Tag Archives: Flash fiction

There’s something to this planning thing….

So the dreaded planning stage has actually proved helpful. I was talking to a school mum the other day and she mentioned a book she had recently read, she said it had a fantastic premise but really had nowhere to go after that, she’d enjoyed the read but the flaw stood out.

I thought the rest of the day and realised that was exactly the problem I had with the story I had planned for November, and was also (one of the many) reason I was struggling so with the planning. There really was no plot at all.

I sat at the computer on Wednesday, totally stumped. What was I going to write? There were four days until November started and I honestly thought I was going to have to skip it this year. But I really didn’t want to. So I read the paper online, panicked, almost called BMan to appeal for help.

And then bam. A news story that I read and said – what if? – what happened after that? why? And a character name popped into my head, and another one. There needs to be 3, of course, him, he needs to be there too. I stream of conscious wrote the idea out – there was story, there was conflict, there was crisis points, there were 3 characters that are different from each other but have similar roots to the dramas in their lives.

I started planning, yes I did. I started with the character sketches from the Snowflake method  I added in a category to establish the inner, interpersonal and physical conflict needed for each character. One was easy, one took a bit, I was making him far too nice, once I roughed him up a bit it was easier. But last night the third had me stumped, I had the same problem as the previous story idea, a great reason for her, a great set up but no depth, I couldn’t see her. I would have realised this far too late if I hadn’t been doing the planning exercise, she just would have been a weak character and would have frustrated me no end.

It was late (it’s always late, so sorry BMan, Novembers are a challenge for you too!) and so I decided to call it a night. Hopped in the shower, the story running all through my brain. And then it came to me, how to solve the 3rd character’s problems and the realisation she doesn’t need a crisis point, hers starts the manuscript, the rest of her story arc is getting past the drama. I had to go back to the computer and quickly type it out before I forgot it all . The world needs some sort of shower proof computing system, I often solve writing problems in the shower!

So 3 characters: Helen’s crisis starts the novel and then we see her deal with the fall out, realise what she thought she wanted was actually her worst nightmare, and start to rebuild her life. Evie’s crisis comes in the middle, forced into finally making decisions, her life that she hated is forced into change and she gradually starts to build a new life. Walt’s crisis comes right at the end. His life is on a gradual decline throughout the story until his crisis point.

There’s still time to do some more planning. I know I need a couple of minor characters, I know I need an ex boyfriend, a best friend, a husband and a son but they are shadowy at the moment, none of them have names yet.

But it’s better, I stand a chance of getting something half decent out of it now!

I may do a flash fiction from one of the side stories as a warm up, bring on Sunday November 1!

 

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Flash fiction – in search terms

This week I have been thinking a lot about short forms of fiction. Another advertising sign I love that tells a story of complex possibilities hangs on a road in Melbourne, it’s been there for years and simply says ‘Going to Europe? You’ll need a coat’

image It always makes me think, it’s a little phrase but it suggests that you are coming from somewhere so warm you don’t already have a coat, and perhaps wouldn’t have considered packing one. That you are travelling somewhere so strange you need to purchase special protective gear. And how do they know what I’ll be doing, how do they know I’ll need a coat. What would happen if I don’t have one? Heck I better get one before it’s too late! Maybe it’s just me.

Also I’ve been contemplating the book I need to choose for the next book club I am due to host. It’s not until October so I have time, but I’m considering a book of short stories. I’ve picked up a couple from the library to read and see if they are suitable. Of course there’s an Alice Munro, Dear Life – she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, I have to at least consider her, I also have Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Have you read any of these? Any recommendations?

And to the flash fiction. Good old Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds posed a flash fiction challenge to tell a story in Google search terms. He used this great example from @AbrasiveGhost:

Cat armour
buy armour for cats
Cat jousting tournaments
How to stop armoured cats
Cat army how to stop
National guard phone #

– Great isn’t it? So I am having a great time at the moment on my rewrite. I wanted to do a flash fiction but didn’t want to steal the time from my rewrite so I quickly dashed out a flash fiction search term story. Here ’tis!

