Monday 21 September 2020

A Book Club Guide for 140 x 140

I enjoy the challenge of writing with restrictions. The challenge here was to write 140 pieces of short prose each 140 words long. The prompt was the first picture I saw on Twitter each day.


If you have mobile devices with you and Twitter accounts have a look at that now.  What’s the first picture you see? Does that tell a story? 


Various themes emerge in my collection:

  • Anthropomorphism
  • Criminality
  • Finances
  • Loneliness
  • Relationships
  • Sexuality
  • Saving the planet
  • Technology,
  • The writer’s life
  • Weather

And many more.  Can you suggest another couple of themes that are used?  Is there a predominant one in the whole collection? Do you have a favourite theme? 



The collection was started on 13 May 2014 and completed 11 March 2017. Do the pieces change in tone during that that time? In which way?



I always try to give my story shape. Can you pick three stories and find the shape in them.

I start with a hook, then have three or so growing complexities until we reach a crisis point, a point of no return.  The gap between that forms the climax. So we get:


Growing complexities

  • I
  • 2
  • 3

Crisis point




What do you like?

Pick three stories that you like and say why you like them.


Find the story  

Can you find the story?

  1. A romance ends and roses are a comfort.
  2. School doesn’t seem like a good option but there’s a nice surprise waiting for Toby
  3. This item makes some males look like a particular animal
  4. Writing a CV requires a lot of energy
  5. Pink beads and pipes


  1. Homecoming 11 July 2014
  2. Breakfast Club 2 September 2014
  3. Owly Eyes 6 April  2105  
  4. Power Cut 3 December 2015
  5. Colours 23 October 016


What was the picture?

Pick five of the stories and suggest what might have been the picture that prompted them.  Can you draw or paint? Have a go at making a picture to go with one of the stories?


Have a go

Go back to Twitter. Can you write a story prompted by the first picture you see? Try to put a shape into it. Write for ten minutes and polish for ten minutes.  Can you make it exactly 140 words long?


Scavenger hunt

Who will be the first to find stories with the following items in them?

  1. A flat cap
  2. Trees
  3. Spectacles
  4. Time
  5. An inn
  6. Story
  7. Water
  8. Breakfast
  9. A sofa
  10. Cooking

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