Monday 17 July 2023: I wrote a ghost story

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

My body woke me up at 4am on Friday morning, complaining about the chocolate Munchies I’d had the night before. The dog woke me up at 5am, wanting to go out. The poet woke me up at 6am, thinking I was already awake and asking where the throat lozenges were. I lay awake until 7am, thrashing out the haunted house story inside my head. Another nightmare woke me up at 8am. And then I slept in!

By the time I’d had breakfast and reached my desk, the poet had already had one meeting and was in the middle of another. I wanted to outline the haunted house story while the idea was still fresh in my mind. But the poet was in another meeting and my keyboard is very loud and clacky. I unplugged it so I could at least type on the quiet laptop keyboard. And then the dog started whining.

It was pouring with rain, but I took him outside anyway, put him in his bike, and started to play fetch with him. Some dogs started shouting on the other side of the hedge, so he had to join in. And I sheltered under the fruit trees while he barked and barked and killed his toy. Every time I tried to go back inside, Rufus wanted to play some more.

When I was fed up of being outside when I should have been working, I pressed my nose against the office window and waited for the poet to give me the thumbs up that it was safe to go back indoors again. But the dog decided he wanted the poet to play with him then.

We finally got him back inside, out of his bike, and towel-dried. But as soon as I sat back down at my desk, he started to whine again. I checked him over, to make sure he wasn’t in any apparent pain, put him in his basket, and told him to go to sleep. Finally, he went back to sleep and I was able to return to my desk. (He has a basket in the office.)

I didn’t have a lot of time really because the poet’s band was playing an early gig in town and we had to be ready to go by 6:30pm. That meant I couldn’t sneak in any overtime. So I quickly finalised the outline for The Haunted House, hoping for an alternative title to present itself while I wrote it up, and exported it to Word.

This is the second story I composed straight to the screen last week, but it had to be 1,000 – 3,000 words. Somehow I knew it would run out at the top end of that range, and I wondered if I could also use the same story for my assignment, which needed to be 3,000 – 7,000 words. The poet was about to go into another meeting, but this time I got my earphones out and listened to loud and heavy rain. And I changed back to the clacky keyboard too.

As I started to write, I decided to make it the assignment full stop. I didn’t have time to write two 3,000-plus-words stories before the weekend, but I did want to submit my assignment. So the haunted house call for submission went by the wayside and I kept the title for the assignment. It wouldn’t have been polished enough to go to market, though, and the workshop leader does ask for a very first draft. At least I wrote something.

In fact, I wrote 3,912 words.

And then I had to get ready to go out.


Monkey Dust had a good gig Friday night and we slept in again on Saturday. When we got up, it was meal plan, shopping list and shopping. When we got home, I picked up the ghost story to read through. I remembered something about the course leader not liking children in danger and had to re-write it. Now it wasn’t going towards the contest, though, it meant I had a bit more room.

By the time I’d finished tweaking it, I’d added another 515 words. It had a new name too: The Old Annexe.


On Sunday we got up early because we had to go and get pet food and bird food, and I wanted another pop at finding a two-cup one-person teapot. This time we tried a garden centre, and I didn’t find just one, I found a choice! So I bought the matt black one. We went to the pet shop next, and then to the poet’s mother’s. Then we dropped the dog off at home and went in search of food as the poet didn’t feel like cooking.

We went to Pizza Express and actually had time for a pudding this time. When we got home, he watched the rest of the men’s final at Wimbledon while I made the screen changes to the short story. I was really tired, and the job dragged on. But I finished it, found another 223 words, bringing the final total to 4,650 words, and submitted it.


Today my fantasy thriller writing workshop starts. I’m certainly intrigued…

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