Getting past a bad day
Getting past a really really bad day
Bad luck
Difference between bad luck and curse
Am I cursed
Removing curses
Kittens free to good home

Have a great weekend folks!!

Flash fiction – Next to Godliness

Recently I mentioned I have recently discovered podcasts. One in particular I have been enjoying is called Writing Excuses – short 15 minute discussions about a variety of writing tips and trends. At the end of each episode they feature a writing prompt – I wanted to list some here and thought I really should only do so if I have taken up the challenge myself.

So, the first prompt I chose is:

Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship (and it can’t be silly)

I’ll post the first few paras here, click on the link to the full version. I’d love to read if anyone else feels compelled to respond to the challenge.

Please enjoy: Next to Godliness

Kaylee wakes, instantly alert and active. Two years ago it was much harder to drag herself into wakefulness when her phone vibrated at 3am, her body would protest, reluctant to leave the warm cocoon of her blankets. But by now it’s easy, second nature.

About six months ago she started going to bed fully dressed, that had been Laura’s idea and it was a good one. Richard barely noticed her leaving anymore, she stilled her phone after less than a second, slid from under the covers and moved quickly out of the dark room. Her shoes and a warm jacket waited for her in the hall and she was in the car in less than four minutes.

road-at-night_2651004The streets are notably busier than when Kaylee started her daily pilgrimage. Two years ago the dark roads were deserted, traffic lights changing and directing non-existent cars at empty intersections. This morning she waits three minutes at the end of her street for a break in the stream of cars. She’s going to need to start getting up earlier or she’ll be too far from the gates to see anything. Read more

Must like bats – flash fiction

What does Batman do when Alfred gets a better offer and hands in his notice? He places a help wanted ad.

bat signalPosition Vacant – Personal assistant

A rare position has become available as a personal assistant to one of Gotham City’s elite. The role is dynamic and challenging, almost two roles in one. By day duties are consistent with a personal butler, maintaining a lively social calendar, discreetly managing a variety of acquaintances and intimates, hands on assistance in corporate and philanthropic work.

It is by night that this role really comes into its own. Evening duties will be allocated on an ad hoc basis and the applicant will need to be reactive and fast thinking in a wide range of situations.

A strong background in surveillance and developing technologies is a must, proficiency in the use of firearms and experimental weaponry would be an advantage.

The role may involve travel and definitely requires creative problem solving abilities. Applicants should not be prone to claustrophobia.

A broad mind is required as the personal assistant is likely to meet an eclectic assortment of associates from the fringes of society.

The successful applicant can expect board and lodging in a stately manor and above minimum wage. Must be endlessly flexible and discreet.

Please submit your application in a coded message, carefully hidden in plain sight. The client will respond if you are successful.

Must like bats.

Writing retreat here I come!

It’s time to gloat a little. Tomorrow night I head off to a wonderful bed and breakfast along the coast here for two whole nights!

Intended as a gift to celebrate a recent birthday that ends in a 0, the booking ended up coinciding with the tail end of nanowrimo. I have two nights planned with nothing to do but make sure I feed myself every so often and the remainder of the time I plan to work up the RSI in my fingers and WRITE!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

Prepare to drool as you see the fabulousness that is Cimarron – I linked to the room I will be staying in. Yes, this is the same bed and breakfast I stayed at when I self styled a writing retreat two years ago – you can read about that here.

The fabulous Bman swapped his day off and is driving me down there tomorrow morning. It’s the first time I’ve left him and Little Man for two nights – they’ve gone on interstate trips to visit family without me for longer periods that that, but this is the first time I’m leaving them for more than a night. Little Man will not mind in the slightest, ah the fickleness of a six year old. Bman will get to watch shoot ’em up movies that I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny anecdote – the first night I spent away from Bman was my sister’s hen’s do (nearly ten years ago). When I spoke to him in the morning he said he’d fallen out of my side of the bed during the night! He’d rolled and rolled and without me as a bumper he’d just kept going!

I’m nearly at the half way point in word count, but the observant of you will notice that we are well past the half way point of the month. So I gots me some writing to do!

