Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TMI

Ever read a short story and realize about five paragraphs in that nothing has actually happened yet? Ever find that after a few pages you are still in the midst of the most painstakingly dull description of a room and all its contents, of the MC's morning routine (because every story should start when the character wakes up...), and her every thought while she eats a hearty and well-described breakfast?

You are not alone. Everyday, countless readers fall prey to these dreary passages, often written by overzealous writers eager to display their exceptional descriptive skills and world-building abilities. Thankfully, there is hope.

"...and next to the large, imposing screwdriver was yet another, smaller in stature yet similar in look, sitting underneath the most precariously hanging pair of red-handled pliers, which themselves were next to..."

Similar to the debilitating disease known as "mirror lists", filling the opening scene of a story, especially a shorter piece, with Too Much Information is one of the surest ways to kill the action on arrival. Plot, setting, history (back story), and character are all  very lovely things to have in your story (and every good story should have at least some of these elements) but simply having these things and then regurgitating all that raw information back at the reader does not a story make.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vote or Die

No, not really - just hold on and let me explain. For those of you who read my last post - the flash fiction piece "Repay" - you may have noted that it was part of a larger project, known as a "blogfest" 'round these parts, and this one in particular was a sort of contest.

Well, the top six finalist were chosen earlier today and...I was chosen as one of them!


Now, I am not asking for blind support. No, that is not in my best interest at all. What I am asking, however, is for you, dear reader, to visit the blog of Cherie Reich and *read* all of the wonderful finalist linked there and then vote for your favorite.

I won't say that mine is the best (hell, I didn't even vote for me) so I want you all to go, read some new stories by bloggers you may not have been aware of before, and vote for your favorite.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Repay

This is my entry for Cherie Reich's 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest. Word count: 289. Enjoy!



Lightning flashed, and with it the face inside the hallway disappeared. Val strained her eyes from her cemented position on the tile floor, limbs tense, hardly flinching as the monstrous round of thunder cracked a second later, igniting half the car alarms down the street. There was nothing though, those eyes, the faint outline of a woman staring back at her from the black, all of her gone with that quick instance of luminescence.

 Her mouth had been moving, no words but wordless lip-shapes, and though she couldn't hear, Val seemed to know what the woman had been saying. "Repay the gift", she saw the words in her head, "repay the gift", familiar, as was the face floating without a body just beyond the dim porch light shining in through the window. Rain pattered, light for a few drops before suddenly becoming a heavy release of water, the smacking sound loud enough to dampen every other noise in the house - the drip of the faucet, the hum of the ceiling fan, Val's own rasping breath.

She felt a presence behind her, cold blow of her shoulder, icy. Too terrified to turn, let alone move her eyes, Val felt a touch move down her shoulder, against her arm, past her elbow, and lightning flashed. She saw in that moment the mutilated arm, woman's hand, fingers painted gory where painted finger nails should have been. And it guided her hand to the nearby kitchen drawer, knife drawer, so gently, delicate and loving.

"Repay" the woman whispered unseen, below the distant rumbles, numbing cold on Val's ear. And lightning flashed. Val was alone, shivering, hand scarcely able to hold onto the slick plastic grip of the sharpened chef's blade it held.