Sunday Writers’ Club Blog

Stories and more from Sunday Writers’ Club members

The Favour by Nathalie Zani

The Favour by Nathalie Zani

Mia shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she watched her grandmother eat her noodles with a pair of knitting needles. Mia’s grandmother Elena had always been a little bit…well…eccentric.

“Mia, my love, eat your food before it gets cold. And stop being so anxious. No one but you cares what I’m using to eat.”

Mia wasn’t quite sure that was true.

The four teenage girls at the next table had made a valiant effort not to giggle when Elena handed the shocked waiter back the wooden chopsticks and pulled out a ball of yarn with two needles stuck in it, affirming, “Don’t worry, young man, I brought my own.” The waiter looked at Mia, as if expecting her to intervene. But Mia knew there was no arguing with her grandmother; so, blushing furiously, she looked down and began eating.

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Looking back on a short fiction workshop by Jasmine Fassl

Looking back on a short fiction workshop by Jasmine Fassl

We love workshops at Sunday Writers’ Club. We only organise two or three every year – not very many – so when they do come around, they feel pretty special.

Our autumn 2022 workshop was led by author and professor of creative writing Jenn Ashworth. Jenn was a guest for our Meet the Professionals programme back in April, and we enjoyed her thoughts and comments so much that we invited her back. And we are mighty glad we did!

What did you give away when you last moved? by Mihaela Tsoneva

What did you give away when you last moved? by Mihaela Tsoneva

I’ve always dreamt of living abroad. My country as a whole has a strange case of low self-esteem, and people put life in other countries on a pedestal. So naturally, I’ve always dreamt of living abroad, in another bigger, better country. My excitement before coming to Austria was unmatched. I counted the days and couldn’t wait to pack my bags and leave my cold apartment with the annoying landlord.

Sunset by Paul Malone

Sunset by Paul Malone

Creative writing prompts can be used in so many ways. A prompt might be the inspiration behind a story, a poem, a song. I recently used a Sunday Writers’ Club prompt to explore my middle-grade novel in progress. By the end of the creative writing session I’d discovered more about a couple of the characters and their storyworld. “Sunset” is posted below, and I’ve provided a few of my writing insights at the end of the story.

Hiraeth by Connie Phlipot

Hiraeth by Connie Phlipot

Anneli fidgeted on the slippery faux leather seat. The man next to her frowned when she muttered an insincere “sorry” for bumping his knee. The train slowed —the route was single-tracked here, it had been that way forever — shuffling through the spindly-treed forest. She opened her book, a thick novel by a distinguished author, a Nobel Prize winner in fact, that she had been saving for this long journey.

Making Time to Write by Jen Cornick

Making Time to Write by Jen Cornick

September is here! Which means lives are busy. As school starts and workplaces come back from vacation slow-downs, writers struggle increasingly to find the time to sit down and write. Busy lives mean busy days filled with school pick-ups, grocery lists, and the dreaded weeknight dinner question. And then when it is all over, when the work is done and the house is finally quiet, exhaustion settles in. Making a streaming service and the sofa the most amazing plan in the world.

Why Write? by Keith Gray

Why Write? by Keith Gray

We’re writers because we write. That’s the only qualification you need to be a writer: writing. Not all of us will be published. But that should never be the one and only end goal for a writer.
For better or worse we all crave legitimacy in whatever we endeavour to do. We feel the need for validation and hunger after the sound of applause. And as a writer there’s an unfortunate idea that we don’t deserve any of it until we are published. Publication is seen as proof of ability and identification of talent – the be-all and the end-all of the writing process. This way of thinking can unfortunately lead to a slippery, spiralling hole of inevitable disappointment. Even if we don’t have Penguin or Beltz & Gelberg knocking down our doors, creative writing has so much joy and pleasure to offer us, the writers.
Let’s have a think about the reasons why we write.

Fractal Shade by Connie Phlipot

Fractal Shade by Connie Phlipot

Amoeba-shaped patterns slipped and fluttered across the sand, imperfect reflections of the trees above the cliffs. I skipped from one blotchy shadow to another, not looking back at the people whose company I had left. It had been a good reunion, trading the usual news of jobs, families, trips. I laughed at the reported antics of a new puppy, oohed at photos of a recently born niece, sighed at a parent’s death.

Fairy in a Jar by Jan McLeod

Fairy in a Jar by Jan McLeod

He was a wild child always running around making mischief, climbing things that shouldn’t be climbed, picking up things that had no right to be picked up.

