Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘short story

OLWG#47 – Love is not love… – #amwriting

with 4 comments

This week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts guided me to taking my title from the Bard himself.

I’m not at all sure if the below works as a story, and I don’t know where this little character came from, but I’d be happy to meet with her again.

As ever thank you to TNKerr for hosting this challenge.

 

Love is not love…

Susie has never been good at taking orders. She would rather fall over her laces than be told to tie them. She wears her clothes inside out when the mood takes her, refuses to brush her hair, and relishes in being an oik, nutter, dozy cow and other things she is labelled in school. She will never be a plastic. Being different is cool.

Susie knows that without love she wouldn’t be able to be the child she is. Without acceptance from her family that she’ll grow out of it eventually, she would be buffeted by demands to change, demands she would have to ignore. But it’s true to say Susie’s inability to tow the normal line infuriates some members of her family more than others. Grandpa and Grandma give her all their love and let her be. She goes to their nondescript flat in the middle of the block most days after school. She sometimes turns the place into a riot, and her grandparents smile at the attention she brings their way. Because some attention is better than no attention.

When Grandpa opens to door to Susie in her get-up of dungarees and pigtails, he asks if she has come to paint his ceilings. ‘Or is it mufty day at school?’ Susie scowls then jumps into his arms grinning. Grandpa understands her need to be different, her need to be her.

The three of them make hot chocolate, Grandpa, Grandma and Susie. They huddle together in the kitchen and melt 70% chocolate drops into Guernsey milk. They sit around the table and each holds his or her mug with two hands, supping in silence. Later they watch TV and Susie scans the sitting for anything that has changed since yesterday. She will notice a book removed from the bookcase, or a wilting flower. Her observation skills are acute. Perhaps they come from being watched and pointed at all the time. Today her eyes are drawn upwards and soon they are all watching the spider high up in the corner as it spins its web, extending its home. A plastic would jump and scream behind her hands until Grandpa dealt with the monster. A boy might swipe web and spider away. Susie and Grandpa and Grandma sit and watch silk spun into beauty.

When it’s time to go, Grandpa and Grandma walk Susie home, handing her back to her parents in time for an early night. They group hug on the doorstep, five of them stroking cheeks, patting hands, rubbing shoulders, waiting to do it all again tomorrow.

Susie finishes her homework without needing to be told. She cleans her teeth then backcombs her hair before getting into bed. She reads for a little while before switching off the light. A girl needs her sleep if she is to keep up being different. And there are degrees of different, some more acceptable than others.

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

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Written by Sarah Ann

April 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Vote for me! Vote for me! – #amwriting #BlankPC

with 6 comments

I have been placed joint second in March’s The Blank Page Short Story Challenge judging panel vote! My story and two others are online to be read and voted on – the people shall choose their winner. So click here, read and vote for me. Or better still, read all three stories and vote for the one you think is the best and should therefore win.

 

 

You’ve got until Thursday May 3rd to make me a winner:    http://bit.ly/sarahhallmarch18

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 13/4/18 – Better Together

with 43 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

My muse decided to take a break when I looked at this week’s prompt, so I went to hubby to see what he could see.

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting and Yarnspinnerr for this week’s prompt.

 

© Yarnspinnerr

Better Together

(Genre: comic; 100-words)

‘What the – ’

Burt surveyed the veranda fan, twisted and beaten out of shape. It had been fine when he left, and nothing else was damaged.

Scratching his head he lurched inside, ‘Gotta stop drinking so much.’

A second after the fly-screen banged shut, the beetles started giggling.

The moths twitched with pleasure, speeding towards the light.

‘Nah nah nah naah nah,’ sang the mosquitoes.

‘I never thought we’d manage it,’ breathed the fireflies.

Later that evening: ‘It’s amazing what a unified legion of pissed off flying insects can achieve,’ observed the bats, whilst flitting in for an exceptionally fine supper.

 

OLWG#44 – Steady as She Goes

with 4 comments

Having made a pledge to post my responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts within 4-days of their posting, I am 5-days late. I did write this on Thursday last, but I was on a ferry en route to France where I spent a few days walking in the sun, shopping, eating far too much, and generally having good time.

