It’s not fiction

Most of my current writing is non-fiction with a strong focus on education. The two blog posts I publish each week generally address educational issues or share my thoughts about learning.

In my ongoing work-for-self I develop educational materials and resources for parents, teachers and children. Some of these are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and are listed on the Teaching and learning resources page of this blog.  My goal is to set up my own website on which all the resources I produce will be available.

During my work-for-pay hours I am also involved in writing resources for teachers. Most of my published material, listed on the Writing – interest and publications page, is also educational.

That is not to say that I am not interested in writing fiction. Over the years I have enjoyed writing in a variety of other genres including stories for children, short stories and poetry; and still do. They are just not my main focus at the moment. That may change in the future. Or it may not.

One opportunity for writing fiction that I am very much enjoying at the moment is the weekly 99 word flash fiction challenge  set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Initially my responses to Charli’s prompts were unsystematic. However it was not long before I was incorporating them into longer posts which maintained the educational focus of my blog. A recurrent theme is the importance for schooling to target the particular needs of individual children.

Soon a character emerged: Marnie — a young girl, from a dysfunctional family, for whom school would be a threatening and meaningless experience without the support of a passionate and caring teacher. Sometimes, as with this week’s, the prompt inspires immediately and I write a story in which I hope that the message is strong enough for it to stand alone, without the support of a lengthier post explaining my thinking background.

Here is this week’s response to Charlie’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about rare gems. I’d love to know how successful you think I have been.


glitch, trophy gem

glitch, trophy gem

Uncut gem

She examined the new arrival, assessing the possible effects of integration into the existing collective. Would the group be enhanced or would this newcomer disrupt the established harmony?

From every angle the edges were rough and uneven. The years of obvious neglect obscured the potential from any but a trained eye.

Fortunately her eyes were keen. A bit of encouragement here, a little adjustment there, an opportunity to sparkle and display unique and positive attributes.

She smiled. Experience had shown what could be achieved with a little polish and care.

“Welcome to our class, Marnie,” she said.


Thank you

Thank you for reading. I value your feedback. Please share your thoughts about this post and flash fiction story.

17 thoughts on “It’s not fiction

  1. Sarah

    What a great teacher, to immediately see Marnie’s rough edges as well as her potential!

    Look for Chelsea in my writing. She is an early elementary student with undiagnosed ADHD (and possibly other learning issues). I think you will enjoy the flash fiction about her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Sarah. I did see Chelsea in one of your recent pieces. I has happy to make her acquaintance and look forward to more encounters in the future.All the best for 2015, to both of you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Flashes Like Diamonds « Carrot Ranch Communications

  3. Charli Mills

    What an image of a teacher! The assessment is in her trained eye and insightful encouragement to bring out the quality that lies beneath the rough. This story has taken on such a rich potential as a vehicle to share the power of a teacher and the potential of a student in such a way that is engaging. It may change minds! That’s one of the attributes of fiction–the ability to imagine the importance and impact of education. You use it well to enhance your non-fiction writing. And yes, you did a splendid job of making it stand on it’s own, yet it is a lovely scene from a larger unfolding story! Rare gems–your characters and your passion for education!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Annecdotist

    This is lovely, Norah, and totally encapsulates what I understand, from your previous posts, to be your admirable attitude to teaching.
    I’ve enjoyed following Marnie as she has developed over the past months, as well as the posts that introduce her experience. It’s great that you’ve stuck your toe into the waters of fiction, even when your main writing interests lie elsewhere. Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing in all its forms as well as the passion for learning and education that underlies it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much Anne for the generosity of your support and encouragement. I did actually start off writing poetry (first item published was a poem) and I did a short story writing course in my mid-twenties. I really enjoyed writing that genre but haven’t done anything with it since. One day. 🙂


  5. TanGental

    Very good. And not a unicorn in sight. Interesting how an experienced teacher sees through the damage and then brings out the potential. Maybe a post there for those of us who just stand back and admire the skill.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. writersideup

    Beautiful metaphor in your writing about Marnie being an “uncut gem” 🙂 Love it!

    And writing all the nonfiction you do is helping a lot of people, I’m sure. You’re driven and productive in invaluable ways, Norah. It’s impossible not to admire what you put out into the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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