He once brought home a mouse that had a very definite claw mark across its back. I had to pretend to nurse it back to life, while actually watching it take its last breath. Luckily, he was at school when the poor thing, despite all the cheese and milk I could feed it, popped his final little clogs.

The Forgotten Phone by Caroline Stevenson

The Forgotten Phone by Caroline Stevenson

I am a free spirit, on condition that I always have my Handy, my mobile, my cell phone ̶ or however you prefer to call it ̶ within reach.
I can let my hair down and be spontaneous, provided I can plan my spontaneity to the degree which assures that my spontaneousness is going to result in something rewarding, like checking out a beautiful part of the Austrian landscape I’ve never seen before, instead of whiling away a Sunday abandoned at a remote train station with no lunch because I never thought to check on rail replacement works

Retreat Redux by Jennifer Cornick

Retreat Redux by Jennifer Cornick

Two hours away from Vienna a lonely castle stands on a granite hill top surrounded by quiet forests. The floors creak under foot, the wind howls outside the windows, and at night the cold creeps up from the damp dungeons. But luckily the sun was shining 90% of the time and for a few days, for 16 lucky writers, this was home.

Sunday Writers’ Club held our first ever retreat last weekend. For four days and three nights we got to experience life in Burg Rappottenstein, a fortress that has never once been conquered. We wrote stories, attended workshops, and played a card game or two. Some of us were even productive.  

April 2022 Podcast: The Soup by Sarah Roos-Essl

April 2022 Podcast: The Soup by Sarah Roos-Essl

Join us for our latest podcast where Sunday Writers’ Club member Sarah Roos-Essl reads an excerpt titled The Soup from her memoir in progress. And we chat with Sarah about moving to Austria, the joys of shopping at farmers markets, the benefits of wholesome home-cooked soup, and of course about her writing.

I Know Spring Has Arrived When… By Caroline Stevenson

I Know Spring Has Arrived When… By Caroline Stevenson

I know spring has arrived when my furriest coat is banished to the wardrobe. It can go find the winterland of Narnia and have adventures without me for all I care – I do not want to see it, let alone be enveloped in it, for another 9 months minimum. And even if the weather gods play an April Fool and send the temperatures plunging again, I will pack as many layers under my spring coat as necessary, just do whatever I can to convince myself that now spring has arrived, we will have an agreeable outdoor temperature and I won’t find myself shivering at a bus stop.

Ceramic Tiger, Driving Rain by Connie Phlipot

Ceramic Tiger, Driving Rain by Connie Phlipot

Back in the day, I mean really back, the map of Europe was divided into a few big swatches of colors. These huge pieces of land were empires, ruled by kaisers or tsars or kings — who amassed fortunes by pillaging other civilizations. They competed with each other in the ostentatiousness display of these fortunes.

March 2022 Podcast: A Neighbourly Favour by Patrizia Stiegler

March 2022 Podcast: A Neighbourly Favour by Patrizia Stiegler

On this month’s podcast we present the latest very funny short story titled “A Neighbourly Favour” by Sunday Writers’ Club member Patrizia Stiegler. Read on or listen in and find out for yourself why Lucile the hairdressing witch with a penchant for black cigarettes really is the perfect neighbour. And we chat with Patrizia about her short story, her writing, and her fascinating life as a stage manager in one of Vienna’s most prestigious theatres.

Firebrand by Connie Phlipot

Firebrand by Connie Phlipot

Paolina didn’t always feel like a peat fire was burning silently underneath her skin, waiting for the carelessly dropped match or cigarette butt to bring the flame to the surface. Sending her out into the street, to stand and shout in front of the Parliament or lead a picket line around the power plant.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by Brigid Whoriskey

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by Brigid Whoriskey

‘Are you sure Mum?’

‘Yip’

‘Absolutely sure?’

‘Yes, I’ve written it in my diary. It was in the last newsletter. Now hurry up and get dressed. You can wear anything you like – but not the joggers with the hole please’.

Ailis goes into her room with a slightly suspicious backward glance muttering

‘I better not be the only one in casual clothes, that’s all I’m saying’.

The Cormorants’ Danube Sojourn by Connie Phlipot

The Cormorants’ Danube Sojourn by Connie Phlipot

Igor stretched his black mantel of wing, sending droplets of sleet shimmering into the fog hovering over the canal. The others turned their haughty beaks toward him, then resumed watching the lazy dingy ducks letting the current carry them down stream. They were the four cormorants, like heads of Vishegrad states, settling for the winter neither in the sunny south nor the frigid north, but in the damp, chilly Danube basin.

