Tag Archives: writing

Flash Fiction Friday

And what does the Random Word Generator spit out this week?

  • Birthday
  • Coach
  • Manure
  • Spider
  • Dance

Funny that “birthday” is one of the words since it’s my birthday on Tuesday. Seriously–I didn’t rig that. So, here’s a fun 100-word story inspired by that list:

You know who your friends are when the RSVPs come in.

“Would love to, but I’m doing some football coaching with my son.” Andrew’s son is two.

“Sorry, but I just got some fertilizer and I need to spread manure on the garden while it’s fresh.” Jen lives in an apartment. Fifth floor.

“I’m babysitting my neighbor’s spiders.” Pete’s neighbors have tarantulas, and Pete has arachnophobia.

“No, not the same night as square dancing?” Jason has two left feet.

But I wasn’t alone for my birthday. Publisher’s Clearing House showed up. Shame no-one else was there to share the prize.

Have a great weekend!

Flash Fiction Friday

Once again it’s time to kick the Random Word Generator. This week we get:

  • Mole
  • Tapestry
  • Mustard
  • Scarf
  • Tide

Here’s my 100-word attempt at making a scene out of these:

Derringer sat in front of the tapestry, and I sat opposite, my coat and scarf draped over the back of the chair.

“Tell me, Miss Talley, why accuse me of murder?” The mole on his cheek rose as he grinned.

“Because, Mr. Derringer,” I said, “logically no-one else could have done it.”

He ran his hand through his mustard yellow hair.

“But the tide is against you. You’ve no evidence. No bodies. No weapon. Nothing.”

I was momentarily distracted by the hideousness of the tapestry, with its odd splotches of blue, orange, green, rust…

Wait—that wasn’t dye.

I smiled.

If you’re enjoying these flash fiction stories, don’t forget that for the entire month of April, I’ll be posting a 100-word flash fiction story every day of the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Click on the A-to-Z badge on the right for more details about this blog hop.

Have a great weekend!

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s words from the Random Word Generator are:

  • Reason
  • Brick
  • Cannon
  • Kitchen
  • Menu

I’m dedicating this 100-word story to my friends over in the comments section of Janet Reid’s blog. I hope you enjoy it:

Some neighborhood kids diving cannonballs into the lake were first to see him. One dared to go in for a closer look, head submerged just long enough to confirm every boy’s dream and nightmare: they’d found a dead body.

Two police divers pulled him out, and Detective Christie immediately began looking for clues. The man’s coat bore the logo of The Healthy Kitchen. What reason would someone have to kill the chef of a popular eatery?

Then he saw the brick tied to his hands, and the mark: N-N.

He put lima beans on the menu. Two-Ns had struck again.

Have a wonderful week!

Flash Fiction Friday

It’s Friday, blog readers, and time for another piece of flash fiction! Today’s words from the Random Word Generator are:

  • Duct tape
  • Bus stop
  • Bra
  • Pigeon
  • Salt

I could protest that “duct tape” and “bus stop” are both two words each, and re-run the generator. But I’m going to overlook that and roll with the challenge. And to make it even more interesting, I’m giving myself only 100 words:

Rosie checked her watch. She’d been at the bus stop for ten minutes. She pulled her shirt over her bra strap, fussed with her hair, shifted her weight, watched pigeons fight over a piece of duct tape.

Something’s happened. He didn’t get on the bus. The bus was in an accident.

She tasted salt on her lip. Her heart was pounding, then it leapt as a bus rounded the corner and pulled up to the stop. She watched people disembark.

“Mom!”

“Tyler!”

Tyler squeezed her legs. Rosie wrapped her arms around his head.

“How was your first day at school?”

Have a great weekend!

Flash Fiction Friday

This week, the Random Word Generator gives me:

  • Orchestra
  • Cuff
  • Poverty
  • Sword
  • Joke

I’m using 130 words for this one. Here’s this week’s flash fiction:

“Jokes and counter-jokes—their verbal swordplay. Peter thought nothing of it. It was their way, how they talked to one another. Of course Joe didn’t mind. He always laughed—gave as good as he got.”

“So, could you tell me what happened?”

“We had just finished watching the State Orchestra. Came out the doors. Joe made some joke about Peter’s attire. Peter laughed at Joe’s cufflinks. And then…”

The detective tapped his pencil. “What then?”

“Well, I guess that was one joke too far.”

“Joe lost it?”

“No. You see, I gave Joe those cufflinks. We were poor. And a gift out of poverty is, well, special.”

