The Clinic

The spacing when I copy over to word press on these stories isn’t very good. I apologize for that. I’ll try to take time in the future to edit them a little more. For this one I had no idea where the story was going from one line to the next. I still don’t really, but I wrote it. that counts for something.

Writing Prompt: First Person Story
Some people love first person some people hate it. Either way you’re using it today.
The Prompt
Write a story in the first person
In many ways, first person is the most natural way to tell a story because it’s how we tell stories all day long. “How was your commute?” “Where did you park?” “What did you do this weekend?” All of these questions invite stories. You answer them every day, in the first person.
Hopefully, as a storyteller, have good answers to those questions and can entertain the people around you, spinning yarns and put your everyday stories to good use. Or maybe you’re the type of person who hates those questions and clams up because you’d rather be alone with a pencil. Either way you do know how to tell a story in the first person.
The most important thing to remember about first-person is that the reader is only ever privy to the thoughts of the person telling the story. They can infer, from other people other people’s expressions, what they’re feeling, but you can’t know for certain. You can’t tell me exactly what your spouse was thinking when you took a wrong turn. You can tell me what they said and how they said it….
Think of the character whose head you would like to get inside. It can be somebody you already understand, or it can be someone you don’t yet understand. (Picking a politician from a party you don’t support support, or one of their supporters, is an obvious way of finding a character that you simply don’t understand).
Take one tiny incident from this character’s life. Have them describe the incident and the effect it had on them. Show us that the effect. Walk us through it.
The character can be self-aware or self delusional or mixture of the two.
There’s a growing trend to write first person present tense. It’s good for keeping tension high if we don’t know whether the characters going to survive at the end of the thriller, but it can feel a little foreign. Feel free to stick with past tense.
If you’re having trouble coming up with this style, browse some books that are written this way: thrillers and mysteries, young adult fiction chick lit. Or read a sample of To Kill A Mockingbird.

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The Trial

There have been two prompts each of the last three days. I’m not sure if that’s front-loaded or going to happen the majority of the month. I’m only writing to the main prompt, not the guest prompt each day. Should I have the time or one just speak to me I may write to the guest prompt as well though. I may also miss a day if I am just rocking it on other projects such as the job search, the novel, or figuring out freelance writing.

Write A Drabble Today
Don’t expect this to be a super-quick exercise…
Today you’re going to write a were a story in 100 words. This also known as a Drabble.
The Prompt
Write a story in 100 words
With a story this short, you have about 25 words to open the story and about 10 words at the end to wrap things up. The rest of the words hold the meat of the story.
Often it’s easier to write the story a little longer and cut it down.
Being concise doesn’t mean leaving out detail. You just have to make sure (probably on a rewrite) that every word is doing double duty. If you’re describing something make sure it reflects the mood of the character as well, for example.
Don’t expect this to be a super-quick exercise. A hundred words is not many and it can be difficult to shoehorn a story into such a small space. You are going to need to build in time to revise it.
The good news is that writing a 100 word story and revising it still takes less time than writing a 3,000 word story.
If you need some inspiration check out the site 100 Word Story. Read a few to get the idea of what can be done with so few words.
Go! (329)

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The Playground

One comment on this one, about 2/3rds of the way through I realized I was writing a scene, not a story. As a scene it was coming along great. As a story it wasn’t doing much. I didn’t re-write the first part, just tried to make some kind of change happen as a resolution, so, meh.

Fourth Grade Spelling List
This is a ridiculous and fun little exercise. Try it!
Here’s another prompt that’s going to make it difficult for you to try to write a brilliant story. We’re focusing this week on productivity, quantity not quality. And here’s the secret, when you’re not too worried about the quality, you quite often find that your writing is better than you expected.
The Prompt
Write a story containing all of these words from a fourth grade spelling list.
This is a ridiculous and fun little exercise. Try it!
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The Stained Napkin

First, some background. Then the story.

I found a website last year which gives out writing prompts every Wednesday to assist in writing short stories. In May they do a short story version of NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month. November if you’re interested.) They call it Story A Day May. Last year I didn’t get very far with it. This year I have more energy and commitment. My failing will be that I still have a novel I’m working on – trying to finish to finish in the next week or two to be more precise.

