"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hey, I got an idea!

I love flash fiction. It usually involves writing about a picture, or objects, or a series of random words, or even a beginning sentence, and has a set word count of anywhere from 14 to 1000 words. It's a great exercise for writers because it teaches you to tell an entire story in as few words as possible. Your writing must be spare. You must get to the point. No lollygagging.

So here's my idea - I found this picture among my mother's tubs o' photos (see my website for the whole story of that particular nightmare):

Write a story of NO MORE THAN 100 words about this picture. It must have a beginning, a middle and an ending. The author of the story I like best will get a free copy of Freezer Burn.

C'mon, what have you got to lose?


Unknown said...

I love the idea, now motivation, come and get my attention!


Jim Thomsen said...

We didn't dare breathe a word until Lizzie Borden was convicted. Then, Agnes and I went to the barren apple tree under bleak morning light, and dug up the silver and fine things we stole from the Borden House.

The ax, we buried deeper. And planted a fresh apple tree atop it.

Tonight, we take the midnight coach to Boston. And then the dawn sailing to Lisbon.

The Bordens should have been nicer to their housemaids. That is all I will say.

(by Jim Thomsen)

C. Margery Kempe said...

The picture was taking longer than Elizabeth thought strictly necessary. Why did it take her brothers and her father to make sure that her mother and she were properly framed by the lens.

It wasn't just the discomfort of standing side by side, pretending that her mother was proud, pretending that she was basking in a warm glow. While the afternoon sun threatened to turn the September afternoon to sultry heat, she knew it wasn't simply the sun that was making her head ache.

"I'm so proud," her father had said when she received the letter. The first woman they were admitting to medical school in the whole of the state.

"Some young man is not going to medical school," her mother had said, staring out the window as if he were standing out there somewhere. All summer they had sidestepped one another in silence.

"I think we've got it now," her father laughed, Edwin tugging at his sleeve carelessly. Elizabeth tried to smile, looking down at the carpet bagged, packed for the train ride to the east.

"You'll probably meet a man and get married," her mother said quietly. "But you can always come home."

"Thanks, mama," Elizabeth said, her voice barely audible, but she knew she would not return.

Alexis Grant said...

This is a great idea and sounds like fun! Now only if I didn't have to work on my WIP today...

Gayle Carline said...

Just so everyone understands, I'll give you at least a week or two to enter something. Although I'm liking Jim and Kate's entries (and will probably agonize over my decision), I want to read more.

Maybe this is just a sneaky way for me to read fresh material!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great idea to promote a release! I loved the stories in the comments.


Gayle Carline said...

Kate - I'm going to give you a chance to revise and resubmit (ooo, just like an editor!), because, altho I love your story, the rules specifically state
"NO MORE THAN 100 words". As in, less than 100 words.

Prune it, or think of another!

Enid Wilson said...

Very good idea for the launch of a book. But readers may feel intimidated. Will you organise a contest for commenting for readers too?

Steamy Darcy

Gayle Carline said...

Yes, Enid, there will be readers contests as well. I offered it up to writers first, since that seems to be the majority of the commenters here. Majority, as in 100%, except for "Anonymous", who may be a reader, a writer, or a stalker. The jury's out.

Nick said...

The airship rumbled through the sky. Victoria stared at the photo of her mother and grandmother vibrating in her gloved hands. Two days after the picture was taken, the town behind them was bombed, killing her entire family.

Since she was seventeen, Victoria joined up with sky pirates looking for every opportunity to quiet the anger inside her.

Victoria jumped up and slipped her goggles over her eyes. She could see the ship they were going to board through the porthole. She gripped her cutlass with one hand and her revolver with the other. Today she would have her revenge.

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Gayle!

Here's my little story:

Why does father insist we stand so close together when we have our photos taken? I am never going to accept her as his wife—not after I saw what she did to mother.

He never should have married beneath his station in life. How could he betray our mother by marrying the very maid that she had begged him to dismiss? Mother despised her. She must have sensed she was up to no good.

I will see to it that she pays for murdering mother, but her death will be much worse than merely being shoved down the stairs.
(100 words)

Well...I hope you liked it.



Karen Brees said...

She was the Chosen One.

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