Caused By Climate Change

I recently felt inspired to create a series of short stories about problems caused by climate change. It is my intention to start writing fiction about what the world may well be like in ten years time.

The first story is set in my homeland, the farming flatlands of the Cambridgeshire Fens. I decided to share it with my blog readers as many of you have environmental interests and love short fiction too. I hope this might make you think about what problems may be caused by climate change and how they will affect peoples’ lives.

Drowning At Home

Trudging back towards the house, Mark couldn’t help sighing loudly. It wasn’t as if he had an audience so he felt that he could just let it all out. His dog, Angry, didn’t take much notice as he splashed around aimlessly behind him.

“You get as dirty as you like, but you’re not coming back in looking like that. Claire will kill me.”

“She’ll probably kill you both anyway!” came a muffled tease from an upstairs window.

“Can you fill the dog bath and bring it out for us, mate?”

While Mark waited for his son, Charlie, to fetch the manky tin can they called a dog bath, he found himself looking vaguely out into the distance. His mind took him back to just a few years ago when there was a lovely playing field behind their garden. He remembered walking the dog with Charlie, playing with kites and even setting up a tent one summer. That field resembled nothing but happy memories. It was weird to think that none of those things would ever happen again. Not there, at least.

He should have known all along that buying a house on the edge of town was a risky business. But it had seemed ideal at the time. Reasonably affordable with a big garden and miles of beautiful fields stretching behind it. How could everything have changed so dramatically in just a few short years?

Claire was besotted with the woodland trail that was just around the corner. He remembered her excitement when they took their first stroll through the horse chestnut trees, with their sprinklings of conkers lying amongst piles of colourful fallen leaves. She was fascinated by Autumn leaves and used to collect them and make a little display in their dining room each year. In fact, she had a different table setting for every season. They both had shared a love for nature and especially adored the charming way that winter was able to blanket a landscape so impressively.

Right now it was still winter and it should have been a time of whiteness and frost. Their garden should have been covered in white dust and the bird feeder should have been keeping a red robin satisfied during the darker days of January.

Claire should have been laughing at Charlie as he raced his dad down the only hill they had nearby on his makeshift sled. They ought to have been eating roasted chestnuts and enjoying hot chocolate, after long winter walks and playful afternoons crunching through the snow-crusted lanes.

But no.

That wasn’t how it ended up.

The dream they both had of an idyllic home on the edge of a small Fenland town hadn’t played out the way they had hoped it might.

* * *

Needless to say, the constant rain had become almost unbearable. Every day they looked out of the windows of their bedrooms and wished for a dry day. Hoped for a spot of sunshine to emerge from the souring grey sky. Prayed for something other than the mundane repetitive dullness that they had seen for the past few months.

“Even when the land was covered in snow, we used to at least get some winter sunshine,” Claire had commented as Mark sat scratching his head over the latest Wordle problem.

“It won’t last forever,” he mumbled unconvincingly before taking another sip of his now only lukewarm coffee.

“It’d better not. A few more centimetres of water and we’ll be walking out into the sea.”

At that moment, Angry came rushing into the living room and bounced onto Mark’s lap, making him spill a bit of his coffee onto his dark blue jeans.

“Oi! Scram! You nearly soaked my iPad!” he yelled, shoving the dog back onto the floor where he sat panting.

Claire picked up the dog and made gooey eyes at him. “We’re gonna have to get used to everything being drenched if this weather carries on.”

She gave Mark a disappointed glare before making her way back into the hallway where Charlie was pumping up his bike tyre. He had punctured it while cycling to school, on one of the many pot holes that was currently disguised by about 10cm of water and mud.

Charlie looked fed up as he struggled to fix the cap back onto the tyre. With her usual patience, Claire sat down next to him and held it still while he twisted it carefully into place.

“Thanks, mum. I had butter fingers.”

In the background, Charlie could hear the TV being switched on and the News blaring out about more flood warnings. He picked up the dog, who was now feeling as if he was being passed from pillar to post, and swung into the lounge, listening intently to an old man who was talking about his struggling farm.

“Nobody saw this coming,” he said in what Charlie recognised as a very local Fenland accent.

“Yes they bloody did!” he said, grimacing at the screen as if the farmer were stood right there in their living room.

“Our family has owned this farm for fifty years or more. There ain’t no way we can use most of the land again.”

“You can’t blame him for what happened but WE all knew this would happen. For sure.” Charlie waved a hand at his dad as if telling him to take notice.

“These freak storms have really messed up the farming industry. It will take a long while for the land to get back to how it used to be. A long while for it to dry out.” The farmer looked a combination of confused and honoured to be speaking on the News. A sort of wry smile sneaked across his face as he said, “Never mind. These things ‘appen, I s’pose.”

