No, not that kind of trashy story! 😉 A while back, I did a prompted writing challenge where each of us selected something from the Humans of New York Facebook page as inspiration for a story. I selected the photo below because on occasion my “Look in that pile” filing system breaks down, and I end up frantically searching for some important piece of paper.
Now I had to turn the situation into a story. The receipt was obviously important enough to go digging through the trash, but what was it for? What was really at stake for my main character? I had been wanting to stretch myself and write more speculative fiction as well, so after some mulling, I came up with the flash fiction piece Refuse to See. It was published by NewMyths.com and also included in their first “Best Of” anthology, Passages, which contains several stories and poems about entering the different stages of life.
If you enjoyed the story or want to share your adventure of misplacement, please let me know.
Writers tend to be divided between two camps: “Plotters” and “Pantsers.” Plotters create rigorous outlines and character data sheets before squaring off against the blank page, and Pantsers, well, fly by the seat of their pants. A friend of mine uses the term “Plantser” for a hybrid of the two, and that’s how I usually work. I like to start with a general idea of what the story is going to be about and let the details come as I write.
In November, I was discouraged by a string of rejections and hadn’t written anything new in a month, when I stumbled across With Painted Words. They select a new image each month and invite writers to create a story or poem inspired by it, however loosely.
November’s Inspirational Image
I let the picture bounce around in my head for a week, but nothing came to mind, so I sat myself down, set a timer for an hour, and just wrote. While I didn’t create a fully-formed story, I had a solid start. My writing group provided critiques and encouragement, so I polished it up, sent it out, and Event Horizon was selected for publication.
While I still prefer to have an idea before I start writing, it’s nice to know that sometimes stepping out into the unknown pays off.
Splickety Love is a flash fiction magazine that revolves around quarterly themes, and I decided to submit something for their “Just Friends” issue. While they publish fiction of up to 1000 words, you have a better chance of being selected if you can stay under 700. I wanted to put the odds in my favor, but I’d never tried to write a full story with such a low word count.
I started with two people who meet on a bike ride, but that story currently sits, unfinished, at over 3000 words. A few days before the deadline, I got a new idea that focused on a single incident that changes the way my main character views a man she’s known almost her entire life. The result was Heartstrings, which was published on their blog today.
This is the musical piece mentioned in the story. I must have listened to it fifty times while I was writing 🙂