Talking Pets – A Flash For The Freestyle Writing Challenge

It has been a while since I posted any writing. The reasons for that are many, but the main two are 1) I’ve been submitting some of the more recent pieces to magazines and whatnot, and 2) I’ve been working like a beast to finish the draft of the third book in my Papilion trilogy (IT IS DONE!). And…I amidt that the fact summer is finally here after a long and horrible winter has lulled me into a kind of comfortable laziness.

But just this morning I was thinking it was time to get back to writing something, anything. Someone was listening because about an hour ago I got tagged by Tanya Miranda to participate in the Freestyle Writing Challenge.

freewritingchallenge

It’s scary to post something written so quickly and under duress (15 minutes with little prep time and not allowed to edit!!), especially while being so rusty. The last thing I wrote was a novel, so massaging the muscle to ease back to flash fiction was tough. But, whatev. When the challenge is laid, you gotta step up to the plate. So here’s my ditty.

Tanya’s prompt: Your pet of many years suddenly speaks human. What does it say?

My story: Communion

I’d always wondered what my dog would say if he could talk. We’d been inseparable for what felt like an eternity. A gift to me on my fifteenth birthday, Pongo warmed my feet every night and blissfully licked me awake every morning. He followed me to the kitchen, sat by my side while I ate, calmly awaiting the scraps of egg or toast or bacon I’d cunningly flip at him when I thought he wasn’t looking. He caught the scraps every time.

I grew up, went to CEGEP. My body and face changed, and even my mother claimed she hardly recognized the well over six-feet tall grown man with a face full of hair, and a deep barrel-chest. But Pongo knew me. Mom said he’d sit by the window long before I returned each day from long hours of study, whimpering and whining before the car turned into the drive. Walking into the house to Pongo’s excited yips while he dumped a red ball in my hand in greeting were the best welcomes around.

Got married. Had a couple a kids. But now, I saw that Pongo was getting on in age. His habits didn’t change except he took longer and longer to get them done. His silky black and brown coat shone less in the sun during our walks, and I even noticed some tufts of grey coming in around his brows and muzzle, just like a ‘real’ old man.

Then one day, while sitting on the porch, my hand on his head, his muzzle in my lap, I noticed his breathing coming less and less even. In fact, he struggled to breathe. I knew it was close, yet didn’t know what to do.

The sun was going down then, dipping just behind the line of houses across the street. And just as the roofs eclipsed the last rays of sunlight, I heard, ‘I love you.’

Then he was gone.

I looked at my beloved dog, best of friends. He was at rest.

Don’t know how he did it, how he’d managed to speak those words. But on the other hand, I wasn’t surprised. I’d known the truth all along because Pongo had saying he loved me his entire life.

****

There you have it. 370 words in 15 minutes. Here are my chosen victims, er, nominees…

Phil Partington

Cairo Amani

Belinda Hughes

Lela Markham

Scott Toney

My Prompt is: Falling down the rabbit hole…

And here are the rules for the challenge:

  1. Open a new document.
  2. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
  4. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.
  5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
  6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
  8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

Thanks for reading! Leave your comments below, if you’d like to share your thoughts.  🙂

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Motivating Friends to Write With Flash Fiction

WOW555 Contest Prompt with photo by Vanessa Pike-RussellSo I’ve entered the WOW555 flash fiction contest again, this time as a means of encouraging two writer friends to try something new. One says she has trouble writing short stories (what better way to break that than by writing a story of less than 500 words???), and another who just needs a kick in the butt to get writing, period. I checked in with one of them last night after he’d submitted his story, and he said he was glad he’d tried it and thanked me for the push. When I checked in with the other this morning, this is what she said: ‘ Dyane remember when I said you were the best? You’re actually the worst. THE WORST.’ To which I replied, ‘Lol lol lol Happy to oblige, as long as it gets you writing. Ta!!’ 

Anyone else feel they need a little motivating? 😀

Anyhoo, my entry is below. It’s experimental and darker than usual, but if there’s an opportunity to try something different from your norm, flash fiction is it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it. And if you have a moment, why don’t you give the contest a try? There’s still time! Or check it out anyway to read some neat stories, meet some new writers, and vote! Voting opens tomorrow!

Eye of the Beholder

I follow her through the trees, just as I’ve done since we were children. Only now, her dark hair reaches to her waist, and when we stand side by side, the top of her head sits just under my chin, perfect for nestling. The grass gives under our feet. We steal around tree trunks like ghosts. The smells of the forest come up from the ground, earthy, pungent. It is spring, and the wind carries the airs of life as well as the vestiges of winter’s breath. I follow her, as always. And she leads me where she wills.

At last, I see our place, a knife-shaped outcropping. It is covered in moss and slick unless you know where to put your hands and where to dig in with your toes. At the top we sit. Side by side, knees almost touching. Far away, the sun sinks in the sky, a dark-yellow disk that will soon sear the tops of the trees.

It won’t be long now, she says, her voice a hopeful sigh in the wind. We’ll be leaving for the city in a few days.

I look at the ground beneath us. The soil is soft, green with grass and sprouting wildflowers. I used to twist flowers like those into wreaths for her hair.

She’d always wanted to leave this dead-end town where jobs were scarce and happiness scarcer. Only, I always believed I’d be the one to save her from the dying farms and the soon-to-be ghost-town.

She goes on. I want a job. And decent friends, women who have opinions and ideas in their heads. This town is dead. If I stay, I’ll die with it. You understand that, don’t you?

