Tag Archives: Friday Fiction

FF – Aunt Selina’s Church

Melanie’s back! This photo immediately brought to mind the phrase ‘through a glass darkly’. I’ve used that before for a prompt, so I took a different part of the same verse for Melanie to muse on this week. If you enjoy her thoughts, you can find others here.

Aunt Selina’s Church

Before Mummy got sick, she wore a pretty dress and spoke at Aunt Selina and Puncle Eter’s wedding. They go to a weird church. Their priest smiles a lot and when they sing, they clap their hands and dance around.

Mummy said 1 Corinthians 13, but she changed it. She said “When I became a woman, I put childish things behind me.” Father Andrew wouldn’t like that, but their priest nodded and smiled.

And then, at the end, when he said “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” everybody cheered. Loudly.

I liked their church; I wonder what God thinks.

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FF – Family Road Trip

Thank you to Brenda Cox for the photo prompt. Not sure why WordPress isn’t in the mood to caption it today.

Family Road Trip

“The frogs always drive 2CVs,” my husband jokes as we pass our fifth that day.  

“Wearing a blue beret, with garlic round their neck and a baguette? You’ve been watching too much old TV, Dad.” Luke’s suspicious of our inclination to stereotype.

“If it was properly old, you wouldn’t be able to see the colour.”

Matty looks up then. “Black and white TV ended before you were born.” His voice is slick with disdain.

“That one’s green!” I say, trying to lighten the mood. “It looks like a frog!”

“How apt,” sighs Luke, “A frog car for a frog driver.”

*** Translation notes ***

In case you aren’t familiar, British people tend to call French people “frogs” or “froggies”. It’s generally innocent and affectionate and there’s some debate about where it came from (a summary can be found here), but like most of the national stereotypes and nicknames we grew up on, it probably wouldn’t be approved of by younger, woker generations like Luke.

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The Process of Friday Fiction

A few non-FF friends and family members have asked recently how my Friday Fiction process works, so I’ve been thinking about it and I thought I’d share the thoughts. If you’re looking for Fiction, move right along, this is a piece of introspective rambling!

Every morning, I check my phone. It’s pretty much the first thing I do. On Wednesdays, I make a point of finding the FF prompt picture. I get emailed when Rochelle posts, so I usually find the picture there. I don’t read her story, I just look at the picture.

Sometimes it’s hours before I have chance to write, sometimes sooner. Occasionally, a story idea pops straight into my head when I see the photo. More often, it percolates around and turns into a sentence. Sometimes that’s a piece of idiom, other times just a random phrase. Last week, it was “Rain stopped play”, for example.

That sentence might lead me to a favourite character (Melanie / Luke and Matty, etc) or to someone new. If I really come up with nothing, I can usually persuade Melanie to say something, but that’s a last resort. Whether preconceived or not, the character usually comes to me. Even if I don’t have a story in mind, I tend to start typing. It often feels more like transcribing than creating – the words pop into my head as though a character is speaking there. Call it a muse, inspiration, whatever; it doesn’t feel like hard work.

Oftentimes, the point of the story isn’t clear until halfway through. This week, for example, I knew Mum was shopping at the brickabrack store to fill a hole in her life, but I had no idea she was doing it to see Jim. In fact, Jim didn’t exist in the beginnign and I had thought we were about to hear about Dad’s reaction to her purchases. (For the record, he would not have been impressed.) But then Jim popped into my head and I realised why Mum was going there. It brought me full circle to how Mum was trying to brighten her life. I realised about the same point the reader does.

The process of writing the first draft took less than 5 minutes. Like I say, it’s more like transcribing than creating, and I can transcribe a lot more than 100 words in 5 minutes.

Tweaking comes next. I’ve been doing 100 word stories long enough that my first drafts usually come within 10% of target, so it rarely needs a major edit. In this case, I added Jim’s name at the start and polished up the echoes between the first and last paragraphs. That took me to 105 words, so I lost an extraneous bit where Mum also bought gifts at the store. Maybe another 5 minutes in total.

Sometimes it’s different. Sometimes I realise while writing that the story wants to be 500 words. At that stage I either ditch the idea entirely, or look for a nugget within in that’s actually what the story is about. It takes a bit longer, but still I never spend more than 30 minutes on the writing part.

That’s why I generally still post FF stories even when my life is busy and I haven’t got time to eat breakfast!

Creating the post, uploading to Facebook and InLinkz takes at least as long as writing. I draft in Word so there’s an onscreen word count function, then copy into WordPress before I set up tags etc. In total, from sitting down with the laptop to hitting ‘share’, it’s usually about 30 minutes, sometimes less, never more than an hour.

The real time-consuming part comes afterwards. Part of the fun of FF is reading other people’s stories. I never look at theirs before I post mine, but afterwards I read Rochelle’s story and then head to the linkup page to read a collection of others. It’s a long time I’ve managed all the stories, but I have my favourite writers, and then I read a random selection (roughly a quarter of the group) as they get posted over the next few days. I can keep up with comments from my phone, so I read every comment and try to respond promptly too.

I love feedback! Even negative feedback is good for me. I try to make my FF’s like icebergs – at least as much going on below the surface as above it – and I love it when people comment on some of those hidden meanings. But I also enjoy seeing other interpretations of my stories. Sometimes people find a whole other version I didn’t even know was there, and those comments are some of my favourites too! As I like to say, the Reader is always right.

