Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Posts Tagged ‘learning

Learning Keeps You Young, or Busy – #amwriting

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I have realised this week that I am better at practical learning than book learning.

Readers of my Friday Fictioneer posts might know I recently started tap dancing. I didn’t dance as a child – I was too fat and my parents didn’t have the money to pay for lessons however much I pleaded to go to ballet classes with my best friend. Eighteen months ago I started Bollywood dancing and learnt that for year. It was lovely to move elegantly and learn more about Asian film music, but the classes ended.

I have always hankered to learn to tap, probably because of the noise and my imagining that it was easy to stamp around. It isn’t, and I am having to practise between lessons to keep up. I am a complete beginner compared to the others who are re-learning or have at least a term behind them. I am improving, but don’t imagine I will ever be fast enough. I have also taught myself basic crochet stitches and am about to attempt my first piece of clothing, albeit a relatively simple scarf.

However, my online Italian course, which I started last June, is languishing uncompleted. And I have pulled out of the writing MOOC I signed up to complete over the next 6-weeks because I don’t have the time to do it justice. The University of Iowa have run a number of writing MOOCs and I participated in How Writers Write Fiction 2014 and 2015, as well as How Writers Write Poetry 2014. They are professional and stretching courses, but post new classes on a Thursday and I am unable to keep up now work has become busier.

At tap, I have peers in front of whom I don’t wish to fail. With crochet I have physical evidence of my progress. However, with Italian there’s no one to practise with, and I’ve enough of my own writing to get on with without committing to more. So whether I’m better at the practical, or the things I enjoy most, is open to question.

How do people learn without peers, teachers, or projects to keep them on track?



Written by Sarah Ann

May 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

#amwriting – Agents, here I come.

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My novel to pitch is now with eight agents. While I hoped this would take a day, it took two, as submissions were adjusted to meet agency specific requirements. Some require a query letter instead of a cover letter and synopsis. Most want the first three chapters as attachments, although one preferred the first chapter pasted into the body of an email. And there are agents who want submissions via hardcopy only, which I will approach once I have a new toner cartridge for my printer.

I realise submitting to agents should be an ongoing process until I find representation. However, it has been an energy-sapping couple of days and I am looking forward to writing again without strictures.


Priorities for the next fortnight: edit and write short stories based on friend’s picture prompts; prepare more agent submissions.

Ongoing projects successfully met: novel has been submitted; Friday Fictioneer stories have been posted regularly; piano practice has taken place; crochet projects have been completed.

Ongoing projects partially met: blog posts about writing and progress have been sporadic; blog reading is improving.

Ongoing project fails: learning Italian has taken a back seat.



Written by Sarah Ann

April 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

#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

#FridayFictioneers – 28/11/14 – War’s End

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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.


It’s almost time for this Friday’s prompt I’m so late, but this story hasn’t left me alone, not that I think it works well enough. Some vital ingredient is missing.


Copyright- Randy Mazie

Copyright- Randy Mazie


War’s End

(Genre: Post-apocalyptic, 100-wods)

When the conflagration ended, one building remained untouched.

‘What’s in there?’ the boy asked.

‘Books full of learning; the key to building a better future.’

On the other side of the square a fired burned, men tore at spines, scattered pages.

‘What are they burning?’

‘Not all knowledge is good,’ the elder sighed. ‘We will never speak of what’s done. We must destroy all references to it so that those who come after cannot follow our example.’

The boy moved closer to the pyre, studied the partial titles: – Armaments, Modern Wa-

‘What is – ’

‘What you don’t know cannot hurt you.’


Friday Fictioneers


Written by Sarah Ann

December 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

#Trifecta: 114 – Satisfy – The King and His Peasant

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I thought and thought about this week’s Trifecta challenge, but didn’t get very far. Then this idea came from absolutely nowhere. I’m not happy with it, but with nothing else nudging my fingers toward the keyboard, this is it.


The prompt:

SATISFY  (transitive verb)
1a : to carry out the terms of (as a contract) : discharge
b : to meet a financial obligation to
2: to make reparation to (an injured party) : indemnify
3a : to make happy : please  

b : to gratify to the full : appease
4a : convince
b : to put an end to (doubt or uncertainty) : dispel
5a : to conform to (as specifications) : be adequate to (an end in view)


The rules:

• Your response must be exactly 33 words.

• You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

• The word itself needs to be included in your response.

• You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.




The King and His Peasant (33-words)

King and peasant share a prison cell.

‘How may I satisfy you, sire?’

‘Tell me your story.’


‘Speak! It’s too late for my neck, but I can still learn from my subjects.’




Written by Sarah Ann

March 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Creative writing

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been finishing off a personal statement for a job. This was a hypothetical job for teaching hourly sessions of jewellery-making at an adult education college, completed as part of my PTLLS course. I haven’t written a personal statement since I applied for university 20 years ago, and normally apply for jobs by completing an application form. With me not yet being a peripatetic teacher of jewellery, and only knowing so much about teaching theory and practice, the personal statement was a good exercise in creativity.

Writing a statement for a job I might or might not do was made tougher by the need to fulfil certain criteria. It wasn’t writing about my ‘knowledge and commitment to inclusive learning’ that was difficult, but keeping on message and sticking to one subject per box. Can resources and environment, motivating and engaging learners, and feedback and ground rules be separated and squeezed between the bars of a table? Do personal job statements usually include a reference section? As my study buddy said in her last email, it turned into a sort of waffling-essay-type-of-thing. At least my lesson plans were made up of bullet points and will hopefully balance out the never-ending paragraphs of the other.


Since writing the above, I’ve received feedback on my lesson plans and they were judged to be okay. The one thing my tutor suggested was that I made the learners do a bit more work – interactive learning is best.  Next week I will teach and receive feedback from my peers. Let’s hope we’re all not being too nice to each other. And once all my learning is over, I can get back to editing.

Written by Sarah Ann

September 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

The week started well….

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On the tube, first thing Monday morning, I was in the zone and editing well. And then I got to college and it’s been non-stop with other stuff ever since – meeting students and tutors, registering at the library, borrowing books, reading course handouts, interactive talks, brainstorming, listening, note-taking, reading library books, more note-taking and homework assignments. I know it’s an intensive course, but I’m knackered.

In a couple of months I will (hopefully) have a City and Guilds award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, which: “… covers the basics of teaching in continuing and adult education – including how to plan sessions, motivate learners and use a variety of assessment methods. It’s a first step towards official practitioner status – a full licence to teach in the lifelong learning sector.” (

It all sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? But I’m having so much fun! And I now know more about learning styles, the teaching cycle, meaningful learning, the feedback sandwich, and a bunch of new people.

In the meantime it’s continued to be wet in the southern part of the UK and the rain lashed countryside is collapsing under the weight of verdancy. Last week there were mowers out along our stretch of river that cut down the thigh-high vegetation. Immediately, all the snails and slugs disappeared. They reappeared in the evening, clustered on the abandoned stalks. This has carried on for days since.



Unfortunately, whenever we leave the boat now, we are continually apologising to the latest snail we have failed to miss with our wellies.

Written by Sarah Ann

July 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm

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