The First Ever Annual Spirit Lights The Way Writer’s Desk Competition.

Contest Giveaway Rules:

1.  Write a short essay or poem (between 33 and 100 words) about your writing desk, your writing rituals, why you write, how you write, how you stop writing, or . . . surprise us with a tantalizing tidbit about your writing life.

2.  Illustrate your essay or poem with a photo, drawing, or other visual depiction of your favorite writing space.


Right, so I got something about the write rite wrong.  At some 350 words it is far too long to qualify.  I’m posting it anyway.


The Colonialist Writing Desk.

I write mainly at night in a plight of utter clutter.  It seems comforting rather than distracting.

 A cluttered writing desk.

First I need an idea of what I am writing – in this case the challenge essay.  Then I think of a character or place, like Sacha Nidgett or a house of ill repute.  Following up those ideas, I might consider that one of the ladies of the house will remark, ‘Every time he comes, I feel Sacha Nidgett.’ 

At that point I start wondering whether to develop the ‘come’ theme, but decide reluctantly that it would be unbecoming.  Instead I go on to mention that for some strange reason everyone who comes into contact with the hero is overwhelmed by convictions that they are being foolish. 

After that, I let the characters take it from there.  They do or say what they want to do or say, and it develops an intricate plot which may well include a claustrophobic mole (burrowing type, not skin blemish) and a villain called Flipped who has a fiendish plan to turn the world into a giant pancake.   Without syrup.

There will follow many misadventures, which I am skipping here because as I haven’t written them they haven’t happened.  However, the story will move on to a grand climax where Sasha burrows into the home of the villain with the help of the mole, who has overcome his phobia after being in contact with Sacha.  In the dark, Flipped mistakes Sasha for his girlfriend Corta Studd and embraces him.  At this point Flipped sees the error of his ways and abandons his villainy.   Corta falls for Sacha on sight and abandons Flipped.  She insists that when she and Sasha marry he should abandon his surname and adopt hers instead of the other way round.

And they all live happily ever after.  In an abandoned sort of way, of course.


This story is actually a very good illustration of my writing method, because it has evolved exactly as described, starting with the type and names and then collecting the other characters and events while I wrote it. 

© January 2013 Colonialist (WordPress)


About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Challenge, Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Humour, Language, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I had a smile on my face from the first sentence…love the photo…and I know you love books.:) Great entry…maybe Nancy will relent and give you a pass on the word count.:)


  2. arkenaten says:

    I cannot for the life of me remember what or when the spark occurred that set me upon the path to write any of my books,
    Music usually features somewhere in their composition and I have a habit of picking one or two CDs that are used as accompaniment during writing.
    While writing The Pourne Identity, I played an LP (scratches and all – it was like being in a fish n’ chip shop) called, The Picnic Suite, by Claude Bolling. The book had a sort of French background and this piece of music seemed perfect for some reason. I wore more grooves into the vinyl, I’m sure.
    When I wrote The Nine Amendments I had to listen to the Stones. Can’t explain it.

    My own desk is rather sparse, compared to yours, Mr. N.
    I cannot function if surrounded by too much ‘stuff’. I would feel like I was ‘burrowing’ in and out of of my work space! Though I have plenty of reference books readily at hand, but on bookshelves off to the side, Sometimes it is more relaxing and rewarding to browse an encyclopedia that surf Wiki.

    Oh, Happy New Year by the way.


    • colonialist says:

      Happy New Year back!
      Your workspace and inspirational accompaniments seems a great deal more sensible in every way than mine.


      • arkenaten says:

        Yeah? But when were ‘writing’ and ‘sensible’ , comfortable bedfellows?
        What seems sensible is probably quirky. I read that Stephen King wrote his most famous work while out of his head on drugs (coke?)

        Have you ever watched Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets?
        Superb comedy. Hilarious. He is a writer of woman’s romance and he has OCD.
        If you haven’t seen it there are a few sites where one can download it if you can;t find the DVD.
        I find this film incredibly inspirational.
        I reckon it’s time to reactivate The Ark…been in the doldrums long enough methinks…


  3. I love seeing where bloggers talk to each other from! Thanks for sharing your space with us Col.


  4. adeeyoyo says:

    Sorry, re how you write, thank you for giving us a glimpse into your brain. Nicely done. I love the way the characters actually write the story themselves!!!


  5. adeeyoyo says:

    I couldn’t work in such – not so much a ‘clutter’, but so ‘enclosed’, Col. My desk is also surrounded by a mess but a bit more sort of spread out, some stuff on top of the printer and more overflowing onto my bedside table! I would like it to be neat and tidy, but space is in short supply and it is home to me.


  6. cecilia says:

    I love how you play with words, juggling them and giving them new meanings.. very cool.. c


  7. So much better than sitting on the sofa with the laptop–my very exciting writing space! Your creative mind must also get a little cluttered at times? There are a lot of people, places, and plotlines swirling around in there! 🙂


  8. The Asian says:

    Into the mind of a writer we go… Is this going to be turned into your next best seller? 🙂


  9. This is going to be such a cool competition. It was lovely to see where you write, and hear the process, Col!


  10. melouisef says:

    Like that glass of wine


  11. 68ghia says:

    Now that is a cluttered workdesk!!!
    Me, I can’t stand sitting with my back to an open door or window – makes me feel very vulnerable and open to attack – not having eyes at the back of my head you see, so my writing desk is relatively empty save for speakers and laptop. But behind me…that’s another story!!!


  12. Pussycat44 says:

    Cool clutter! I would put the speakers somewhere else, though (if there’s space).
    Love the headphones over the telephone 😉


  13. Ruth2Day says:

    Wow, you have such a tiny desk! I like to flay my arms about and need space when I write. I think that’s why I tend to settle at the dining table or the kitchen counter – as you can tell I am a roaming writer.
    Quite impressed that you are prepared with your torch and glass of something 🙂


  14. Always entertaining you are!


  15. newsferret says:

    This surely had me chuckle at 4:15 this morning.


  16. Tokeloshe says:

    I’m glad you posted your non entry as I find it very interesting.
    I love your work-space!


  17. nrhatch says:

    This is the best “non entry” I’ve ever read, Col. Your essay reminds me a bit (a small amount, not the thing you put in a horse’s mouth) of one sentence from P.G. Wodehouse’s comment in The Writer’s Desk:

    I like to think of some scene, it doesn’t matter how crazy, and work backward and forward from it until eventually it becomes quite plausible and fits neatly into the story.


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