Whee, a balloon

Far Off Blog

June 2013

A whole other kittle of fish

“But there’s always another story, there’s always another way to see the shape of things,” comments Ali Smith in her gorgeous not-quite-novel Artful. Stories, for us, are all about learning other ways to see the shape of things, whether we stand with Scout on the Radley porch or lose our way in Bloom’s Dublin.

So for this week’s writing prompt, we want you to imagine things from the perspective of the monster under your bed. Is he scared of the human above his bed?

A story never told (cc) Felipe Morin

Image (cc) Felipe Morin/ Flickr

Codfish not included.

What’s that you say? Don’t have enough time to write your planned masterpiece on the theme of Under the Bed before Sunday, you say? Worrying you won’t meet the deadline for Issue III of Far Off Places, you say? Feel like you need a bit more time, you say?

Well, don’t you worry, young fellow-me-lad, we’ve got just the tonic for you. Y’see, just for you, we’ll be extending the submissions deadline for Issue III until 14 July. That’s right, you’ve got a whole three weeks to make sure your protagonists find their (un)happily-ever-afters, to fight those comma splices to the death, and to sort out that pesky first sentence. There now, doesn’t that make you feel better?

Well, don’t just stand there like a codfish. Get writing!

Raawwwrrr! (Ahem.)

what if

“Natasha had always wondered what had happened to the old toys she left under her bed.”

That’s our writing prompt of the week, folks! Write a piece inspired by the picture, the subtitle or both - and don’t forget to send your wondrous words to submissions@faroffplaces.org before 30 June. Looking forward to it!

Image: (cc) @superamit/ Flickr

"Well, I can't make love to a bush!"

If you were paying attention (and we hope you were, because there’ll be a quiz at the end of the month), you’ll remember that not so long ago we announced we’d be bringing out podcasts of Far Off Places, starting with Issue II. Well, sirs and gentleladies, that day has come. We’re all kinds of ecstatic about this - we hope that the weekly podcasts of spoken whimsy will not only be enjoyed by our regular readers but by people who might not choose to pick up a literary magazine.

So whether you miss being read bedtime stories or want to read more but never seem to find the time, then this one’s for you. A weekly snatch of short stories and poetry to listen to while brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea. Nibble on them when you need a break, or gorge on them at a midnight feast. They will make you chortle, gasp and giggle. They might even make you smile.

Whet your appetite with our very first podcast: DJ Mac’s haunting short story At Yesnaby, read by Sian Fiddimore.

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

(Yes, we know we’re mixing classics.)

How to write your socks off. (And why.)

We love Garrison Keiller’s hilarious poem The Solo Sock. (Actually, we love Garrison Keiller full stop. And we love socks. So it’s a pretty awesome combination.) The poem ponders the eternal phenomenon of the disappearing sock, with mock-serious results:

About missing socks, we have very few facts.

Some say cats steal them to use for backpacks,

Or desperate Norwegians willing to risk

Prison to steal socks to make lutefisk.

But the robbery theories just don’t hold water:

Why would they take one and not take the odder?

In this week’s writing prompt, we thought we’d spare a thought for the sock left behind. After all, if, as Keiller claims, “half of all socks need to be individual”, what about the half that don’t?

Try writing a poem or a prose piece from the point of view of the sock that got left behind.

What dark deeds happened in the sock drawer to drive its missing partner away? Does the odd sock have its own quirky view on the joys of being single? Or has it decided to move on - what would a lonely hearts ad for a new partner look like?


Have some fun with this one, and let us know what you come up with! We’ll be waiting at our desks with impatience to read your words of whimsy, so send them along to submissions@faroffplaces.org.

Image: (cc) jek in the box/ flickr

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