Sarah Ann Hall

Flash fiction, progress on WIPs, and the occasional excuse for not writing anything.

I’m useless

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Well, maybe that’s a bit strong, but I’m not finding it easy to juggle full-time work with writing.

There’s not much writing going on, but quite a bit of reading about writing on the train to work, and there’s been no blogging, as you’ll have noticed.

Instead of flogging myself and worrying about not keeping up, I’ve decided to not try for a while.

Hopefully I’ll return in 2016 refreshed and with a little more time.


Written by Sarah Ann

December 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 13/11/15 – Graveyard Reveries

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking here.


I’m not confident writing or critiquing humour so am putting this up and hoping for guidance.



PHOTO PROMPT – © J Hardy Carroll



Graveyard Reveries

(Genre: humour; 100-words)

It’s getting ridiculous. You give an inch and they take a mile. I’m not kidding. Once we were surrounded by nature and watched the seasons change. Now we’re crammed in liked sardines and the view’s as stimulating.

The last building’s foundations almost took my toes; Lottie lost an arm. Pity it wasn’t her head the way she goes on.

There’s not much peace and quiet in this garden of rest, for residents or visitors. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re concreted over soon in the name of progress. Or dug up. Who knows who we’ll mix with in an ossuary.



Friday Fictioneers

Written by Sarah Ann

November 13, 2015 at 6:19 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 6/11/15 – Moving On

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking here.

There is also a new subgroup for those wanting to receive constructive criticism. More info here.


Returning to full-time work has not been the success I’d hoped for in improving my time management and I’ve been lax with my reading, writing and commenting. Life does seem to have calmed down and I hope to be able to participate in Friday Fictioneers more regularly than of late, but then I’ve said that before.


PHOTO PROMPT - © Connie Gayer (Mrs. Russell)

PHOTO PROMPT – © Connie Gayer …(Mrs. Russell)


Moving On

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

There is nothing to keep her. The diggers have turned the earth. Sandstone ridges lie where the house once stood. The sparks of argument and fires of rage can burn no more.

Death brings quiet, not peace. Her father is murdered, the culprit – a poor employee driven to his wit’s end – imprisoned. To everyone around her, it’s over.

Isabella accepts the tired smiles of neighbours, the pats of their hand on hers, but wears a façade of resolution. The abused child died with her father. The woman who will be looks for another town, different people, to shape her anew.


Friday Fictioneers

Written by Sarah Ann

November 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

What to do?

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If you’ve been reading my posts over the last few weeks you’ll know I had a writing wobble over the summer. Life intervened to stop me writing and I didn’t fight against it. I went with the flow, and I didn’t miss it. By the end of the summer I was wondering, is writing really what I want to do? I find it difficult writing in a vacuum without feedback, so I started to think about courses and also attended a literary festival.

The literary festival was held mid-September at City Lit in London. It was small – it’s only in its second year – and focussed on Irish writers and writing. Poets and prose writers gave readings prior to brief question and answer sessions. I enjoyed the readings, and the poetry made so much more sense in the voice and with the inflection of its author, but the Q&As were most interesting. For me, I love to hear about process, the how and why, nuts and bolts of writing. And that’s what the Q&As gave to the audience. Once again I learnt that published, internationally recognised authors do things the same way the rest of us – some see pictures, some hear voices; setting can drive a story or develop from it. As with David Armstrong’s How Not to Write Fiction it was encouraging, even if it does raise the question, why not me?

What is it I am searching for? Feedback and how to get it. I am isolated on the writing group front – there aren’t any locally. There was one, but it’s defunct (its Facebook page hasn’t been updated for 18-months) so I thought about education – get on a course, speak to fellow students, receive feedback and constructive criticism from tutors. Again, there is nothing local, and I’d forgotten how expensive study has become. Still, at the end of September I attended Oxford University’s continuing education open-day to learn about their Master of Studies in Creative Writing. It sounded perfect, with residentials four weekends a year to fit around full-time work, to which I have just returned after a break of over ten years. But as it costs more than I’ll earn in the next two years, it is prohibitively expensive.

