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JanC
October 16th, 2010, 05:05 AM
Every Friday a friend and I get together via Skype, pick a prompt and set the timer for 5 minutes of frantic writing. We then post our stories on our respective blogs.

Today's prompt was: When he got there her desk was in disarray and the phone was off the hook.

Here's the story I wrote:

A Missed Opportunity


Jack ignored the waiter's obvious stare and dialed Sylvia's number again. He had been trying to reach her for an hour, but all he got was her voice mail.


He fingered the ring in his pocket and thought again about the words he had rehearsed all week.


It wasn't like her not to call if she was going to be late.


He finally gave up, paid for his drink and drove over to her apartment. When she didn't answer the door, he used his key.


When he got there her desk was in disarray and the phone was off the hook. The room looked like a war zone.


They had talked about this...what they should do if either one of them were ever found, but now that it had happened, all the plans they had made went right out the window. Jack was not going to leave town on the next plane, he was going to find her...and he was going to kill the man that he should have killed three years ago!

Tom88
October 16th, 2010, 05:26 AM
Sounds like the written equivalent of a great action movie trailer. Pretty impressive what you did with the prompt.

JanC
October 16th, 2010, 05:47 AM
Thanks, Tom! I'm new to fiction writing, so I'm happy to hear you liked it. I have more Flash Fiction on my blog...She fancied herself a writer... (http://yackyjan.blogspot.com)

michaelcthompson
October 16th, 2010, 05:33 PM
This is alright, it ends kind of abruptly but I guess that's the problem with flash fiction. This almost sounds like something you would read on the cover of a book to get you to open it.


It wasn't like her not to call if she was going to be late.

This line has a double-negative!

JanC
October 16th, 2010, 08:36 PM
You're right, Michael - flash fiction is a real challenge for me. My goal is to have a complete story within the five minutes, but when the time starts running out, I tend to panic, so when I try to wrap it up, sometimes everything just comes to an abrupt halt. Thanks for pointing out the double negative. That's why I like other people reading my work. Sometimes I miss things. Going into my original doc to fix it now.

garza
October 16th, 2010, 09:59 PM
That particular double negative is quite all right. It properly expresses the idea.

I've been beaten up on another board for not believing in writer's block. After several blows to the head and googling, I have had to admit there is such a thing. This five-minute flash fiction sounds like just the ticket to cure writer's block, especially with someone else watching. On the other board I explain how as a child I was accustomed to having my Irish grandfather demand an instant story at any time. That was good training. He was a master story teller himself and expected me to be the same. I suspect that's why writer's block is something I really don't understand.

michaelcthompson
October 16th, 2010, 10:36 PM
That particular double negative is quite all right. It properly expresses the idea.

I've been beaten up on another board for not believing in writer's block. After several blows to the head and googling, I have had to admit there is such a thing. This five-minute flash fiction sounds like just the ticket to cure writer's block, especially with someone else watching. On the other board I explain how as a child I was accustomed to having my Irish grandfather demand an instant story at any time. That was good training. He was a master story teller himself and expected me to be the same. I suspect that's why writer's block is something I really don't understand.

I understand where you are coming from about writer's block. I think for myself, more often than not, writer's block used to be an excuse to not write. I think that it's really more a description of the symptoms of lacking confidence in one's writing. There is a cure for it, though - thinking outside the box. And it requires a lot of will power to overcome sometimes as well.

So is it real? Only if you think it is!

JanC
October 16th, 2010, 10:43 PM
Thanks, Garza. I did change it a bit in my original doc:

From: "It wasn't like her not to call if she was going to be late."

To: "This wasn't like her. She always called if she was going to be late."


I think it flows better.


About the writer's block thing. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I may not experience it, but if they do, then it's real to them and they need to find a way to work around it so that they can move ahead with their writing. Not everyone experiences like like the next person.


Your Grandfather sounds like a very interesting person.

garza
October 16th, 2010, 11:43 PM
That is better. The two negatives falling so close together could cause confusion for the reader.

I was severely chastised in the other thread for making light of writer's block, and I suppose if a person believes it's real, then it's real.

My maternal grandfather was the type of person you would wish could live forever. He and my grandmother were from Belfast, but from opposite sides of the road. She was Orange and he was Irish. When he was 17 and she was 14 they ran away and got married. She was read out of the Kirk and promptly became a Roman Catholic, more Catholic than the Catholics. They migrated to the U.S. while they were still in their teens.

He was a great storyteller himself and would often catch me by surprise with something like 'tell me about your friend Charlie' and if I happened not to have a friend named Charlie I had to make one up and tell about him. And there could be no delay. I was supposed to start talking immediately. He would have approved of your Friday flash fiction exercise.

JanC
October 16th, 2010, 11:48 PM
They both sound like wonderful people, Garza. I bet their story would make a wonderful book. Maybe you should write it?????

garza
October 17th, 2010, 01:41 AM
I don't know enough of the small details to make it a genuine family history, but I believe I know enough to form the basis of a novel. I've got a lot of childhood memories stored up and I've been thinking of starting with them, weaving them into a story, then flashback to my grandparents at the time they met.

My paternal grandmother was as interesting as my maternal grandfather. She was the college-educated daughter of a rabbi and spoke German, Yiddish, and English. Her family had moved to the U.S. in the early 1870s and settled in east-central Mississippi. She married a farmer and converted to Baptist, sort of. She was in the church for every service and took an active part, but quietly observed Jewish holidays and insisted on enrolling me in Hebrew school when I was three.

I've been playing around with the idea of weaving all this into some sort of plot.

JanC
October 17th, 2010, 03:58 AM
I think that's a great idea - you should do it!

garza
October 17th, 2010, 04:59 AM
I've already got a rough story line written.

michaelcthompson
October 17th, 2010, 06:06 AM
You're right, Michael - flash fiction is a real challenge for me. My goal is to have a complete story within the five minutes, but when the time starts running out, I tend to panic, so when I try to wrap it up, sometimes everything just comes to an abrupt halt. Thanks for pointing out the double negative. That's why I like other people reading my work. Sometimes I miss things. Going into my original doc to fix it now.

That's the problem with flash fiction, though. You can't get a whole story into such a short amount of space - at least not one that's worth hearing! The best one can hope to achieve is what you've created here, an intriguing initial premise, but only the most basic foundation of an actual story. It's not a problem with your writing, it's the problem with flash fiction in general.