Tag: flash fiction

Six Sentence Sunday 1/13 #sixsunday

I’m working on a prequel to my short story “Tim and Sara,” featuring a character from “The Kindness of Strangers” who seems to be popping up more and more in my stuff.  Sara lives with her twin brother, Levi. She’s bipolar, schizophrenic, or just completely crazy, but very manipulative too.  In this scene, she’s told her brother she wants to get a job.

“No,” Levi says with no thought, no hesitation.

“Please?” She gives him her puppy dog face, with big eyes and pouting lips. “You know I can behave if I want to.”

This is news to him. “So your entire life, you’ve been a pain in the ass because you wanted to?” 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.

Six Sentence Sunday 10/21 #sixsunday

Today’s six are from another of my Nik Kershaw shorts, this one based on the song “Billy.”  Billy is sitting in a bar with his friends, who want him to watch a football game with them.

“Sally wants me to have dinner ready when she gets home, and then we’re going to Sears to look for a new vacuum.  And then while we’re there, we might look for curtains too.”

“You gonna look for your balls while you’re at it?” asked Mark.

“Hey, that’s not a nice thing to say.”

“Sally probably keeps them in a jar on a shelf,” said Craig. “Does she make you sit to pee?” 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.

Six Sentence Sunday 10/7 #sixsunday

Today’s six are from a silly story I wrote awhile back, “The Hunter and the Monster.”  It was my first published story, appearing in The Fringe.  MC Crius has been forbidden by the village council to fight the monster that’s been terrorizing his village, so he plots with his friends in secret.

“Halt!” shouted a voice.

Crius looked up. He was boxed in by guards, with Lord Maximilian in the center.

“Crius, you will destroy our way of life, our careful balance, if you continue. You were warned. By the power given me by our people, I hereby banish you from our lands, effective immediately!” 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.

Stories based on songs

Ever since a Scribophile writing contest a year or two ago, which asked us to write a story based on the song “The Riddle” by Nik Kershaw, I’ve developed a bit of a crush on the guy and his music.  I’m not sure why, exactly – everything I’d heard by him was early 80’s pop, which isn’t the most remarkable music.  And let’s not even mention his hair.

As I listened to more of his songs – really listened, paying attention not just to the sound but the lyrics and themes – I decided it would be fun to write a story based on each one of them.  Maybe stick them in their own collection someday.

I mentioned it in my writing group, and the other day I received an email about the project:

I was wondering if you would be able to give me some answers re writing stories based on songs.

You said in a thread not too long that you’re currently attempting to write a story for every song Nik Kershaw has ever released. (That’s so cool, btw). That’s something I’ve been intrigued by (with?) for quite some time and I’ve also attempted something similar for NaNo 2010. So, the questions:

  1. What about those songs that don’t tell a story you can use or don’t inspire one? Do you just keep listening to the song until you think of something?
  2. Do you listen to the song while writing the story? 
  3. In your opinion, how much does the song has to affect the story? For example, a story having just the same theme/atmosphere as a song… would that qualify? 

Rather than just email him back, I thought I’d share my answers here.

  1. I planned to listen to each song multiple times, write a story, and then move onto the next song.  I started with his first album, The Riddle.  I listened to “Don Quixote,” and I wrote a story.  Then I moved onto the next song, “Know How.”  I had an idea for a story, and characters, but not enough of a plot.  So I stopped listening to that album.  Then the car adapter for my iPod died and all I had to listen to was the same songs on the radio, or the same songs on his 15 Minutes album.  A couple songs gave me ideas right away, and others after listening several times.  Some I’m still not sure about.
    As this is a project that’ll probably take forever to finish, and there are over 100 songs to listen to, I think it’s better to just write as inspiration hits, since forcing myself to write results in crap.
  2. I have a hard time writing when I don’t have complete silence, which is why I tend to do most of my writing late at night when no one’s awake.  I’ll listen to the song several times before I start writing, as well as look at the lyrics.  And it might take me several times of listening before I get a story idea.
  3. The first story I wrote, “Wise Men Fold,” was based on a song that Kershaw admits makes no sense.  So for that one, I just pulled out a few pieces.  For “Don Quixote,” the second one, I tried to stick with the theme of the song – a guy who considers himself a hero but is actually pathetic.  And I threw in details from the song.  For another I’m currently writing, “Billy,” about a guy who’s been emasculated by his wife, the story is what happens after his drinking buddies convince him he’s whipped.  Another, “God Bless,” pulls out just one line – “Praise be this coffee machine” – to become a satirical prayer to the almighty coffee god. 

    I think with over 100 songs, there’s a lot of room to change things up.  And, of course, the fact that no one I know has ever heard of Nik Kershaw, let alone his songs other than maybe “Wouldn’t It Be Good.”

Have you ever written stories based on songs?  Any tips you’d like to share?

I’m back

A few weeks ago, I announced I’d be taking a break from blogging and writing for awhile, as I tried to settle my life.

Although I’m still unemployed, I’ve pretty much settled into new digs – staying with my dad for awhile.  My son just started kindergarten, my dad’s off at work during the day, and his girlfriend has moved into her own place, leaving me hours of uninterrupted time to focus on writer stuff.

Also, I’m happy to announce that my flash story “The Business Trip” has been published by the fledgling Free Flash Fiction, and response to it has been good (okay, any response to a story I write is good, but this one seems to be striking an empathetic nerve in a lot of people).

So in celebration of being back, and having a story accepted, this weekend I’ll be offering another short story, “Tim and Sara,” for free on Kindle.