I need part-time, I need local. I feel distance learning won’t provide the input I desire and so I’m a little stuck on how to proceed. However, in the meantime I have undertaken to do the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction MOOC at to see if I can fit in online study with work. The suggested reading so far has been really interesting, the writing exercises thought-provoking and taxing. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but at least the learning resources will still be there on if I fall behind, and I am enjoying the challenge.

Written by Sarah Ann

October 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 9/10/15 – The Fun of the Fair

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.


I had wanted to write a nice little story about a little girl just having fun, but something intervened.

Also I’m late posting and will be late getting around to reading and commenting, for which I apologise in advance.





The Fun of the Fair

(Genre: general fiction/ misery lit; 100-words)

The air is so fresh, the sky so blue. Who knew flying could be so invigorating? Especially when Daddy insisted the race of Pegasus was a myth.

It is delicious to be outside and able to giggle after digesting all those books Daddy makes me read.

I hope he gets better at the hospital, but I’m enjoying staying with auntie Maisie and being what she calls a normal little girl. Daddy says normal is mediocre, but I like it. I’m looking forward to more days at the corrupting funfair. There’s nothing to be frightened of, despite what Daddy told me.


Friday Fictioneers

Written by Sarah Ann

October 11, 2015 at 8:31 pm

dVerse Haibun Monday 2 – Kahlil Gibran

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For dVerse’s second haibun Monday Björn and Hamish have chosen two quotes of Khalil Gibran as prompts to write to. I decided to go with the second, then the first, and think what I’ve ended up with could fit with either.


“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”




“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”




There are two women from the same town in Spain working in my London office. They didn’t know each other when growing up. In the UK the learnt they had acquaintances in common back home. Both are short, dark and wear their hair long. One is cuddly, the other svelte. With one I talk dance, food, family and not putting things off; with the other it’s paper jams in the printer.


for new discoveries

know which woman to befriend

she who lives and loves


Click here
 for more details of the haibun form.

Written by Sarah Ann

October 7, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Book review: “How Not to Write Fiction,” by David Armstrong

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Warning, this book is dangerous.

I don’t usually write book reviews, and I’m not sure this counts as one, but I do think more writers should read David Armstrong’s (2003) How Not to Write Fiction. I might be out of touch (it won’t be the first or last time) and perhaps the book is well known and much read. It should be. I found my copy in a charity shop over the summer when I was taking an unintentional rest from writing. The opening pages state, “If you’re thinking of becoming a writer, read it. If you’re still writing at the end of it, you’d better accept it: you’re probably a writer too!” (p. 3). I can’t say whether it was Armstrong’s witty prose, or the summer break that helped, but I am writing again after six-months of doing nothing.

Armstrong’s book doesn’t quite address its title. Instead it takes an A-Z approach, including advances, agents, editors, research, PLR, and explains these in terms of his own experiences. Armstrong wrote this book after publishing five novels. He describes the up and down, the emotional ride of broken promises, the crushing moment when the agent and publisher that had published his first four books decided to not take his fifth. The book doesn’t take a crowing, ‘here, look at me, do it my way,’ approach. Instead, it is measured, describing the real life experiences of a mid-list writer – Armstrong’s self-description.

It is a warm, informative, funny read. I want to encourage others to read it, and I’m going to look out for Armstrong’s fiction now I have been exposed to enticing snippets. But most of all, the book has made me feel I shouldn’t give up. I hadn’t written for so long and hadn’t missed it. I was beginning to wonder whether or not I was committed or needy enough. And that’s why I feel this book is dangerous, because at the end of reading it, I wasn’t ready to pack in writing for good. On the contrary, I picked up my pen.


David Armstrong. (2003) How Not to Write Fiction. Allison and Busby. ISBN 0 7490 0680 3

Written by Sarah Ann

October 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm

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