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Short stories

Short stories

A Lunch Too Far

A simple anecdote of a story, intended for the women’s magazine market. I regret to say it was not accepted.

Bill Haley and the French Clock

There beside a pile of slightly chipped plates and a cruet set was Bill Haley. It was the first in a deep pile of old LPs stacked vertically in a cardboard box at the edge of the car boot sale table...

Cross Words

A story of 1,400 words about love lost and, perhaps, regained.

Curtain Call

A very short story of a teenage girl’s public humiliation with a guitar.

Dead Wrong

Here is a ghost story of 1,900 words. One has to suspend disbelief, sit back and enjoy the fantasy. At least, that’s the intention.


A very short story attempting a light touch to one of the consequences of 19th century colonialism. The story was published in the Mayfield and District U3A anthology celebrating its 10th anniversary.


A very short story describing one woman’s discovery of herself and the realisation that her marriage should never have begun.

From the Diary of Ruth Cowley

A story about the great plague that occurred in the 17th century.  It is told in the form of a diary written by a young girl. 1,300 words.

Given Time

A longer story of 4,500 words about the trials of being a fostered child and a foster parent. I have been neither so the detail is invented. To all those who have experience of either role, apologies for any errors.    


A story of 1,500 words about the complications of suicide particularly when two have the same intention at the same time and place. A piece of black humour perhaps


A story designed for the women’s magazine market. It was never submitted due to its length (2,500 words). Women’s magazines have very specific requirements as to length, style and content.

Harry's Bloomer

A story about a grumpy old man and his realisation that being difficult is not always a good idea. 1200 words.   

Imitating Katherine Walker

A writing competition some years ago, challenged competitors to complete a published first half of a story from one of a number of famous writers. I chose Alexi Sayle. Following my efforts, I lost Mr Sayle’s first half and had to write my own. This story is thus my own work but thanks is due to Alexi Sayle for the title and initial idea. 1,800 words.

Losing Time

A 1,000 word light hearted science fantasy.

Making Friends

This 1,000 word story is structured according to women’s magazine specifications and was published by one of the high street publications. It is one of my early attempts to write from the first person, female perspective. 

Martin's Boys

Another story written for the women’s magazine market. This 1,400 word piece concerns the frustration in bringing up two young boys. It is written from the first person, female perspective. 


Suppose someone you love is kidnapped but that someone is terminally ill. How much effort would you put into paying the ransom? And if you insist it would make no difference, what if the person kidnapped would rather die now than later in pain? 1,200 words.

No More Charlie Barnard

This is a story of 1,500 words about memories and how we live on in the minds of others. 

On Worms and Marigolds

A story of 1,800 words that reflects my last day at boarding school and provides a good indication of my unhappiness. 

Out of Acorns

A story of 1,300 words describing an old man’s need to be remembered after his death. I imagine it applies to us all.

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Red Cheeks

There was a fashion some years ago that allowed women to wear such skimpy clothing that their underwear was constantly on show. This story of 2,300 words attempts to understand the motives for doing so and the thoughts of those who noticed.

Rocket Salad

A story of 2,200 words examining the issues around disability and how we might, or should, deal with it. 

Silent Movies

A brief story that is told by implication. The main character, the father, never appears but he is, in effect, the point of the tale. 1,000 words.

Six to One

A story of 1,500 words that is, quite frankly, politically incorrect in today’s climate. But it describes the antics of university staff and students from past years. Some ideas have been influenced by the writings of Howard Jacobson. 

Small Change

A story of 1,500 words touching on life as a homeless young woman. The story was awarded 2nd prize at the Winchester Writers Conference 2001.

Supporting Rodney

This is a tale of friendship based on being supportive. But what happens if the support is no longer required? Which friend has the real need? 1,400 words.

The Collector

A science fantasy of 2,000 words

The Day of the Ironing Board

This story of 2,300 words is a reflection of my experience of Africa. I was supposed to live there as a partner for 2 years. I lasted 6 months. The story line is fictitious but it might as well have been true. 

The Gift

A mother who doesn’t understand the balance between giving and receiving.  1,200 words.

The Grave

A very brief tale that won first prize in a competition for a ghost story with a twist, run by a local newspaper. 800 words 

The Ottoman

1,100 word ghost story. 

The Piano Teacher

A reluctant boy gets out of his unloved piano lessons in a very surprising way. Does it count as good luck or bad luck? 1,500 words.  

The Rocking Horse

A ghost story of 1,500 words. 

The Short List

A brief 1,000 word, light hearted tale intended as a parody on the style of Howard Jacobson, Booker prize winner and one of my favourite authors. 

The Sugar Box

This 2,000 word story is based on the character of an eccentric elderly lady whom I knew some years ago. The plot line is entirely fictitious.  


A 2,000 word story about the notion of dying and being aware of it. Do the rules of ethics and morality change when you know you haven’t got much time left? Do you need to be alive to experience the consequences for social rules to matter?

Top-drawer Friends

A simple 1000 word story in ‘women’s magazine’ style. The story line, involving disablement, would not be acceptable however.   


A story of 1,300 words describing the ease with which a woman can twist a man round her proverbial finger if she has a mind to.  

Warwick's Bench

How would you feel if your ex-husband left you a sum of money on his death but had already spent it on his own memorial purporting to come from you? 1,700 words.


A 1,700 word story of a failing marriage and a disastrous attempt at cheating on your wife. The story line is entirely fictitious.

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Michael R Chapman
~ master of none ~
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