Apricity by Sarah Roos-Essl

Apricity by Sarah Roos-Essl

(Then)

With few exceptions, 365 days a year, there was warm sun by noon and a bone-chilling fog whisked in by dinner time. Temperatures stayed between 13-18*C, day and night, July, December, no matter. The landscape was almost always dotted with orange poppies, the ocean always that same slate blue. I frequently asked myself, “Did that thing happen in February? Or August?” Photos didn’t help.

Christmas Story Share 2021 Part 2

Christmas Story Share 2021 Part 2

With so many Sunday Writers’ Club members contributing wonderful stories to the Christmas Story Story Share, we’ve created a 2nd post here with all new stories.
 
The holidays are a time for sharing and Sunday Writers’ Club got into the spirit of it. Our story share this year was about the unexpected, from visitors to gifts.  And our writers sent some amazing stories, through the post, to friends near and far to celebrate the season.  We thought we would share a few with you as the holidays wind down, hoping you can keep some of the spirit of sharing with you as we “slide into the new year”, as the Viennese would say.

How the right mindset can fuel your writing     by Brigid Whorisky

How the right mindset can fuel your writing by Brigid Whorisky

Brigid Whoriskey is as an executive coach who specialises in helping business leaders take control of their future roadmap by setting clear goals for themselves. She is also one of the most popular, enthusiastic and supportive members of SWC. She will be running a ‘Growth Mindset Workshop for Writers’ in the New Year and has written this blog as an introduction and taster to how she can help you and your writing.

Christmas Story Share 2021

Christmas Story Share 2021

The holidays are a time for sharing and Sunday Writers’ Club got into the spirit of it. Our story share this year was about the unexpected, from visitors to gifts. And our writers sent some amazing stories, through the post, to friends near and far to celebrate the season. We thought we would share a few with you as the holidays wind down, hoping you can keep some of the spirit of sharing with you as we “slide into the new year”, as the Viennese would say.

How 2021 became the Year of Writing Reslilience

How 2021 became the Year of Writing Reslilience

If anything, 2021 has shown us all what can become of those best laid plans: From one lockdown to the next, Sunday Writers’ Club has had to adapt—moving live creative writing sessions online, workshops and other club events too. Many of us have missed meeting up in a Vienna cafe on a Sunday morning to write and share our stories. Good friendships have been formed around those coffee tables. Some fine coffee and delicious breakfasts have been polished off too.

Hidden Presents by Janice Cutting

Hidden Presents by Janice Cutting

I still believed when my brother pushed me into the cupboard at the back of Mum’s bedroom with a panto laugh.

Christmas was my most favourite time of year and I loved seeing the first signs of it slowly emerging into my 6 year old world.

The first sign was the earlier arrival, each day of the dark cloak of night, laid across the trees outside my window and tucked in around the pavements and streets. The yellow street lamps turning everything into golden optimistic light.

A Christmas Mission by Caroline Stevenson

A Christmas Mission by Caroline Stevenson

In the spirit of the festive season, we’re excited to present the latest short story by Caroline Stevenson. With a truly unique perspective and filled with good humour, A Christmas Mission was written during the final SWC Sunday creative writing session for 2021. We hope you enjoy reading Caroline’s story and feel inspired to get out and play in the snow or go shake your snow globe.

How the right mindset can fuel your writing     by Brigid Whorisky

How the right mindset can fuel your writing by Brigid Whorisky

Brigid Whoriskey is as an executive coach who specialises in helping business leaders take control of their future roadmap by setting clear goals for themselves. She is also one of the most popular, enthusiastic and supportive members of SWC. She will be running a ‘Growth Mindset Workshop for Writers’ in the New Year and has written this blog as an introduction and taster to how she can help you and your writing.

How to Start a Story by Jennifer Cornick

How to Start a Story by Jennifer Cornick

We’ve all been there, staring at a blank page wondering how to start the story that crept up on us in the middle of the night. The cursor blinking back at you, words refusing to appear on the screen. Or sitting in a café, staring at the cleanest page in your notebook, the pen categorically rejecting your attempts at telekinesis.