“Wait. You’re telling me..?”

“Yes.” Emily took the bloody knife from her purse and laid it on the interrogation table. “I’d had enough.”

Have a wonderful warm weekend!

UPDATE: I have also posted a flash story for this week’s Flash! Friday. You can find that HERE.

Flash Fiction Friday

Time to turn on the Random Word Generator again! And this week we have…

  • Headline
  • Bible
  • Nun
  • War
  • Pudding

Oookay. And let’s go with a 100-word limit. Here’s what I come up with:

The photographs were detailed enough. Andrew’s face was easily recognizable. As was his half naked body, along with the blonde in the nun’s outfit. He could see the headlines.

“Does your wife know?” said Robert slipping a spoon into his mouth.

“No.” Andrew hadn’t touched his food. “What do you want?”

“Let’s not make war over this. Drop out of the race, Senator.”

Andrew sighed.

“The Bible says your sins will find you out.” Robert’s smug grin suddenly turned sour. He gripped his stomach.

“They certainly will, Robert,” said Andrew, tearing the photographs. “I hear the pudding’s to die for.”

Have a great weekend!

Bouchercon 2015

I’ve always had a soft spot for mysteries, detective fiction, and even suspense and thriller stories. If you’ve been paying attention to my flash fiction, you’ll notice they tend to have a bent in that direction. So how excited was I when I discovered that one of the premier mystery/detective fiction conferences, the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention (known as “Bouchercon”), was going to be in Raleigh, NC this year? I’ll tell you. VERY. You see, if you’ve read my “About” page, you will understand that I don’t get the opportunity to go to many writer/writing/book conferences. Most of them are priced outside my family’s budget, and then I have to consider the additional expense of transport and lodging. So why the excitement over Bouchercon? I’ll tell you:

  1. I live in NC.
  2. I live about 80 miles east of Raleigh, NC.
  3. I have family that live just outside Raleigh, NC.

It’s as if the conference organizers planned the event for my convenience! (They didn’t, by the way, just in case you wondered.)

So I get to go to a writing conference. But the awesome doesn’t stop there. Look at who some of the conference guests will be:

  • Kathy Reichs (creator of Temperance Brennan, AKA “Bones” of the book and TV series)
  • Tom Franklin (NYT Bestselling author of CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER)
  • Zoë Sharp (British author of the Charlie Fox series of novels)
  • Allan Guthrie (British crime writer and literary agent)

Also on the attendees list are:

  • Karin Slaughter
  • Donna Andrews
  • Charlaine Harris
  • Terrence McCauley

and New York Literary Agent Extraordinaire, Janet Reid.

And that’s only SOME of the names on the attendees list I recognize.

The event is from October 8-11, 2015, and registration costs $195. As I understand it, the main conference will be at the Sheraton Hotel on Salisbury Street. For all the details you could possibly want, check out the conference web site (http://www.bouchercon2015.org).

This will be my first writing/writer/book-related conference. Will I see you there?

 

The 2015 April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge

Despite all my writing plans and the general busyness of life, I am planning to participate once again in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. This will be my fourth year, and for the second year in a row I’ll be writing 100 word flash fiction pieces for each day of the challenge. That’s 26 new stories in the space of a month. I managed it last year, and I’m quite pleased with how some of those stories turned out. If you go to the “Writing” tab and look under “Stories,” you’ll find my literary efforts from previous A-to-Z years. The first year I participated, I chose random topics. For the 2013 challenge, I wrote a short story every Monday. Last year was the first time I attempted a story every day.

Don’t know what the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge is? It’s a blogging challenge (duh!) where participants blog every day (excluding Sundays) for the entire month of April. The “A-to-Z” part comes from the fact that each day’s theme is dictated by a letter of the alphabet, starting with A on April 1, and ending with Z on April 30. You can write on whatever you want, as long as it has something to do with the day’s letter. If you look at my previous attempts, you’ll get the idea.

Right now there are over 560 people signed up for the challenge, and I expect that number will double by April 1. So not only is this a great challenge, and a way to inspire your blog writing, but it’s a good way to get some broad exposure for your blog since all participants are encouraged to visit and comment on other A-to-Z bloggers’ blogs.

So, how about it? Are you up for a fun blogging challenge? The sign up Linky List is HERE. For more info about the challenge, see HERE.