Thanks to TNKerr for posting each week, and waiting for me to catch up.

 

Steady as She Goes

‘Hold it steady.’

‘I’m trying.’

‘You’re very trying.’

‘Do you want me to help?’

‘No. I want to be able to do it myself. It would be quieter.’

‘Yes, but you can’t balance the bike vertically and apply enough pressure to move the nuts.’

‘I don’t need reminding.’

‘You decided travel by motorbike was more environmentally friendly, and would be easier to work on if ever something went wrong.’

‘Bullshit.’

‘You did. Fewer emissions, more fuel economy. More wrinkles for me and the need to slather on moisturiser, as if I need anything to accelerate the affects of old age.’

‘I meant about it being easier to work on. I never said that. I don’t know what I’m doing. At least car engines are laid out relatively the same way. I don’t know what’s what on motorbike.’

‘So why are we doing this?’

‘Because I want to try. Or because I’m a bloody-minded fool?’

‘You said it. You don’t have the patience these days. Or the time.’

‘That’s true, about the time at least. Will you hold it steady?’

‘Will you give up and phone a garage?’

‘In a minute. Just let me see if I can – Bugger.’

‘Here, use this.’

‘What the?’

‘Well surely a ratchet at this point would be easier than a spanner.’

‘You said you didn’t have it.’

‘I said I hadn’t found it. You didn’t give me time to get to the bottom of the tool kit before you started moaning and digging out the right-sized spanner. As I said, you’ve got patience issues.’

‘You didn’t tell me you’d found it.’

‘No. I was being bloody-minded.’

’Why?’

‘I felt like it. I’m here to help and all you do is complain. It’s not my fault your bike went wrong, again. It’s not my fault you’re not a bike mechanic. It’s not my fault your bike is too heavy for me to pin between my knees and hold steady while you push and heave trying to remove that seized nut.’

‘Fine. I give up. Let’s call the garage.’

‘I didn’t say – ’

‘You didn’t need to. You’re bored, fed-up, annoyed, whatever.’

‘It’s not that black or white. I feel useless. The one thing you want me to do, hold it steady, I’m not equipped in the strength department to do, so I feel inadequate. You can’t do what you want to and I can’t do what you want me to.’

‘Thanks for the ratchet. These nuts will go back much more quickly.’

‘But – ’

‘You’re right. This is stupid. I’ll phone the breakdown people, get the bike taken to be fixed by someone who knows what they’re doing. We can start on the fence instead.’

‘What!’

‘It’s sunny outside. We can paint the fence. Hey, hold it steady, I’ve got two left.’

‘And then I’m going out.’

‘What?’

‘You paint the fence if you want to, but you’ll be doing it alone. I agreed to help with your bike. I said nothing about giving up my day to get your other jobs done.’

‘What do you want to do instead?’

‘Go for a walk. Enjoy the sun while it’s here.’

‘Fine. You’ve convinced me. Just as long as there’s a beer halfway.’

‘Agreed.’

‘Finished. That’s the last one back. Let’s get going.’

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. black or white
  2. use this
  3. bullshit

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

April 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 6/4/18 – Like Mother Like Daughter

with 37 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I’m obviously ill as I’m posting on Wednesday. Actually, I’m out of the country for two days so if I don’t post now I won’t. I’ll catch up with reading and commenting next week. My story is very rushed and bound to be full of holes so tell me where they are. I couldn’t even get to 100-words, no time, no time, falling down a rabbit hole….

Thanks to Rochelle and Dale this week.

 

© Dale Rogerson

 

Like Mother Like Daughter

(Genre: general fiction; 99-words)

Jenna’s mother taught her how to weave: how to select the canes, soak them, bend them to her will. Never satisfied with the way of things, Jenna experimented with shape and purpose, interweaving feathers and dried flowers, ribbons of paper, making each creation unique to the person for whom it was formed.

Daytrippers saw proud villagers walk about with baskets slung over arm, or lampshades on windowsills, and wanted to pay extortionate sums for something of their own to show off. Jenna turned them all down. ‘Tis not the way of things,’ she told them. ’Tis not my way.’