So, that said; I’m going to try posting most of the stories out here. (Along with the prompt that birthed them.) They will be posted straight from my writing software. (Scrivener) I’m also trying to write them in the same world as the novel I’m making. The hope is to create material for an eventual marketing campaign which uses free short stories to build interest in a paid novel. I’m not sure if that exact campaign will work in this case, but it’s what I have right now.

Write a Story in 30 Minutes.

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I tried to write this yesterday afternoon. It didn’t work though. It’s not that I can’t force myself to write, but to actually write a story I need to have one to tell. The forcing part tends to bring out a story, but it takes time. The prompt itself is fine, and I tried to start something for a good hour. It just wouldn’t come. This morning as I was working out the next section of the novel before getting up and actually writing it this more or less came to me, so before writing in the book I wrote this. I’ll post an update post this afternoon. For now I’m in a writing mindset so I’m going to keep at it.

The Prompt
Write a story set in a place you have visited
Ideally this should be a place you have vivid memories of, so you can use little details to color the story — for example, in Jo’s post (above) there are all kinds of details that a French person make take for granted (the sweet peas growing wild in the verge; the red dust in Camargue), but that bring the setting alive for readers.
It doesn’t have to be anywhere exotic or ‘foreign’. It can be your favorite corner of your local park, as long as you remember to give us the local flavor: what is the light like? What can your character smell? What color/material are the nearby buildings?
Do remember to tell a story. Don’t just write a description of the place. What kind of person might be there and why? Do they want to be there? Why? What would you expect to be happening in this place/at this time? What if something completely different happened? Why? With what result?

The buzzing always bothered him the most. The quiet was bad, but the buzzing made it worse. It’s not like he asked to be there. It was just the way everything seemed to work out for him. Every time.

He sighed, staring blankly at the book in front of him.


He turned his head reflexively toward the noise, even as he told himself not to.

“Eyes to the front!”

It took every ounce of willpower he had, but he kept himself from mumbling an expletive under his breath. Instead he picked up the pen on the desk and started to doodle on the notebook next to the book, but his heart wasn’t in it.

It smelled of chalk in this room. If he was going to be stuck in detention it was better than the band room with it’s stale smell of spit, or the science lab with the distant smell of formaldehyde from years of frog dissections. He’d been in all of them this year. His favorite was the wood shop room. The smell of freshly cut pine never left that room. It reminded him of trips to the cabin when he was younger, before they had to move. Unfortunately, the smell was the only good thing about this room.

Squeak. Click, clack, click, clack.

Mr. Bowman was one of the worst teachers to be in detention with. He was bringing someone a box of tissue right now. Yeah, you couldn’t even get up to clean snot off your face. One time while in the back of the class he saw Jess lay her head down on the desk. It was hilarious to see her jump when Mr. Bowman pushed a stack of books off the side of his desk. That’s the kind of teacher he was, he would give himself extra work just to make a student’s life miserable.

Sitting in front was the worst. The idea of laying his head down was so appealing, but he knew better. Maybe in Ms. Keller’s detention, but not here. On the bright side the steel tube connecting the desktop to the chair back pressed into his arm painfully while he squirmed in the hard plastic seat. Why the school couldn’t spring for the desks where the top covered that tube was something he would never understand.

Still, it was the buzzing that would never let him sleep. The constant buzzing from above that got louder the more he tried to ignore it. It prevented him from reading, took away his desire to write, and thwarted his ability to do algebra.

The Supernova.

Today I wrote a short story. I want to write to the outline for a book I have, but today I didn’t have time. Also, to the surprise of nobody who knows me, I procrastinated. I might have had enough time to make some progress, but it got lost to me fighting against writing. The best part, as all procrastinators know, is that I was mad at myself for fighting it even as I fought it. There’s a theme in there somewhere that I can hopefully pull up for some .

Anyhow, the story was written after reading a prompt from I have tons of writing prompts available to me, partially from being subscribed to this sites mailing lists for a little over a year now. This particular prompt can be found here. The character started out as a young girl, but I think that’s due to the book I should be working on because I got the feeling she was actually a young adult as I went through. If I were to add this work to a book or submit it to a publication I would re-work the introduction at the beginning a little to better reflect that. As it is I got rid of the very beginning, but could use it as a blurb if this were ever made a larger story. (That’s why it’s still kind of there.)