Charlie was getting himself into a flap.

“Yeah they do ‘appen. They were always going to ‘appen. But there is nothing freak about them. It’s not like they are one offs. This is the third year that we have had nothing but rain through winter and spring. Wake up and smell the coffee old man!”

“Speaking of coffee, does anyone want a fresh cup?” asked Mark kindly, hoping to distract his son for a moment.

“Not now, dad.”

“So, do you learn about all this at school, Charlie?” asked his mum as she popped her head round the door midway through tying a scarf around her neck.

“Mum, you know we do. I bet even you oldies learned about global warming.”

“Well it was mentioned but they made it seem like it was years away from affecting anyone,” mum smiled as she then began to squeeze her left foot into a welly boot, holding onto the doorframe for support.

“Ignorance is bliss,” said Charlie before waving her to stay quiet while he turned up the TV.

“Well I’ll just ignorantly nip to the shop and buy us all some chips for dinner,” said Claire as she unlocked the front door and opened her umbrella in one swift motion.

The News went on to discuss the continued flooding and dad came in just as the presenter mentioned Ramsey.

“What about Ramsey?” he asked, placing his mug onto a coffee table.

“Let’s see what our East Anglia reporter has to say on the matter,” the Newsreader said, bleakly.

“Hi Rob, I am standing here almost knee-high in water just on the edge of Ramsey. As you can see, this used to be a footpath which led through the local woodlands, but now it is more like a swamp.”

Suddenly, Charlie legged it upstairs to see if he could see her out of his bedroom window.

“There is a severe risk now of damaging floods extending into this small Fenland town. Sandbags are being piled up to try and protect connecting roads but a lot more needs to be done before Ramsey becomes waterlogged.”

Mark shook his head in disbelief. Had it really got this bad?

Charlie could be heard swinging his window open and shouting, “I can see a TV van parked by where the swings are!”

Mark couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Apparently a further storm was coming and the local river had already been allowed to flood right across the flood plain. There was nowhere left for the flood waters to go.

“Tonight, the latest storm will cause considerable local floods which may well not retreat until summer,” the drenched reporter continued, looking well and truly hacked off.

“Until summer? No way!”

“What did she just say?” asked Charlie as he leapt back down the stairs, jumping two steps at a time. “Did she say anything about how long it would last?”

“Until summer.” His dad’s face was a picture. It looked like he had just seen a ghost.

Charlie wasn’t as surprised as Mark, but he could see that the situation had become dangerous. He changed the channel on the telly and turned it down to a low volume.

“It’ll be alright, dad,” he said calmly, plonking himself on the arm of the sofa chair, next to Mark. “But we do have to start taking climate change seriously. It’s the only was we can stop things becoming worse.”

His dad looked at him remorsefully.

“It’s all our fault isn’t it. My generation. We made this stupid mess. We should have thought more about the future.”

“I don’t think you can take the blame. And it started long before you were even born. It began with the industrial revolution, dad.”

“You’ve got your head screwed on about all this. Making us walk and bike all the time. I know what you’re doing. It all makes sense.”

“All these green things I keep telling you about. They aren’t just homework projects. They are good for the environment. That’s why I wanted a vegetable patch.”

Mark realised in that split second that he loved his son more than anything. He remembered the arguments they had had about solar panels being fitted on their roof.

“You know what, we will get some solar panels installed after all,” he said warmly.

“That’d be really cool,” smiled Charlie. “But it won’t solve all our problems. We have to find a way to stop the flood drowning our house.”

“Yes we will. Let’s face it, we won’t be able to sell the house now. Not without losing a lot of money. Let’s get online and find out how we can keep water out for now.”

“But dad…” Charlie was now getting that intense look on his face that he only got when he was really concerned about something or someone. “We have to do way more than that. We have to rally the government. We have to be proactive so they properly start doing something about it all.”

Mark pulled Charlie onto the sofa and hugged him tightly.

“Oh we will, mate. That you can be sure of. We will fight for change.”


“Yes, mate?”

“I bloody love you, dad.”

“Me too. And that is why we’ll do this together. Me and you against the world.”

“Me and you and Mum against the world.”


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my brand new short story about issues caused by climate change. Please drop your thoughts in the comments and consider following my blog for future similar content. For another of my environmental articles, check out Why Recent Snow Isn’t Enough.

How To Write Short Stories – My Way

Having now written many short stories and a novella, as well as my first YA novel, I feel like I can call myself a writer. A very new and inexperienced writer, maybe. I do know one thing though. I have learned a lot more about producing short stories since I wrote in 2021. This blog post is all about how I became interested in writing short stories and sharing some tips that I have taken onboard over the past four years.

