News & Updates

It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged here, and there are so many overlapping reasons for that which makes going into it here feel a little too much like making excuses. What’s important is that I’m back on the map, and I’ve been making some pretty big changes, both in life and online.

First up, I’m building a portfolio of writing over at Vocal, which has been so fun to jump into. The site offers weekly and monthly challenges, small amounts of money per read, bonuses for hitting certain milestones and achievements, and the opportunity to receive tips from your audience. The Vocal Facebook communities are filled with a diverse range of writers, and the encouragement to write in topics and genres outside of my comfort zone has been great for countering my writers block. If this sounds like a win/win situation, you can create an account here.

I am coming back to blog on WordPress though. I’ve missed the community engagement, the conversations through comments, the connections that were built here… ugh, too much to mention in one quick post. Suffice it to say that I’m happy to be coming back aboard.

My Home Page now acts as a growing portfolio of work, which categorises my Vocal writing, offers a brief synopsis of what the post is about, and links over to the full piece. I hope you spend some time checking that out. I’ve already created some pretty decent fiction and lifestyle pieces. One piece (How To Make The Most Of Vocal) even made Top Story, and was consequently shared to their social media accounts, garnered almost one thousand views, and earned me $20 along the way!

On the blogging front, I’ll be creating a blog post for each of the pieces I’ve written over there (so you guys don’t miss out on the things you’re interested in) but also writing exclusive stuff for WordPress too. I have always been inspired by the work of Marcus Aurelius, and think I’m going to build myself a running journal of reflective thought and self-talk to share with all who are interested. It’s a straight-up rip off of Meditations, but instead of a kind and fair emperor of Rome, I’m a lazy and chronically fatigued parent with a proclivity for words, junk food, and sleep. I’m going to call it ‘To Himself,’ and as much as I get a little joy from mocking myself, it will be chock-full of personal lessons and inspirational little nuggets to remind myself of the finer things in life.

Besides that, I’ve been spending lots of time going on adventures and days out with the kids, and have been having tons of fun building out my instagram profile. If you love nature, self development, adventure, and exploration, you’ll love my account. Head over there and follow me for daily content. I have enough photos saved up for over a year, and post thoughtful captions to go with them!

IG @gdholdaway

Well, I’d say that’s enough of an explanation and re-introduction as we need for now, wouldn’t you? I hope to see you over at insta and Vocal, and if you have a spare few minutes, let me know what you’ve been up to while I’ve been away. Looking forward to getting involved with the community again!