Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

#FridayFictioneers – 30/11/12 – Blissfield & Andy’s Birthday

with 16 comments

Each Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to stimulate writers. Every Friday the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word stories. Visit Rochelle’s site for the rules to join in and check out the others’ stories here.



This week I focussed on the man with the bag. He’s looking back, so I thought maybe he’s waiting for, or running from, someone. I tried, but I couldn’t make a story work. I showed hubby the photo and asked what he saw – a dead seaside town in winter. That was news to me, so I went with it until I got bogged down in misery. As I struggled to get the last line to work (I still don’t like it), I revisited my running man, and suddenly everything clicked. So I’m doing an Abraham this week and posting two stories. Comments please!


Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


Blissfield (100 words)

Blissfield – a town by the sea.

In winter the lights blaze, but everywhere is silence after the hum of summer. As the vacationers blow out with the autumn storms, the locals return to their favourite haunts. Sally throws pennies at the slots; Basil fishes off the pier; Freddie bags up abandoned loyalty cards, forever looking for the big one.

The cold dives in after New Year. People cross the street rather than expose flesh to talk to neighbours. Friends huddle together on sofas and dream.

The Easter bunny brings strangers to dance under the glare, and Blissfield lives again.


Andy’s Birthday (100 words)

‘He can’t have got that far. What was in the bag?’


‘But you were chasing him.’

‘It’s not important.’

‘Come on. You don’t chase people for the fun of it. Not in your condition.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘You could lose a few pounds?’

‘That’s the first you’ve mentioned it.’

‘I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.’

‘So you wait until now to dig the knife in.’

‘No, I didn’t mean –‘

‘Oh forget it.’

Roger went back to his drink. A smile flicked over his lips. He looked forward to tomorrow and telling Andy about his present.





Written by Sarah Ann

November 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm

16 Responses

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  1. I liked the first story a lot. Your portrayal of the town in winter was excellent. That last sentence did seem a little off, but I think it’s the Easter bunny… conjures up scary images of a goofily-costumed adult asking innocent children to sit on his lap and let another stranger photograph them together. (Yes, I have Easter Bunny issues! You would, too, if you ever had to steer your precious babies away from our local Walmart’s garish, slightly-filthy bunny! :)) Maybe “May brings strangers to dance…” or something less emotionally jarring than the Easter bunny. Overall, I loved it, though. Just. No. Creepy. Bunny. Please. 😉


    November 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    • Okay, no more Easter Bunny stories. Ever. But I’m pleased you enjoy the rest of it.

      Sarah Ann

      December 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

  2. I like the seasonal contrasts of your first piece and your choice of name. I don’t really get the second one, undoubtedly me just being obtuse, other than that the birthday gift was stolen (at least I think so.)


    November 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    • Yep, the birthday gift was in the bag, but it’s my writing that didn’t make it clear not you being obtuse. I’ll try harder next time! I’m glad you like the first one, I’m still not sure I do. And I have no idea where the name came from unless it was supposed to be an ironic contrast to the feel of the place in winter.

      Sarah Ann

      December 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm

  3. I like them both – in the first story, I especially like the phrase “the cold dives in”. It’s such an appropriate image for a shore town, as if the cold were an out of season tourist. And in the second story, the dialog crackles along wonderfully. My only problem is that I’m not sure which character is speaking which line! Maybe just one or two tags – “Roger said”, “Andy said” – would make it even better.


    December 1, 2012 at 2:57 am

    • Point taken on story two. I needed to make clear that Andy was the first to speak and then it would have worked better. And I’m glad you like the diving cold. It took a while to find the right verb instead of something tedious like arrives, falls etc.

      Sarah Ann

      December 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

  4. I like the complexity of the first one. I like the “Friends huddle on the sofa and dream.” Nice. I agree the second could use a few tags, although I found their voices distinct.

    The Bumble Files

    December 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

    • I’m glad the characters came across. I’ve made a mental note to make it clearer who’s saying what next time I try to tell a story with mostly dialogue – it’s not something I’m used to doing.

      Sarah Ann

      December 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

  5. Two for the price of one! I liked the first one very much. There’s nothing more poignant, I always think, than the ‘seasonality’ of towns. They can almost tangibly die, only to be resurrected at the start of the next season. You got that across well.


    December 1, 2012 at 9:06 am

    • Poignant. Yes, that’s the word, and one I need to move up in my vocabulary list instead of sticking with miserable all the time. I appreciate the difference; I just err on the negative side. I’m glad you like it and thank you for the comments. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      December 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

  6. I really liked the first story, Sarah. Nice imagery and texture to it.

    Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

    December 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

  7. The first story reminds me of how I feel in the winter. HATE going out in the cold. Would rather sit inside with pajamas and a warm cup of tea.

    Shirley McCann

    December 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

  8. Dear Sarah Ann,

    In the first story the Easter Bunny kind of jarred the mood of the piece and in the second I found it hard to follow what had happened. Reading the comments I was able to divine what had happened to whom and when so the mystery has been cleared up. I love the name Blissfield. Can’t overstate that. Perfect name for a town in the strange territory of a writer’s mind.



    Douglas MacIlroy

    December 2, 2012 at 2:44 am

  9. The first one I think summarized an abandoned beach city perfectly. Especially how people cross the street rather than talk to each other.


    December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  10. First of all, thanks for the mention.

    I also like the Blissfield story more, with vacationers who blow out with the autumn storms 🙂

    I was able to follow the dialogue in the second one, but also did not get the end.
    Andy is elsewhere, not taking part in the conversation, right?


    December 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    • Hi Abraham,
      I’m a bit late following this up – apologies.
      Andy was the one who started the conversation, which is why I need to look at identifying my speakers more clearly in my next dialogue piece!

      Sarah Ann

      December 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm

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