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 4, 2018 at 8:10 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 23/3/18 – At the Crossroads

with 43 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

At my writer’s group this week we discussed metaphor in the short story using ‘It’s Beginning to Hurt’ by James Lasdun as an example. I think I have too literal a mind as opposed to a literary one. I don’t see or get metaphors. If someone writes about a fish (as above), it’s a fish, and leaving said fish in a filing cabinet is down to being a busy preoccupied person, not a representation of a failing marriage. But hey, as writers, we need to jump outside what we know and comes easy to develop our skills.

With thanks to Björn for this week’s photo and Rochelle for hosting.

 

© Björn Rudberg

 

At the Crossroads

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

The road ahead was stony and twisting, a hastily laid track thrown down without forethought. The one behind was equally uneven, marked by the rocks of career progression and oxbows of failed relationships. To left and right the paths appeared smooth and well made, but both branched giving no clue as to their ending; how long before they reached a cliff edge?

There was nothing to indicate which route might provide the best outcome, only a surety that continuing straight would be as hard as he’d come. He took one last look, before dismissing thoughts of ease, and stepped forward.

 

 

OLWG#42 – Lesson Learnt #amwriting

with 8 comments

Here is a short story in response to week 42 of the New Unofficial On-line Writer’s Guild prompts. My story started out as a jolly little caper, and then took a different course.

 

Lesson Learnt

The last time I saw her, Millie was walking away cheerily, a skip in her step. She had a new job, and a boyfriend who had just declared everlasting love. After the hormonal turmoil of her teenage years, and the stumbling entry into her twenties, she had settled into a comfortable existence. She wasn’t about to fetch pipe and slippers and fall into a boring drawn out middle age, but she was happy with herself, her body, her state of mind, her prospects.

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Millie wasn’t like that. She knew exactly what she had and meant to cling on to it. I am the one who has to address my complacency. I was neglectful, too easy going, the opposite of Millie. While she had recognised her good fortune and was determined to make the most of it, I had not. I watched her walk away without saying I loved her. I assumed we would meet again, just as we had after every other lunch date in our lives. There would come another day soon when we would sit for a couple of hours, drink coffee and compare notes on salad dressings or cake recipes.

But that isn’t to be, not since the proverbial death bus knocked her over and she sustained life-changing head injuries. Life-changing. What a catchall meaningless phrase.

I didn’t go to the hospital. I left the usual crowd to do the bedside vigil for tube-fed, tube-oxygenated, tube-cleaned Millie, while I held on to my image of a happy dancing one, the girl with a good life ahead of her who knew she was loved. I hope she knew she was loved by me, and I regret never saying it aloud.

After six weeks of no change in her condition, Millie’s parents were advised to let nature take its course. If it had been me making that decision I wonder if I would have been able to let her go. I know I would have been keeping her alive for my own reasons.

Today we say goodbye. We will go to church and sing, we will meet in the pub after and drink and reminisce. And before I get drunk and maudlin, while the words from my mouth still have meaning, I will tell my friends I love them. Each one, individually, will hear from my lips how much they mean to me and make my life worth living.

________

 

Having done a bit of Googling and reading around ‘what is/ how to write’ a short story over the last week, I am trying to put into effect some of what I’ve gleaned. The first six sessions of the Reedsy Learning course, How to Craft a Killer Short Story, have been useful in helping me analyse my writing. So I have to ask:

Is my story focused and concise? I think so.

What literally happens? Someone dies.

What is explored below the surface? Loss, love, regret.

Is it emotionally true? Yes.

Does it have strong voice, details, perspective? A strong voice, few details, clear perspective.

Does my character have a lot going on under the surface that comes through implicitly? I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure.

Do I get to the conflict straight away by starting as close to the end as possible? No.

Does each sentence advance the plot or reveal something about the character? I think so. This question did prompt me to make changes during a last read through.

 

________

This week’s OLWG prompts are:

  1. the last time…
  2. Let her go
  3. the usual crowd was there

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

 

Written by Sarah Ann

March 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm

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