She looks at me. And in the failing light, it’s not me I see reflected there, but another.

The rock under me is unbearable. Its jagged edges cut into my rump. I get up quickly. Startled, she looks up, asks what was wrong.

But I’m heated, crushed to the ground from the weight of his shadow in her eyes.

What’s wrong? she asks again, reaching for me.

How could she not know?

My hands are around her neck. They are cold. She struggles. I am numb. At last, my sickness steals her breath.

The soil at the foot of the outcropping gives easily to a pair of determined hands armed with a stone. The gash in the ground won’t be easily noticed. She lies in the ground, my beautiful angel looking up towards heaven. And this time, I am pleased to see my dark and distorted reflection in the drying wetness of her eyes.

The outcropping is not quite so hard beneath me as I reclaim my seat. The sun has slipped past the tops of the trees. Its fire has gone out. And finally, I am at peace.

Copyright@ Dyane Forde 2015

Looking for something new? Try a Flash Fiction Contest

I won! After the posting of my last article that included the flash fiction piece The Task, I was invited to enter a WOW555, flash fiction contest hosted by author, ghostwriter, and editor Wendy Strain on her blog writeonwendy. It was a tight battle, but thanks to a tie break, the story won. How cool!

Are you looking for a place to practice flash fiction? Give it a go! Visit the site to see the other great entries for last week’s event, and try your hand at this week’s. It’s a lot of fun, the participants are warm and welcoming, and you’ve the chance to bang out some writing at the same time. 🙂

WOW 555 Writing Challenge Winner’s BadgeSee you there! 

 

‘The Task’: Flash Fiction Story

I’ll be writing more about setting writing goals later, but I took matters into my own hands today and did that and wrote my first flash fiction story in a while. I’ve been focusing on short stories, finishing my novel, and blogging so it’s been a while since I went back to this fun yet challenging activity.

I wrote ‘The Task’ out of desperation. The story that follows is a fictionalized representation of a real situation. 2015 started off rough: my brain was stuffed with disorganized plans and ideas, leftover goals from 2014, and a lot of anxiety about what to do next. Also, coincidentally (?) I ran into a lot of posts about setting writing goals and knowing what it is you want from your writing experience. Even the site I got the prompt from, StoryADay.org, had some info about that on their home page. Anyhoo, here’s the story. Enjoy! And drop me a line about how your 2015 writing year began and what your goals are. I’d love to hear them!

The Prompt: feeling overwhelmed

The Task (381 words)

The pencil tips snaps, leaving an ugly gap in the line. What the heck was I writing again? I scan the nearly blank page, and vague memories, like blind men in fog, come stumbling back to me. Oh right. That.

I change pencils and hit the page again. The words come, haltingly, but at least they come. Grey lines begin to fill the page, and slowly there is more grey than white. My anxiety decreases, excitement and confidence rises. For the first time in weeks, I’m in control. The mess of nagging thoughts, doubts, insecurities—the chaos–finally tamed.

You’ll never amount to anything. All your work is in vain. Who reads your stuff anyway? 

I flip the pencil around, jamming the eraser across the page. Shut up!

Why are you pushing yourself so hard? You really think anyone cares about your work? 

Pink bits of eraser collect in piles on the page. The white of the page begins to dominate the grey. Soon, I’ll tear through the sheet. My daughter did that last night when she struggled with math. She’d had to tape the hole closed and then write on wrinkly paper. I’d been mad at her for being careless. And now, look at me.

The evil voice laughed in my ear. It didn’t have to speak—it’s message was loud and clear.

Shut up! I’ll finish this!

 No you won’t. You’ll give up. You’ll fail. All your scribblings won’t matter in the end.

Damn you, I won’t!

You will.

Shut up!

The paper rips. I stare at the pile of pencils scattered around my desk. Jagged wood pokes into the air where the tips have all broken off. There is paper spilling out of the garbage bin, enough to be a fire hazard under the right conditions. But I am finished.

Writing Goals leaps up in grey letters from the page, followed by a clear, detailed plan of my writing intentions for the next two months. I sweep a hand over the page, grandiose. Victorious. Eat that! I throw down my pencil, push away from the page and hit the computer.

The evil voice is silent.

I smile. And get to work.

‘Goal number 1,’ I mutter under my breath, as my fingers fly over the keys, ‘start writing again…’

Copyright@ 2015 by Dyane Forde

Dyane Forde’s Christmas Story Challenge

Last year, when Vashti Q-Vega asked me to write a Christmas story for her blog (in mere days!) I panicked. WTH was I going to write about??? I’m not into sappy holiday stories, and the commercialism around the holidays drives me crazy. But I had been given a challenge–and if you know me at all, you know I rarely walk away from one, once it’s been thrown down. So, while driving, I let my imagination go, let the wheels turn, and I came up with something I really liked. Jack Frost vs. Bad Santa! (gamer voice required for the right effect lol)

So, as Christmas is around the corner, I hope you’ll take a sec to take read my offering. And if you like it, please share!

The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Author Dyane Forde Author Dyane Forde

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to introduce today my friend and a very talented author: Dyane Forde

Dyane recently released her fabulous book The Purple Morrow. The Purple Morrow is a (light) Fantasy aimed at an adult audience. At the end of this post you will see the book cover, read a blurb from the book and there will also be information on how you can get your own copy.

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was always amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results on others. People enjoyed what she created! This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys trying genres and forms of writing which are different from what she’s used to; every story or…

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