I want to get a flash fiction piece or two done while I’m gone as well. It’s funny that the 1000 words needed for a flash fiction piece tend to come in around an hour yet 1000 words in the nano novel (or any novel-length project I’m working on) take a heck of a lot longer than an hour. What’s up with that?!

Bovine Balladeers – flash fiction

It has been quite some time since I have done one of the hirsute Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenges.

His most recent challenge was a throw down to a Buzz Feed article ’21 Stock Photos That No One Will Ever Be Able To Use’ and there are some doozies!! He challenged us to use one of the photos as inspiration.

I random number generated number 9, I’d love to paste the image here but I haven’t paid for the image and don’t know the copyright, so you’ll have to link the article and check the cows standing in front of a microphone. The result ‘Bovine Balladeers’.

Enjoy the first few paragraphs here, link to the Flash Fiction page is below 🙂 – I wrote this on the train ride home this afternoon.

Bovine Balladeers

It was inevitable, at least that was what Rosie said. Rosie had been with the Family at the County Fair when the cows had won the ribbon. She had seen their big eyes light with a fire never before seen in a bovine, well perhaps a bull at a certain time of year, but certainly not in a cow. Rosie said she knew it was a sign of trouble to come. But of course no one listened to Rosie anymore, Prince was the one the farmyard turned to.

Rosie

Rosie

Prince had arrived at the farm only a year ago. The Family had high hopes for him, they were determined he would take the showjumping world by storm. Of all the animals on the farm, Prince spent the most time with the Family, that’s why the other animals respected him. Rosie knew this was a mistake also. Prince wasn’t smart at all, he had come from a horse breeder, not a farm, he didn’t know how farms worked or how farm animals worked. He didn’t know that the sheep really weren’t afraid of Dog, or that once the chickens were in their roost for the night they hated to be disturbed, and if by some disaster their sleep was disrupted, well they were just impossible to be around the next day.

No, Prince didn’t know anything about the farm. Rosie did. Read the rest of Bovine Balladeers here.

What if Mata Hari lived?

So you know I’m totally psyched about a new project, it’s a buzz!

But tonight I have a new Flash Fiction. Last week the fabulous Chuck Wendig posted his customary Friday Flash Fiction challenge and a link to a random title generator – I got one I liked, and then forgot it. And got busy. So this week I tried the generator again. One of the options was actually Little man’s name – Little Man’s boys. It might be held for the future…. But this time round I did get Mata Hari in the Silence. Whoa.

<<side note – feel free to participate, Chuck dictates 1000 words max, this story is shy of 700, I leave it up to you>>

So I Googled. As you do. Did you know Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer in the early 1900s, ultimately executed as a spy, never had her body claimed by a relative. Her body was donated to science and her head (for a courtesan and one of the world’s foremost exotic dancers, possibly the least interesting bit about her) kept in the Museum of Anatomy in Paris, but in 2000, archivists discovered that the head had disappeared, possibly as early as 1954, when the museum had been relocated. Again, whoa.

the picture is from here: http://www.mata-hari.com/mata-hari-pictures.html how great is she? This pic is from 1910!! Visit the site.

the picture is from here: http://www.mata-hari.com/mata-hari-pictures.html
how great is she? This pic is from 1910!! Visit the site.

What if she didn’t die? What if she was relocated to Argentina as many WW2 Nazi’s were many years later?

So I give you ‘Mata Hari in Silence’.

The delicate wind chime tinkles, no that’s not right, its more melodic than that. It, well it chimes, I’m far too worn out to come up with something witty.

The breeze bumps the crystals against each other, shards of light scatter every which way, falling across my hand, darting across chest. I’m transported back to a time when my life was exotic and exceptional, when diamonds adorned my body, music followed me, underscoring my every waking moment.

I mesmerised, I hypnotised and I entranced. My dancing cost people their lives, thousands of lives. It changed the world. Honestly.

You wouldn’t think it now, no one would. Most days I don’t even bother to think about it.  

Read the rest here – you know you want to!