Senselessness in Suburbia: a flash fiction

(Note: This is a quick short story in response to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge on 5/12/14. Please let me know what you think!)

 Suburban_neighborhood,_Van_Nuys,_CA

 

Senselessness in Suburbia

Ellen opened her eyes and blinked until the chair rungs came into focus. Her head ached and she felt nauseous. She lifted her right hand to the painful spot on the top of her head and groaned softly. . . .

Sorry, folks. I’ve taken this one down to publish it.

The End of NaNoWriMo 2012

Winner-180x180

Here we are, the final day of NaNoWriMo 2012. I’ve got a cup of amaretto hot chocolate and about 1,200 words to write yet. Unless the 2 year old has other ideas, it shouldn’t be a problem to finish. I don’t have big plans to celebrate. This cup of hot chocolate and maybe a nap is about the size of it. I’m simply enjoying the sense of accomplishment of being able to say I wrote at least 50,000 words this month and didn’t lose my mind. In fact, I really enjoyed it.

There’s been a lot of emotion spilled out on the page, both mine and my character’s. It’s been an interesting month of writing. Except for a few zigs to the left and zags to the right, I’ve pretty much kept up with my daily word count for a change. Perhaps that because I chose to be a NaNo Rebel this time around.

I started out thinking I would pick a different prompt every day and write a collection of short stories, essays, blog posts, poetry, etc. – one thing complete every day. There were short stories, some of them finished, but I was surprised to find a couple that I think could actually turn into novels in the future. There were some short stories that went nowhere and some that took multiple days. No poetry but lots of blog posts and several essays.

So, it didn’t quite work out the way I planned. When does NaNoWriMo ever? Heck, when does a piece of writing ever start at point A and simply arrive at point B like you planned? It’s pretty unusual for me, but that’s part of the journey. We start out and find the horizon moves as we walk towards it.

I’d like to get one more really short story in. I’ve always enjoyed the flash fiction genre. I’ve been shooting for anywhere from 50 words to 1,500. It’s a challenge and small work of word art to make a complete story arc in that amount of words. I’ll go find a prompt and see what I can do then post this when I’ve completed my NaNoWriMo word count.

Post script – It’s done. 50,228 words and the start of some kind of space opera.  Not a complete story yet but the start of something is certainly a good thing too. Right, time to make a tomato and bacon bit sandwich. Cheers!

The end draws nigh…

This past week I’ve felt a little in limbo with my writing.  I’m quite sure there was a list of things I wanted to get done this year and, as the end of January approaches, I have the sinking feeling that I haven’t made much progress in checking things off my list.  I feel like I’ve just been keeping my head above water and lucky to get a little bit done every day. 

The Yahoo! Contributor Network asked for flash fiction on a Display Only basis so I gave them my homage to Gershwin and Dubose Heyward’s Porgy and Bess.  I called it Sweet Summertime.    (I do like how you can generally find a picture in their files to go with what you are submitting.)  I wrote that a couple weeks ago so not much effort on my part there. 

 They had also asked for a short story based on an image but I’ve looked through my files and nothing is inspiring me right now.  I think my muse took a mid-winter vacation.  I may have to get off the beaten path and create something original to submit, which is what I tend to do anyway, see what bubbles up through the seamy underside of my brain. 

 This past week I’ve been writing just a tiny bit on a new short story each night before I fall asleep. Unfortunately, this is not my most creative or productive time.  But then, muse deficient writers take what they can get and you shouldn’t look a gift goat in the mouth.  (They eat everything.)  Morning is definitely a better time for me to write but since I’m in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation, that’s a little hard to do and make it to work on time.

 Makes me start wondering about the incidence of Hollywood remakes these days.  Could it be we’re all a little muse deprived?  (Heck, that flash fiction was an homage.)  Anyway, I just saw a blip that said there’s going to be a Super Bowl commercial starring good old Ferris Bueller.  Makes me feel kind of nostalgic.  I may have to look for an old eighties film this weekend.

 I’m also reading a book of short urban fantasy stories, Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow – very well crafted short stories by authors like Jim Butcher, Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman.  I’ve noticed Jim Butcher contributing to quite a few of these types of collections in the past few years.  Seems almost a little backwards, attain your rep as a writer and then you can start contributing to anthologies.  Didn’t it used to be the other way around?  Write short stories to get your chops then you can get a publishing contract for books.  I’ll admit I’m enjoying the short stories a little more these days and admiring authors for developing characters, setting and plot well in a short format.  There’s nothing extra in these stories and they pull you along at a fast clip.

 Anybody else experiencing a seasonal slump?  I’m going to have to get my muse a calendar or Day Planner, maybe a Blackberry.

Flash Fiction

I have heard of flash fiction, of course, but I must confess that I’ve never given this fun genre a try.  That changed last night.  My Yahoo! Contributor Network assignment desk offered a flash fiction assignment in 50 words or less.  I thought, this is perfect for someone with my limited time! 

Somehow I still didn’t get to try it during the day.  Then my daughter took two hours getting to sleep and woke up less than half an hour later.  As I sat rocking her, I began to think and plot, as my mind is wont to do.  I thought of the night our house was hit by a tornado and how so much had happened in so short a time.  Could I write a flash peice where so much happens in so few words?  I could and did. 

Then it occurred to me that isn’t fiction.  It’s a flash story, but not fiction, so I’m still thinking about it and playing with it.  I started to do a little research and learned that flash fiction word limits are variable, depending on who is assigning it.  I like the idea of writing a complete story with rising action, a climax and falling action in just 50 words though.  I’m up to the challenge.  Anybody out there written any?