  1. Study Writing

    For me, I knew I wanted to write something back in 2017 but I was not sure what or where to start. So I signed up for a fiction writing night school class which met every Monday. I was especially pleased to meet likeminded people who cared about the writing process.

    Unfortunately, this group had become more of a sharing experience. Each week we would read out our work-in-progresses and say nice things to one another. The positivity was great but I didn’t learn anything at all.

    Rather than going to a class, I would say the best way to learn is by absorbing a lot of short stories. Different types of short stories from a range of authors worked for me.

  2. Go With The Flow

    My first attempt at a short story was a morsel of an idea about a guy getting his car stuck in snow on the way to work. I decided that I wanted him to meet someone during that incident and find a potential date. So I went for it and produced ‘The Oddest Of Dates’. After showing a few friends, I realised that I had a story with plot points and it kind of worked.

    Don’t overthink things. Get something written and show someone you respect. A brother, a best friend, or a work colleague… See if it feels like a story to them.

  3. Keep The Focus Tight

    Make sure that you don’t allow yourself to go off at tangents. Yes, you will need side characters but don’t waste time explaining their back stories. If you want to know how to write short stories, the crucial thing is focus.

    Short stories need to revolve around one event or idea. If not, they soon stretch out into novellas and novels. Sometime that can be a good thing but if you want to write shorts, keep them ‘short’.

  4. Have A Central Character

    Too many characters can make a story complicated. Whether it is told in the first person, third person or the close third person (which Liane Moriarty uses), outline one main character. Then make the reader quickly start to care about them. Empathy is powerful and if you can build up a rapport between the lead and the reader – great!

    Write about someone’s personal experience. Short stories can educate, entertain, illuminate and indulge. Too many distractions make short stories clunky. Stick to one main character.

  5. Keep The Pace Up

    Most readers who like to read short stories, love quick tales. The good thing about short fiction is you can usually read it in one sitting. Don’t drag it out. Put the reader in the character’s life and detail the situation they are facing. Get them to face their predicament and then stop.

    A good short story is easy to read, swift to get to the point and satisfying when it reaches its climax.

  6. Enjoy The Process

    The most important thing for me is that I enjoy the process of putting together a short story. When it starts to feel like a drag, have a break from it. If you are having to force out a narrative, maybe that particular tale isn’t worth telling right now.

    If the story feels right, you will love writing and sharing it. If it just feels forced and stale, pop it on the shelf and return to it another time. Or don’t.

    Just make sure you get some pleasure out of making short stories.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, perhaps you would like to check out my original short stories. I would appreciate some reads to celebrate the fourth birthday of my book Short Dates. Thank you so much for checking out my bookish blog,

How To Write Short Stories

Some of you may already be aware that I enjoy writing short stories. I also love reading them. My first collection of stories was called, ‘Short Dates’ which was a group of stories about love, loss and friendship.

Often I am asked about how to get started with story writing and, although I am no expert, I am happy to share what I have found so far. One thing is for sure, short stories are not a shortcut to writing novels, as they require a real precision to get right.

As with any story writing, short prose has certain requirements. You need to make sure that such fiction has a purpose, follows a well planned storyline and comes to some kind of meaningful ending.

Here are some of my thoughts on writing short stories. I hope that you find them useful and relevant.

Writing Short Fiction – Top Tips

– Short stories are whole stories and follow storylines from start to end. They are not just nuggets of narrative and need to be able to standalone without any prior knowledge or expectation for further stories to follow.

– Concentrate on one outcome. With a short story you cannot write multiple storylines and introduce lots of side characters. You need to decide what point you wish to make and ensure that that remains your main focus. Don’t go off on unnecessary tangents.

– Get straight into the nitty gritty of the narrative. There is no time for complicated scene setting when writing short fiction. Straight away the reader needs to be immersed in the context, drawn into the life of the protagonist and intrigued by the situation described.

– Plan your narrative well. Unlike with novels, there is a need to outline how the story will unfold. For me, I usually jot down notes about the main character and a few key events that must happen in order to drive the story to a conclusion that I want to see.

– Use a short story to showcase your writing style. There is no need to cut corners in terms of the quality of writing. Short fiction must be as detailed, twisted and thought-provoking as longer texts. Good short stories are not only entertaining but can also help you to grow your readership.

– Write short stories because you enjoy writing. Don’t feel pressured into writing them if these are not your preferred genre. However, if you enjoy the writing process and haven’t tried short stories before, have a go! Most of all, have fun with it.


Some of my favourite stories are short ones. Short tales can be incredibly powerful and memorable if done well. Challenging yourself to write shorter stories is definitely fun and rewarding. I hope that my suggestions were relatable and look I forward to reading your thoughts on this in the comments.

For a sample of my own writing, check out the extract in Short Dates. Also please consider following my blog for similar future content.