Syzygy by Connie Phlipot

Syzygy by Connie Phlipot

Tap, tap, tap, click. I heard the footsteps leading into the park before I could see her stiletto heeled boots tightly molded over the swell of her calves. My trainers barely whispered as I followed her. I stopped and pulled my ski cap low over my brow as I passed her, then sat down on a bench to wait.
She tugged her short, pencil skirt down over her rump with one hand, then tossed her head, flinging orange-tinged blonde hair. The flounced edge of her bra peered over the low-cut blouse.
“Hello!” I stood up from the bench and reach out toward her. She shrunk back a step, then stopped.

Sunday Writers’ Club is now on Discord

Sunday Writers’ Club is now on Discord

Sunday Writers’ Club wanted to build a community of writers in Vienna. Our community of friendly local writers has grown to include writers from all over and it can be hard to stay in touch with friends across time zones. We wanted to make it a little easier to support each other from Sunday to Sunday, so we made a Discord community.

Triple Three by Janice Cutting

Triple Three by Janice Cutting

What better 3rd birthday present could the Sunday Writers’ Club hope for than a celebratory birthday story from one of our dearest members! Read Triple Three by Janice Cutting and you’ll feel as if your gliding freely across the ice.

Sunday Writers’ Club Autumn Programme 2021

Sunday Writers’ Club Autumn Programme 2021

We’re excited to announce the Sunday Writers’ Club Autumn Programme for 2021. It’s filled with inspiring writing events and activities.

You can find out more about the programme and download a PDF copy by reading on.

The Gate by Thomas C. Kim

The Gate by Thomas C. Kim

It was a summer when I first came to Burggarten in Vienna. It was an absolutely unplanned trip. Sometimes, I hit bottom. Very rare. But it happens. That was then. I wanted to run away from my daily routine because I hated to be in it.

Splatch by Jonathan Pickering

Splatch by Jonathan Pickering

Read the latest fantasy story by Sunday Writers’ Club member Jonathan Pickering based on the following prompt: Write a conversation between two spectators in the crowd at a football match (or other sporting event). Is their team winning? Give the reader a sense of the action on the pitch but maybe the conversation is about more than just the game…

Spectators by Connie Phlipot

Spectators by Connie Phlipot

Enjoy reading the latest short story one of Sunday Writers’ Club’s most prolific members – Connie Phlipot.

Inspired by the prompt:
Write a conversation between two spectators in the crowd at a football match (or other sporting event). Is their team winning? Give the reader a sense of the action on the pitch but maybe the conversation is about more than just the game…

Rakki’s Field Trip by Janice Cutting

Rakki’s Field Trip by Janice Cutting

This week we’re pleased to present the latest short story by Sunday Writers’ Club member Janice Cutting. This imaginative and thought-provoking story for young readers is inspired by two SWC prompts:

– Write about what “Climate Emergency” means to you – have you experienced it already? What are your thoughts about the future?
– UFO: The Pentagon is about to release a landmark report about UFOs. Ride the current wave of public intrigue and write a story featuring a UFO.

First Kiss by Tamara Raidt

First Kiss by Tamara Raidt

I didn’t like my first kiss:
this is the first thing I reminisce.
Strange how the intention (or here,
the non-intention), is stronger than
the kiss itself, than the taste,
than the impression, I guess
I wanted to impress him.

The Many Faces of Rain by Janice Cutting

The Many Faces of Rain by Janice Cutting

The month of May in Austria has been one of the coolest and wettest in decades. What better way to celebrate the blessing of rain in an ever-hotter world than to capture it’s feeling in a poem. We thank Scottish Sunday Writers’ Club member Janice Cutting for sharing her refreshing poem entitled The Many Faces of Rain with us all.

Zwerg, Spitz and Maus by Connie Phlipot

Zwerg, Spitz and Maus by Connie Phlipot

“I don’t like this name they call us. It’s derogatory on two counts.”
“How so?” asked Spitz.
“Pygmy denotes something inconsequential. And shrew is some nasty bitch in a boring Shakespeare play.”
“Zwerg, stop worrying and eat.”
“I just ate 10 ants and I’m bloated. I must weigh six grams by now.” Zwerg belched and toddled off to rest under a leaf.

Yes, You Can Finish Your Story

Yes, You Can Finish Your Story

If you enjoy creative writing but struggle to finish your story, then this article can help you. Rest assured you’re not alone – anyone who writes regularly is likely to have amassed pages of ideas, observations, the beginnings of stories, entire rough drafts even.

