Friday Fictioneers – In Memoriam

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL.

FF - In memoriam Lynne 181224

Copyright – Adam Ickes

In Memoriam

The time for fighting was past.

The time for prayers was past.

Words of love and consolation had been spoken; a painful balm for an atrocious parting.

A breeze through the open window softened the summer heat in the sickroom, where she lay breathing gently, unconscious and free of pain. Her husband held her hand. Her two, grown-up daughters sat by the bed. Her sisters were close. She was so peaceful that none of those she loved could tell when the end came.

Wife, mother, teacher.

Sister, feminist, friend.

Who will fill her shoes now?

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What Pegman Saw – Overcoming

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a Pegman story – many thanks to Karen for providing such a stimulating prompt this week!

WPS - Overcoming 181215

Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout, Big Sky, Montana

Overcoming

It was four o’clock before Jodie parked her old compact under the trees at the trailhead. The nervous tension of driving had taken its toll. She was pooped.

She checked her backpack; sleeping bag, meals, and water, with bear spray easily accessible. All very well for her therapist to encourage her to face her fears; he wasn’t likely to run up against a live bear.

She climbed. It was tough. Even before she reached the tree line she was wondering whether to turn back.

“Keep going, girl,” she muttered to herself. “You daren’t let yourself be beaten this time.” Every rustle from the forest brought thoughts of wild animals.

The sky was awash with the aftermath of sunset as she arrived at the shelter. She nibbled a sandwich and watched the day fade. One by one the stars appeared, until the Milky Way arched gloriously across the heavens.

Jodie wept.

Friday Fictioneers – Betrayal

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Betrayal 181212

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Betrayal

After the betrayal Samuel had hidden in the garage and turned to Facebook for consolation.

“In life, we never lose friends, we only learn who the true ones are.”

The truism had hit him like a bullet.

The one person – the one person he had entrusted with his secret, had told the world. Now everybody knew that Samuel was gay. Now he had no friends at all.

The daintily typeset words on the screen mocked him as his feet kicked and the noose tightened around his neck.

Friday Fictioneers – Escape

NaNoWriMo is over for this year, and I’m delighted to have succeeded in writing 50,000 words of a novel in the month. I’m now trying to continue at the same pace until the first draft is finished.

However, this week the siren voice of Friday Fictioneers has lured me into the shoals of flash fiction, especially as Rochelle has picked such an evocative photoprompt from Dawn. Thank you to both of you!

Friday Fictioneers - Escape 181206

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

Escape

If Saaburah had looked back, she would have seen a smudge of smoke on the horizon where her house had once stood, but she didn’t look back.

If she had listened to her memories, she would have heard gunfire, screams, and the roar of fire as her family and friends were slaughtered, but she didn’t listen to her memories.

With her baby swaddled against her breast, she had walked towards the border, at first alone, then with a few others, then with a multitude.

Filthy, exhausted, frightened, they streamed across the railway bridge into Bangladesh, homeless, stateless.

Alive.

NaNoWriMo – The Dove on the Pergola

NaNoWriMo

The dove on the pergola - Holi 180731

For those of you who haven’t come across this before, “NaNoWriMo” is the (rather ugly) contraction of National Novel Writing Month, which is the (slightly misleading) title of an international writing event. The idea of the event is that you write a novel during the month of November. To qualify as a winner, you have to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. And that’s tough.

Now, in my writing CV I can claim to have completed 2 novels and half-completed a third. Additionally, at the end of October I had the plot and some reasonable research for a fourth. I was struggling, though, getting bogged down in the detail. I was also spending much writing time and creative effort on writing flash fiction, which is fun, but if that’s all you do it’s like trying to survive solely on candy.

So I thought I’d give NaNoWriMo my best shot.

The first thing I realised was that I had to write the novel. The words had to go into the text. If I didn’t average 1670 words each and every day, I wasn’t going to succeed.

What did this mean in practice?

It meant:

  • Stop plotting – you’ve got word count to meet.
  • Stop researching – you’ve got word count to meet. (Hack for this – put in a provisional word/phrase in red, so that it’s easy to check in a subsequent edit of the draft)
  • Strictly limited time for editing.

Forcing myself to stick to this was really difficult, especially restraining my urge to edit!

What do I have at the end? 16 chapters – 53,000 words – of a rather badly written novel, “The Dove on the Pergola”.

Would I have this without NaNoWriMo? Definitely not. Would I have even one well-written chapter? Almost certainly not.

So, what would I have?

A lot of detailed notes and a maze of plotting getting in the way of writing…

And, to my surprise, the simple act of writing has clarified the plot and grown the characters. So, as well as 16 chapters written, I have a pretty clear idea of what I need to write to complete the novel.

I’m going to continue with similar intensity until the first draft of the novel is complete (going to allow myself Sundays off, though). Then I’m going to leave the manuscript for a short time while I work out a plan to edit it, a plan which will set targets for achievement that will limit the time I spend editing. (NaNoWriMo have an editing programme in the New Year, I believe, and I’m going to check it out).

Then I’m going to edit the manuscript, sticking to those targets, until I have a completely edited text. At that point, and not before, I shall print out the novel, and invite my trusted reader to give me her honest and unvarnished opinion… (Judgement Day!)

Was I a winner? Yes, I was – but the big win is having completed those precious 16 chapters that are going to be the basis of my novel. And maybe an even bigger win is that I now have a better understanding of how I need to work in future.

So thank you to the genius who came up with NaNoWriMo!

And a special thank you to Gabi, for being my writing buddy during the month. Those emails gave a precious extra boost to morale when it could have flagged!

It was a great and productive experience!