If you have any thoughts about the story, of any kind, please leave them below. I consider short fiction like this to be practice, so any feedback is actually welcome. I’ll interact with you and everything! You can even send it privately to me if you’d like. If you don’t have my email address just ask for it below.

The Prompt

On the day they saw the blue star swell to gigantic proportions, everyone went blind but Hardy. He was already blind, had been from birth,but he had lifted his head to the heavens because he felt a peculiar warmth.

Moments later the others were still blind, but he could see. All the colors of the spectrum. Even viewed by moonlight, the brightness of it all frightened and puzzled him.

The Supernova

Have you ever wanted to see a total solar eclipse? How about the Northern Lights? This was supposed to be better than both of those put together. I’ve seen both and I was more excited than most. You see, my dad discovered it. Yep, I’m that Andrea.

Hi. Andrea L. Pinkerton at your service. My friends call me Pinky and my family calls me Andi. That way I know who’s calling for me. You called me Andrea, so I’m guessing we haven’t met before. That happens a lot now. I guess it comes with being some kind of famous. That is why you called, right? You want to hear about how he found it?

Oh. Nobody’s ever asked me that before. They always want to know how he found it, what we were doing when he found it, did he dance and sing, what did we all do when we heard, things like that. Nobody asks what he was looking for, or why.

Of course he wasn’t looking for it, but then aren’t most big discoveries like that? He would tell you he was looking for patterns. That’s what he always said. “Astronomy isn’t about looking at the stars anymore, these days it’s about finding patterns in the data and looking at the data around the patterns.” I can’t count how many times I heard him say that. I think he was trying to steer me to a different life, one with more adventure and excitement. Kind of makes you laugh really. He was trying to steer me from a boring life one day and makes the most exciting announcement ever the next.

Oh, sorry. He was part of a team trying to figure out how to predict supernovas. More specifically, to find stars with planets in the habitable zone that could currently support life, but in which the stars were close to the end of their life. The idea was we didn’t want to try for those systems because by the time we got there the planets could be dead already. Is that what you were looking for?

No. The secondary objective was not a thing. That was all made up after the fact to fit what really happened. It’s amazing what people say when it can’t be verified one way or the other. I guess it’s a good story though.It makes it seem as if there was some bigger plan. I’ve read that we tend to make up patterns in random data even if none are there. Like seeing Jesus in toast you know? My bet is that’s where the secondary objective came from.

Do I think it’s true? No. In fact I fully believe it isn’t. The data looks the same for every single one. How could it possibly be true? There would have to be some kind of variance from one to the next, we see that with sets of data here. If it was true then we become the exception, which is about the only thing less likely than it being true.

Ok, I’ll give you that we technically aren’t an exception because our sun has a long life left. The thing is, there have been instances of the same data in some systems that we know could not have sustained life as we know it, systems with nothing in the habitable zone.

Now you want to know about the close one? I’m not sure what I can tell you that hasn’t been said before. It was still the same objective, find systems with habitable planets which won’t be habitable for long. As you know one was found that was close, very close in interstellar terms. We’ve watched them before. This one though, it was different. Because of the distance and the star’s composition it would visible to the naked eye when it happened. Well, I guess it happened years ago. When we got confirmation I guess.

No there wasn’t anything strange about the star’s composition. Did you do your own research before contacting me?

Sorry. I agree there’s a need to be thorough. It was supposed to be a beautiful show. It was too, I mean what we saw anyhow.

Right before it? I didn’t see anything else. My dad discovered it. We were guests of the President watching from Hawaii. Honestly looking back the media circus was almost more impressive, topped only by the confusion after.

Have I heard about what some people found in the data? Yes. He never looked. He blames himself for the world going black. I’m pretty sure if we could see him he’d look horrible. He sounds and feels pretty bad.

What if it’s true? I’ll tell you what I think, besides that it’s not true. If it is true than there is a race of beings out there traveling from one habitable system to the next, and some that aren’t, blowing up stars. That’s what I think. If it wasn’t the same race every time the signatures people are “seeing” would vary as all biological processes do. If it is the same race for all of them then we’re likely next. If that’s the case I’m glad we can’t see anything anymore.