Does any of this surprise you? If you’re a FF writer, what does your process look like?

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FF – One of Everything

Photo copyright belongs to our leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, this week.

One of Everything

Jim’s One Of Everything store at the end of our street was always Mum’s favourite place. She’d drag us in there to find ‘something to brighten our lives’. Sunshine would’ve been better. And empty space. But Mum preferred the niknaks she found at what we preferred to call “Lots of Nothing”.

Eventually, Jim got round to asking her to move in, and she didn’t have to buy the stuff any more. The house got less cluttered after that. She started selling those niknaks instead of buying them, and the sunshine came back. To her face, and to all our lives.

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FF – When Doug Stopped Play

Melanie had opinions about this picture, but they were depressing and a bit repetitious, so I thought Luke and Matty might be interested in the playground instead. Unfortunately, Luke and Matty, much like my real life boys, lived through a pandemic, and the sight of a rain-soaked playground gave their Mom a very different memory you can read more about here. Still miserable, I’m afraid, but then – is there anything more forlorn than an empty playground?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-april-16-2021-new-restrictions-modelling-1.5990092

Photo copyright, Roger Bultot.

When Doug Stopped Play

Even when it poured rain, we went across to the park every day. Rain never stopped play. I remember getting annoyed about it, but I bought myself raingear and handwarmers, and longed for them to be old enough to send over without me.

They’re old enough now, but we all sit inside and look out at the street instead. On rainy days, there are puddles Matty longs to jump in, and mud they would happily dig through; when the sun shines, the slides glow, calling the neighbourhood children to flout the rules, risk the world’s new Big C…

and PLAY!

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FF – House Move

Photo credit: Alicia Jamtaas

House Move

(A true story)

“Label all the boxes,” I said, for the hundredth time. “We need to be able to find things when we get there.”

I passed around Sharpies and glared at anyone who suggested they might get to it later.

Of course, a computer is only as good as its programmer and a label is only as good as its writer.

So I stand here, in front of a wall nearly high enough to keep Donald Trump happy, and every single box is labelled. I should find my boots no trouble.

Except a full 24 of the boxes are called “Basement: Misc”

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Stuck On You

Photo copyright: Trish Nankeville

Stuck On You

“It won’t come off!” Matty shakes his leg, increasingly annoyed at the bur stuck there.

“I know how that feels,” I say, laughing. “You used to cling to me that way.”

“I did NOT!”

“You always wanted to be carried, even when you were too big. I think you just wanted to sneak in those extra hugs.”

He’s too big for hugs now. Wouldn’t dream of embracing his mother in public.

“Well, how did you get me off?” He’s tugging at the seedpod again.

“I waited. And you grew up.”

“I’m not waiting until this thing turns into a tree!”

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FF – Promises

Photo copyright: Lisa Fox

Promises

When Dad died, I sobbed about who’d walk me up the aisle. He wrapped me in a bear hug and said, “I’ll be there.” I didn’t even have a boyfriend, but my brother’s promise was what I needed.

Haven’t seen him in years; it’s Joe who holds my hand now.

But today, Joe’s inside and I’m out here alone, smoothing out my train.

There’s a shout from the lake and a boat roars into view. I don’t know what Joe or our priest will think about his attire, but we keep promises in our family. That’s gotta count for something.

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FF – Heck of a Shadow

Bit of a cheat this week; I couldn’t figure out how to cut this one shorter without losing a favourite line, so I took the last one and made it the title. I hope you’ll forgive me! 😉

Photo copyright David Stewart

Heck of a shadow them towers cast. Longer now than when they was standing.

I ain’t never been out East, it’s a heck of a journey and the girls wouldn’t like it. Who’d bring ’em in? Milk ’em? Help bring their littl’uns into the world?
So I didn’t see them towers when they was there and I sure ain’t seeing ’em now they gone. More concrete in that hole in the ground than this entire prairie, I’d say.
But they hit me when they fell. James was gonna run the farm when I’s gone; but he did his part and they sent him home forever, just like his granddaddy, and his grandaddy’s daddy before.

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FF – Earth’s Finest

I missed last week to fight off a virus you might have heard of. Yes, 2.5 years in, I finally caught covid. I’m grateful for the vaccines, I was pretty grotty for a while there, so I’m glad it wasn’t worse. Getting better now, but lots to catch up on, in particular about a million boxes still to unpack and the kids are antsy because we haven’t unearthed their bike helmets yet.

But I can’t miss 2 weeks of FF or I’ll lose the habit, so here’s my 100 word story.

Photo copyright Brenda Cox

Earth’s Finest

“ALL LOCAL PRODUCE” the sign says. “LOWER YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT… SAVE OUR PLANET” and a little chalk globe, green and blue vaguely indicating land and sea without committing themselves to which of either.

Cardboard straws annoy me and I sometimes forget my own cup, but I’m trying, so I step inside, study the delicious cuisine on offer, inhale the scents of planet-saving food.

The guy behind the desk tells me how dropping our food miles reduces island flooding. He pauses to take a swig from his water and the whole world crashes down. 500ml of hypocrisy, from 5000 miles away.

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