Wishful Winemaking

winemaking sWell, here we are at the letter ‘W’ in this current series of writing prompts and exercises. But what to do? Where to go? Why? When? Yes, I know. There are lots of ‘W’ words to choose from.

But here’s an alternative starter word for you: wine (but not whine!).

I have been making wine using some old recipes my late father left me. He won prizes for his homemade wine and it was one of his lasting passions. Ironically, I’m not much of a drinker, so the finished product, whoever made it, is wasted on me!

Still, I have all the equipment (some of the glass demi-johns I’m using are nearly as old as I am) and time on my hands, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve been poring over his hand-written recipes in a notebook that’s also nearly as old as me.

It set me thinking of how the process of winemaking is a bit like writing. For both pastimes, you have to have an eye for detail, be very patient and keep clear records. You also get to be quite creative in the winemaking process, mixing raw ingredients to produce a good final product. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, a bit like creative writing.

Using wine as your trigger, write a piece of flash fiction where there’s a bottle, a glass or a demi-john of homemade wine involved. It can be red or white wine, delicious or disgusting. Perhaps there are rival winemakers at war here? Or maybe there’s someone hellbent on stopping a consignment of wine getting to its destination? What about a party where homemade wine is laced with poison, or a laxative – or an aphrodisiac?

Remember to focus on the action, and keep your characters and descriptions to a minimum. Every word must count.

Start thinking of all the possibilities before you’ve sampled any wine!

If your flash fiction is 250 words, consider entering the Scottish Arts Club’s annual Flash Fiction Competition, which has a first prize of £2,000. Details here.

Only three more letters to go on our tour of the alphabet for weekly writing prompts. Call back next week for another one, they are posted at 5pm (Dublin time) every Wednesday. If you want to know more about why I do this, click here.

Meanwhile, catch up on what I’ve been doing lately, here and buy signed copies of my poetry books here.