Writing exercise: 28/02/19

The exercise was to tell a well known news story, story or joke in the voice of one of the following:

A 7 year old irish peasant child in 1850

A celebrated Scottish poet in 1780

An imperial Concubian in the forbidden city of the Ming dynasty in 1450

A first year Brookes student in 2029

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which voice I chose!


Didja hear about Santa Claus? Didja? Didja hear the news? He’s not comin’ this year, that’s what Mammy says. She say’s Santa’s not comin’ to Ireland. I ask her why and she says he’s run out of toys, he’s got nuffin left, nuffin. So I ask her what happened to all the toys and she says, Jimmy you ask too many questions you do. Last year he got me a sword didja know? Not a real one, a wood one. He gave Matthew a whole tuppence the lucky bugger, Mammy says you only get money when yer old enough and I’m only 7 and half. Mammy asked me what I wanted for Christmas if Santa was gunna come. So I tell her I want a nice beef stew with plenty of carrots in. I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she says she wants a ticket to this place called Merica, lots of food there she says. So I changed me mind and said I wanted one of them tickets too, she says maybe if you pray hard enough, God’ll hear you and tell Santa to get us all tickets, she says.

I hope she’s wrong, about Santa Claus, I hope he does come. 

5:17 on a Friday

“And now for Sally with the traffic,”

“Thanks Johnny, and yes there is an awful lot of traffic building up on the A34, we’re getting reports of a fatal traffic collision involving a motorbike and lorry. Expect delays of up 2 hours as they’ve had to close one lane due to the debris. We’ll get back to you with more information on this when we can so stay tuned….


The black motorbike speeds up, indicates, changes lanes, speeds up again. Faster and faster the bike travels, 100 miles an hour, 105 miles an hour 110. Blue siren’s flash in the wing mirrors but the driver doesn’t slow down. Everything blurs. Road signs drag past, the driver catches a glance at the one sign that matters to him, Hospital: 2 miles.


Steve switched on his phone and the screen lit up, 30 missed calls, 5 voice messages, 15 texts and a Facebook message, all from Sarah. He put the phone away, he knew what was happening and where he needed to be, he just hoped that Sarah would forgive him. Steve started up his motorbike and drove off…


“We’re going to have to let you go Steve. You’re performance isn’t up to standard and we don’t have the budget to keep you on. I’m sorry Steve.”

“Please Mr Rodgers, I’ve just had to take out a second mortgage on the house and my wife…”

“I really am sorry Steve…”


“Can’t you call in sick?” Sarah asked one last time.

“You know I can’t Sarah, I’ve told you this, my very future at the company revolves around this meeting and Barry from HR reckons tells me they’re sizing me up for a managerial position!” Steve replied, trying to do up his tie while eating a hastily buttered slice of toast.

“She was due days ago Steve, I’m ready to pop at any second!”

“I’m just going to be gone for 5 hours, can’t you call up Karen to take you or something?” Steve zipped up his jacket and grabbed his suitcase before heading to the front door.

“She’s on holiday, don’t you remember anything? I have no family left, no friends, all I have is you Steve, please don’t walk out on me like this, I need you.”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Steve said and closed the front door on his pregnant wife.”

An Unwanted Encounter in an Elevator

“Hold the door!”

Lily made no attempt to stop the doors from closing. The Man however, made it just in time and stuck his size 12 boot into the closing gap at the last possible second.

“Close one eh lass?”

The Man chuckled to himself as he straightened his fedora and tucked his shirt deep into his waistband. He glanced over to the illuminated button on the panel.

“Number 13 eh? Unlucky for some that?”

The Man laughed to himself again as Lily said nothing, instead she reached for phone and pretended to text somebody.

“Lucky for you though it’s the same floor as me, which apartment are you? Oh let me guess number 3 right?”

Lily nodded.

“That’d make us neighbours then wouldn’t it?”

Lily nodded again, her eyes fixed to her phone screen. The lift slowed and came to a halt on the 7th floor, a cleaner entered the lift pushing a trolley.

“Oh don’t worry love, plenty of room for the three of us.”

The Man re-positioned himself much closer to Lily, trapping her in the corner of the lift with his bulk. His gut pushed against her and pressed her raised arms against her chest. The stench of his body odour crept up into her nostrils. They stood in silence, Lily heard the man take a deep inhalation. The lift stopped on the 8th floor and the cleaner left. The Man held his position for a moment too long and stepped back.

“Lovely perfume that one, Clare de Lune if I’m not mistaken?”

