Monday, 29 August 2011

Number 27: the 100 word challenge

Writing and I have a strange relationship. I have been paid to string words together in a productive order for more than twenty years but I have never really owned any of the results.

I have developed a policy that on most occasions, I am the person that puts pen to paper for a first draft which gives everyone else a clearer idea of what they don't want, giving them hours of fun pulling it apart and putting in lots of bits that they never got round to mentioning in the original brief.

What goes into print is usually the result of a political editing job, rather than true writing.

I am now in a position where I can choose to write whatever I like but have found it almost impossible to know where to start. It turns out that I need the brief and the group of opinionated stakeholders.

It is without doubt easier when someone else gives you a starting point. I have just discovered the 100 Word Challenge, via the proofreader and wordsmith Louise Maskill, which looked like a challenge worth having a go at for a 52, even though the first 100 is always the hardest and usually comes with an exponentially larger volume of swearwords.

The latest challenge is to use three of the words ditched from the next edition of the COED: brabble, growlery and foozle. Great words all round. Here's my effort (in amateur, nonsense haiku - please be kind...):

Tall cliffs climb high
the path winding to the top.
Try not to foozle.

A brabble that turns
into a silly babble
wasn't important.

Lightly overcook;
stir late or sink in middle;
eat in growlery.

Do not go past go
do not get two hundred pounds
go to growlery.

Making a foozle
is the way to make sure you
are not asked again.

The tool kit opens
to show a wife-proof foozle.
Knife end turns the screw.

Better stop writing
before a brabble arrives.
Laptop snaps shut fast.


  1. Oh, lovely! These are wonderful - I particularly like the tool kit one. Well done!

  2. I enjoyed reading these and thought that the style of poem worked particularly well with these words. Great writing :)