Song for Dolly by Tamara Raidt

Song for Dolly by Tamara Raidt

Enjoy Listening to Sunday Writers’ Club member Tamara Raidt and Julien sing “Song for Dolly” inspired by the prompt: Did you know Dolly Parton has recorded and released well over 900 songs? And she’s written thousands more! Now’s your chance to write her tribute song. You might use the title “Song for Dolly” or come up with your own title for a song about someone who loves and lives for music.

Treacle by Connie Phlipot

Treacle by Connie Phlipot

Enjoy reading “Treacle” by Sunday Writers’ Club member Connie Phlipot. Based on the story prompt: Write a story entitled “Treacle” where, ironically, the story’s pacing is quite the opposite – no backstory, no pondering protagonist, no narrator interjections – it howls along, leaving the reader gripped with anticipation to the big question: Why the hell is this story entitled “Treacle”?

HOW GOOD AM I LOOKING? A note on 1st person POV narration

HOW GOOD AM I LOOKING? A note on 1st person POV narration

This is a short extract taken from April 2021’s “Writers’ Lab” Masterclass. Every month award-winning author Keith Gray offers idiosyncratic advice and indispensable guidance on many different aspects of creative writing – perhaps how to build Suspense, maybe ideas for combining Words and Music in your stories or poems, and even why Literary Agent’s matter. The “Writers’ Lab” also includes imaginative writing tasks which challenge you to experiment with the way you write.

Change

Change

Dana wasn’t alone.

A whisper of warm air against his skin, the echo of an undefinable rasping against the wall. Sweat dripped down his side into the drawstring waistband of his pants. He got up from his knees — he’d been going through his morning exercise routine. He had devised it years ago to define and delimitate his days.

His Seventh Birthday

His Seventh Birthday

Ronan peered out at the coast rushing past the train window, the tide was steadily rolling in. He remembered a time before that, when the water had been his home. A time, when he had been a creature who moved through it, as if liquid himself, swooping down between the waves and coming to shore to play in the sunshine.

The Announcement

The Announcement

ALL BEARDS MUST BE SHAVED BY MIDNIGHT.

The priest launched into the sonorous voice reserved for incantations as he read the bold sign on the village hall. He spat. God had determined that holy men must have their faces covered.

“What if a woman were told to shave her head?” he thundered to the baroness, who had stepped out of her carriage to read it.

The Sleeping Elephant

The Sleeping Elephant

Marie sat on top of her favorite cliff by the seaside and looked out over the intensely turquoise and azure blue water. Wet mist crept over the nearby rock formations and kept the world at a distance. Moss in many different shades of green and ochre surrounded her and all she could hear was the meditative sound of waves breaking against the grey rocks countless feet below her.

A Note on Imagery

A Note on Imagery

This is a short extract taken from March 2021’s “Writers’ Lab” masterclass. Every month award-winning author Keith Gray offers idiosyncratic advice and indispensable guidance on many different aspects of creative writing – perhaps how to build Suspense, maybe ideas for combining Words and Music in your stories or poems, and even why Literary Agent’s matter. The “Writers’ Lab” also includes imaginative writing tasks which challenge you to experiment with the way you write.

The Ossuary

The Ossuary

Enjoy reading the latest creative writing by Sunday Writers’ Club member Caroline Stevenson.

Inspired by the following prompt: An ossuary is a box or building made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. Write a poem or a story about, or set within, an ossuary.

Good Things Come in Threes

Good Things Come in Threes

Good things often come in threes, stories included. So, this week we’re sharing three brand new stories from Sunday Writers’ Club members for your reading pleasure. As with all the creative writing on this blog, the stories are inspired by our unique Sunday writing prompts. A big thank you to Eleanor Keisman, Connie Phlipot, and Jonathon Pickering for their contributions.

An Anecdote About Agents

An Anecdote About Agents

It seems so unfair to shove a contract full of labyrinthine legalise in front of a novelist and expect them to understand it. They’ve probably just spent their whole day imagining haunted heroes, or at the very least trying to invent new metaphors for woolly gloves. And now they’re expected to sign away their beloved book, their rightful rights and their financial future to those ‘herein known as The Publisher’?

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Many thanks to Connie Phlipot for sharing her Ghost Town story based on the following SWC prompt: From Japan to Spain, regional populations are now dwindling; entire areas are returning to wilderness, leaving ghost towns visited only be packs of wolves, roaming bears, and the very occasional adventurers…like the character/s in your story. What happens when they make it into such a town just after sunset?

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