Flash Fiction Friday

For today’s flash fiction challenge, I set myself a target of 200 words, and used a Random Word Generator to pull five words to use as part of the story. These are the words it chose:

  • feast
  • rubbish
  • wood
  • creeper
  • graffiti

Here’s my story (200 words exactly):

I made my way carefully to the bags that littered the ground, smiling inside. One man’s rubbish is another scavenger’s feast, after all. The thin white plastic tore easily under my fingers. Clothes. I pulled them out piece by piece, hoping to find something more substantial further in. Nothing but shirts and pants; stained, torn, patched, and worn.

The second bag yielded house trash; books— bent, creased, and mildewed; the cracked glass and splintered wood remnants of a coffee table; a crumpled McDonald’s bag; small paisley cushions, ripped open to expose yellow foam stuffing; chipped and faded ceramic ornaments of animals and people— a fox with a broken tail, a cat with one ear, an old man missing his walking stick.

Finally, I tried the armoire. It was stained, scratched with graffiti carvings, and now adorned with feather boas that hung like creepers over the sides and the unlatched doors. I gently pulled the doors open, trying not to get my hopes up. My heart sank to see empty shelves, save for a few moldy towels and moth-eaten head scarves.

I cursed the air as I walked away. That’s the last time I waste $1,000 on an abandoned storage unit.

 

Flash Fiction Friday

This week, I’m re-posting my entry for last Friday’s Flash! Friday contest. It didn’t win, and garnered only a couple of comments, but I liked it. So here it is!

The challenge: Write a piece of flash fiction (no more than 160 words) using this picture as inspiration:

My response (exactly 160 words):

The gentle hum of electricity seeped into Darren’s skin. His bones vibrated as every muscle, tendon, and nerve ending soaked up the waves of power from the box.

No-one else on the sidewalk could feel it. But Darren drunk it in like parched soil takes in water.

Three blocks ahead, stop lights flickered.

Two blocks behind, cars screeched to a halt as the lights suddenly flashed red. Darren heard the crunch of bumpers. He didn’t turn. He just smiled.

On the horizon he saw a plume of smoke. His fingers told him the stop lights had gone out completely on East Fifth.

Cars trundled to a stop on the street in front of him; drivers vented frustration with their horns.

Satisfied, Darren let go of the metal box. It would take about ten minutes for the electronics to right themselves. In the meantime, he could cross the road safely.

The same road that claimed his mother’s life a month ago.

Can I say a few words about rejection?

One of the biggest fears writers have to overcome is the fear of rejection. Indeed, fear of rejection is one of the biggest fears most people face in life, period, whether it’s rejection by publishers, agents, peers, a love interest, a prospective employer, and so on. For writers, this fear can be particularly debilitating since writers write to be read. As much satisfaction as the writer derives from putting words on a page, that joy is made complete knowing someone else is getting pleasure from his or her work. But this will never happen until the writer actually publishes his or her work in some way (online or in print). That means the writer must risk rejection. Bad reviews. People not liking his/her work. And one of the pitfalls of working in the Arts is that there will be people who don’t like your work. In fact, there will be people who hate your work. That’s not a possibility. That’s a guarantee. Just examine yourself. Do you like every form of music? Every band/artist you’ve ever heard? Every novel you’ve ever read? Every picture or movie you’ve ever seen? No. Some you love, some you like, some you’re dispassionate about, some you don’t like, and some you can’t stand. The power of Art is that it stirs emotions and evokes passion. That can be both a positive and negative thing, and Art doesn’t discriminate. It allows for both positive and negative reactions.

So rejection isn’t something a writer needs to avoid. It’s something a writer needs to learn to deal with. And you do that by sucking up your pride and letting people read your work. Such online flash fiction contests as Flash! Friday, or Janet Reid’s contests (like the one she announced today), are a good way to do that. Because the work is judged by people, they are subject to the whims of the judges. If you write sci-fi and the judges don’t like sci-fi, the chances are you won’t win. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enter. There may well be a number of people reading the entries that do like sci-fi, and appreciate your work. Hopefully they’ll write you some encouraging comments. But ultimately, you will learn from the discipline of writing flash fiction, and you will become more comfortable with putting your writing in the hands of strangers.

I’ve entered the Flash! Fiction contest a few times now, and haven’t even been selected for a runner up category. While I’ve been a finalist or winner in Janet’s contests a few times, there are many I’ve entered where my entry didn’t even get a “special mention.” That’s okay. The writing practice, the experience gained, and the skin-thickening that results is almost as good as winning. Almost.

Thoughts or comments–about the story, and/or rejection?