Lily pressed a button and the lift stopped. She got off, 3 floors too early but not a moment too soon.

Heart of Darkness

‘So I woke up cold again. Even with a nice puffy duvet and not one but two blankets, I was cold. Even though Bono had crept under the covers during the night, and even with our combined body heat, I was still flipping cold.

‘It’s funny really, Mum used to tell me that there are two kinds of people; hot and cold, and I was the cold sort. Milly the Snowman she had called me once. Milly the Snowman with her icy cold heart. Boy do I miss her.

‘It was still early, not really light yet, sun was just coming up but you know, once I’m awake there’s no way I’m getting back to sleep. Someone’s belly was grumbling loudly and to be honest, it was hard to tell if it was me or the dog.

‘We had croissants for breakfast, I’d actually managed to get them really cheap from Tesco just before they closed. It’s crazy, they bake all these nice bread and pastries in the morning and if they don’t sell it all by the end of the day, they slap a big yellow sticker on with a ridiculously low price and put it all on table that says “everything must go!” I’d got us some croissants, a sourdough bloomer and some fancy Danish thing for 52 pence, what a bargain eh?

‘So anyways, we were sat on this nice steel bench in the park eating these croissants and there was this woman walking down the path with a pram. She was wearing this posh long coat, it was all red with shiny silver buttons and the pram was like one of the old fashioned ones, vintage, lots of wires and a hard cold metal frame and it was all black too.

‘I wasn’t bothering her or anything, honestly I didn’t do or say anything to her at all. I had no intentions of doing anything to her or her baby. But she spat on me, as she strolled past in her fancy coat with her fancy pram, she spat on me and called me scum. It came as a right shock to me because like I said, I was just trying to sit there and enjoy a nice croissant with my dog.

‘I shouldn’t have done it, look right, I know that now but there was something about her that just made me so red hot angry, it’s not like I wasn’t provoked or anything. She didn’t get to treat me like that and get away with it scot-free, I deserve better than being spat on by some woman who’s probably only got such nice things because her husband is rich. I bet she hasn’t done a days work in her life.

‘So I did what anyone in my position would do and yeah, I’m not proud of it but she got what was coming to her. I think I must have knocked over the pram while I did it as well because next thing I knew, there was this ugly pink thing rolling around on the frosty pavement, wailing away. It was so loud, like a thousand crows all squawking at once and see here’s the thing about Bono right, he hates birds, like really really hates them. One time he spent a whole hour just barking at this tree that was full of them and they just sat there, high up in the branches, doing nothing like he was nothing to them.

‘That’s probably why he did what he did though, because of the bird thing I mean. I don’t think he meant to do it either though. he was just trying to protect me because that’s what I’ve trained him to do.’

‘Sorry Miss Maple, but can I just stop you there.’

Milly paused and glared across the table into the eyes of the detective inspector,

‘What is it exactly that you did to Mrs Cameron in the park?’

A slow smile formed it’s way across Milly the Snowman’s face.

Writing exercise: Writing dialogue

Brief: Write a scene in which there are two people. One person is highly sophisticated, posh and is in a position of power.

The other person is uneducated and has no power, they must try to convince the person in power to change their mind over something.

For added hilarity, swap the implied accents around. (So for example, the posh dialogue sounds common)


“Good Morning Mr Bland”

“Alright, who’s this then?”

It’s Mr Beaumont from the office,

“Ah yeah what’s the matter?

“What’s the matter is that you are not in work today Mr Bland.”

“Ah right yeah well you see…”

“This is your third transgression of the financial year and I’m certain that you are very well aware that 3 counts of violation against company protocol results in an automatic suspension. Are you not aware of this Mr Bland?”

“Now right look Mr Bowmont, I don’t know nothing about no “violations” but there’s a proper good explanation for why I ain’t in work today.”

“And that is?”

“It’s me dog Mr Bowmont, sir.”

“Well it weren’t feeling too well so I brung it to the vets and you’ll never guess what was wrong with it Mr Bowmont sir, you’re never gonna believe this.”

“Enlighten me.”

“Turns out my dog was proper pregnant and I mean like well proper, which is mental cos I never knew that my dog was even a girl dog, I thought she was a boy dog you see. I mean I guess that makes sense cos I always thought that he was just gay cos he was proper interested in my mate Stanley’s dog Ripper”

“Simply riveting story Mr Bland but I’m afraid that is not a legitimate excuse and I am going to have no choice but to let you go.”