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital. Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

It’ll be free Saturday, August 18th, through Monday, August 20th.  Get it, read it, review it, and tell your friends!

Six Sentence Sunday 6/3 #sixsunday

Today’s six are from a mostly-written story I discovered in the bottom of a folder.

Luisa was fifteen when Carlos kissed her the first time, and she was sixteen when he kissed her the last time, when he started kissing Bonita.

“How could he do this to me, Abuela?” Luisa sobbed that night.

“Love is never free; there is always a price to pay. You must always decide what the cost will be, and who will pay it.”

Luisa thought about her grandmother’s words as she said her evening prayers. “Por favor, Dios mío, make the price Carlos pays steep.”

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StoryADay update No. 4 #storyaday

Here’s my report on this week’s progress for the May StoryADay Challenge.

So, I might’ve cheated a bit this week to make my goal.

  • I wrote five microfiction stories (50 words each) for a writing competition.  Three of them have already been submitted to various publications.
  • I’m also 1300 words into a short story, but I lost my mood for it.  I know where I want it to go, and hopefully I can finish it this weekend.
  • I wrote half a flash piece one day during my lunchtime monitoring duty, but haven’t had a chance to come back to it.

The official count: eight stories written and subbable.  Another eight are in various stages of being written. 

I’m officially done with the school year on Friday, and then all summer I’ll have projects and lesson planning but it’ll be more laid back, with time for writing so I can pull out fifteen finished stories. Hopefully.

If you’re doing the StoryADay challenge, how’s it going?

StoryADay update No. 2 #storyaday

As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing the May StoryADay Challenge.  Well, at least in theory.

Because, to be honest, I’m not doing so hot.

  • Day 1:  Wrote a 500 word flash story for a Flash 500 minicontest.  Yay me!
  • Day 2:  Wrote a 1500 word short story about a demon in Indiana.  Double yay me!
  • Day 3:  Was at a loss for what to write, but fortunately Cleverbot came to the rescue.  Wrote about 500 words of that story, and outlined the rest of it.  Creatively it’s titled “A Succubus and the Man Who Loves Her.”  Kinda yay me.
  • Day 4:  I had every intention of writing, but putting out fires at school left me pretty drained (So, funny story. I was driving to school and saw two kids walking down the middle of one of the main roads in town. “Please don’t be my students, please don’t be my students….Crap.” Later I found one of them and asked her, “Why were you walking down the middle of the street?” Her response: “My friend wanted to see if anyone would actually hit us.” Sigh.), and then I had to finish the monkey finger puppets I was making my little cousin for her birthday on Saturday.  No writing, no yay me.
  • Day 5:  Rush to finish the monkeys, then my kid’s swim lessons, then birthday party #1 for my cousin, then birthday party #2 for my grandma, then get the kid to bed and pass out on the couch.  Oops.
  • Day 6:  Had every intention of finishing a short I’ve been working on, “Bradley and the Midget,” but I started reading JD Field’s Rock Anthem and finished that instead.
  • Day 7:  Writing a story about those monkey puppets.  Kinda. I’m still working on it as I’m posting this blog, so I’m not sure how much I’ll end up with. 

So at the end of week 1, I have a completed flash story, a completed short story, an outlined story, and a chunk of something else.  It’s actually better than I thought it would be.

But hey, it’s a new week.  I can still pull this off. Probably.

If you’re doing the StoryADay challenge, how’s it going?

    StoryADay update No. 1 #storyaday

    As I said in a previous post, I’m participating in the May StoryADay Challenge.  Because I’m a crazy masochist like that.

    But I won’t be posting the stories here, like I did with posts in the A to Z April challenge.  First, most publications consider a story that appears on a blog to be published, so I’m not going to share for that reason.  And second, I’m lazy and busy.  Writing a post a day took a lot of time, and with the end of the school year in just a couple months, I don’t have the time to post every day, especially if I’m writing the story too.

    So instead, every five days or so I’ll give you an update.  Hopefully the pressure of writing them here, as well as the internet scorn and ridicule if I don’t make it, will keep me on track.

    So, Day 1:

    So far, I’m one for one.  I wrote a 400-word flash story called “Adolescence” (which also works for the Flash 500 prompt, which is to write a story without using any form of to be).

    Are you participating in this challenge?

    X is for eXtreme Writing #atozchallenge

    Day 24 of the Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: extreme writing.

    My colleagues and I (and yeah, that includes you, Scott-who-thinks-I-made-up-being-a-writer) have been talking the past week about saying no when we’re overwhelmed and asked to take on a new project. I’m pretty good about voicing my opinion on this subject (too good, maybe; I’ve been told I can no longer send group emails), as well as pretty good at holding to my convictions.

    And as I’ve posted several times this month, I’m kinda overwhelmed with projects at the moment, both in regards to writing and to the rest of my life.

    But then I heard about the May StoryADay Challenge.

    It’s a form of what’s called “Extreme Writing,” which emphasizes quantity over quality.  It’s about pushing yourself to do something, to get off your butt and, well, sit on your butt and write.  Kinda like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in November), but for short stories.

    And I, of course, signed up.

    So starting May 1st, I’ll be writing a story a day.  Many will be flash pieces, probably between 500-1000 words.  Most will probably suck.  All will be rough drafts, to sit patiently in the cloud and wait to be edited or deleted.

    I won’t be posting the stories here, because that counts as publishing them and I’d rather publish them for real, but I’ll give weekly updates as to my progress.

    For the writers out there, wanna join the insanity and write a story a day too?  For the nonwriters, any suggestions for story prompts?

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