“Aw please Mister Bowmont sir, you can’t fire me now, not now I’ve got puppies on the way.”

“Regardless of the fact I’m afraid that there is nothing more to be discussed, good day Mr Bland.”


A Sonnet

I, Angus Broadbent have written a Sonnet!

Here it is:

A Sonnet

When I think about writing a Sonnet, fourteen lines spring to mind
with ten syllables per line and a pentameter. Not forgetting four lines in
three sets, with rhyming couplets in a Shakespearean manner.
A single rhyming couplet at the end.
This is not like most sonnets, there will be no rhymes
here, no structure at all and there are certainly
no hidden messages that I have woven between the words,
A hidden treasure-trove for only the most educated to enjoy.
But it is a sonnet,
And I don’t care what you call it,
You can analyse it as much as you want
But when it comes down to it:
It’s my poem,
And I can call it whatever I damn well please.

By Angus Broadbent


I don’t think I’ve ever written poetry before, let alone a sonnet. Don’t expect me to write much more of these. However, if the general consensus is positive then maybe I will write some more poetry.


Homework for this weeks lecture: The Demon Parrot

“At the end of the road, turn left.”

“You heard the Sat Nav, Dafydd,” The Parrot chirped menacingly in his ear. Dafydd felt claws digging deeper into his left shoulder.

“Not much further now Dafydd, keep your eyes on the road, no funny business.”

The tighter the talons dug into his shoulder, the tighter Dafydd tightened his grip on the wheel. His knuckles whitened.

The traffic began to slow down, and the dark red Volvo Dafydd had been following in his Lorry all the way from Cardiff came to a halt in front. The tell-tale pulse of blue police lights flickered into view at the end of the road.

“Don’t tell them a fucking thing Dafydd or I’ll peck your fucking eyes out.” Blood trickled down Dafydd’s chest as the dark talons pierced his skin. The Parrot’s eyes glared red.

What was he supposed to tell them anyway? That he’d bought a parrot from some Gypsies as a late birthday present for his wife? That the parrot turned out to be possessed by a demon who was now manipulating him into releasing him from his mortal imprisonment? Fat chance they would believe a word of that.

Dafydd zipped his jacket up to hide the blood stains just as the Police Officer knocked on the window.

A writing exercise: Franz Kafka II

The task:

Write a passage in which somebody creeps up on someone else, as if you were describing a sequence of shots in an old silent movie.

The rain poured hard against the cobbled street, muffling my footsteps. But still, I held my breath. The moon lit up my path, a full moon that glinted down the narrow street.

He was stood beneath a lamp post, struggling to light his damp cigarette.

10 more steps and I would be upon him.

He resorted to lighting his cigarette beneath his long trench coat.

I drew my knife from under my coat, perfectly weighted, cold and hard.

His cigarette lighter flickered into life, reflecting off the puddles at my feet.

I heard him curse under his breath.

He discarded the damp cigarette and reached for a fresh one from his enameled cigarette container. He had misplaced the lighter and was now patting his body down, searching for it.

“Need a light?” I said as I stuck the knife between his ribs.

A writing exercise: Franz Kafka I

The task:

1) Write the opening of a piece in which a character awakes to find that something impossibly extraordinary has happened to them overnight – and then decides to go to work as normal. Your opening should contain redundant words it should also involve symbolic hints to the reader of psycho-sexual depths unknown to the protagonist.

Brian Presley woke to find his hands no longer fit his gloves and his feet no longer fit his boots. This is entirely due to the fact that while dreaming sweet dreams in bed, Brian had turned into a penguin. He slid out his bed on his oily belly and fetched his slippers, his webbed feet slipped out of them as he unsuccessfully secured them with his lack of toes. The clock on the wall read 10 o clock and he was late for work. No time for a shower, so he did his best to put on his shirt and trousers but alas, he could not keep his pants on. “To hell with this!” Brian shrieked as he waddled out of the bedroom and made for the stairs. Stairs become an awful lot more tricky when your legs are stumpy and feet are webbed, so Brian did what any penguin would do in this situation and slid down the banister on his belly, landing with a satisfying plop at the bottom of the stairs. “No time for toast this morning!” Brian squawked to no one at all, he did unfortunately have an ungodly craving for raw fish. Brian doubted his ability to reach the bus in time and so hopped his way towards the river Thames down the street, “Time to put these flippers to good use

!” he chirped. Brian slithered down the murky banks of the river and shot off to work like a bullet from a gun, he even managed to snag a few mouthfuls of fish on the way.