Your turn – Fast Fiction!

Whoosh – it’s July already! The first week of July is full of birthdays in my family – and this past week my DBIL turned 50, and he and my sister celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. As well as those good things, I’ve had some good health news – after a hook-wire biopsy procedure in Tamworth on Tuesday, I got the all-clear today; no nasty cells in the little lump they excavated. (Yes, there’s still the major brain surgery to replace my aneurism-ed artery to come, but that’s not until next month at least, and it’s all going to be fine, so we won’t worry about that, okay?)

July is also the month – although not until the end of the month – that the winners of the Daphne du Maurier Awards, and the RITA Awards, are announced. Dark Country is a finalist in both, which I am still very excited about – and excitement is also building across romance blogs, as the date draws nearer. I’m visiting the Romance Writers of Australia blog today, talking about the RITA nomination, and over at the Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills blog later today, Robyn DeHart is highlighting the finalists in the romantic suspense category of the RITAs.

Given July is a good month, I figured it’s time for a celebration. Some years ago, my good friend Kate Rothwell held a few Fast Fiction contests – and they were a great deal of fun! So, what better way to celebrate good stories than having a Fast Fiction contest here?

What’s Fast Fiction, you ask? It’s a story – with a beginning, a middle, and an end – told in just (for this contest) 55 words. Yep, 55 words! Or less… but not more!

My friend, the wise and talented Valerie Parv, has agreed to judge the entries, and as I have some spare copies of some friends’ books, I have not one, not two, but three prizes to give away!

The prizes are:
A signed copy of Dark Country;
A copy of Helene Young’s fantastic romantic suspense novel, Border Watch; and
A copy of Joanna Sandsmark’s wonderful whimsical book, The Wisdom of Yo Meow Ma

Because I know many of my blog readers already have my book, the winner will have first choice from the three books above, the first runner-up will have second choice, and the third runner-up will receive the remaining book – but they’re all great!

So put your thinking caps on, get those fingers typing or writing, and start composing your entries! To enter, post your 55 word story in the comments. You can enter as many times as you like, and you have until next Friday, 16th July Saturday 17th July, to get those stories in. A title is optional, but if you have one, it’s included in the 55 word limit.

I’m looking forward to reading them!

Edited to add: As usual, anyone can enter, no matter where you live on the planet, and I will respect your privacy and won’t sell, giveaway or otherwise misuse your email address. Oh, and copyright remains with you, although by entering you do agree to have your Fast Fiction show in the comments section, and if yours is one of the winners, I may post it in a blog post announcing the winners.

To give you some examples, I’ve posted below the fold a couple of ones I wrote for Kate’s contests, a few years ago.

Forgiving.

“This is for you.”

Her mother’s silver brooch, tarnished, like the memories. From the Other Man. The home-breaker.

“She loved you,” he said.

“She left us for you.”

“Yes.” Not pride, only sadness.

“Was she…happy?”

“Without you, never entirely.”

“But you loved her.”

“Yes.”

Cool metal, against her fingers. Perhaps it could be polished.

Legacy

She wove her love into a blanket. Blue for the sky. Yellow for the sun. Wool for warmth.

Long past his childhood, he kept it still, although faded and worn with age. Made for him, because he mattered. Always wrapping him in love.

He chose blue and yellow for his own son’s blanket.

24 thoughts on “Your turn – Fast Fiction!

  1. Okay Bronwyn here is my effort – Titled: The Turkey Run

    Freezing…

    ”That would be right” she sighs.

    Trudging through snow, feeling never-ending chill.

    Remembering the Summer just past. Picnics, hot interludes and a hot body, spooning.

    Rubbing hands together Alyssa reminded herself “This turkey is important”.

    Reaching the blue door, rapping the knocker with chilled hands.

    It opens and there was Sam, smiling, reaching. Warmth.

  2. What a fabulous idea, Bron! I’ll have to put my thinking cap on.

    Fantastic news on at least one of your health fronts. Can’t wait to celebrate all those awards at the end of the month 🙂

  3. About time you got some good medical news, Bronwyn. Cheering for you. Wise and talented, huh? Flattery will get you everywhere. I love your sample 55-word stories and wish I could enter, but then we all know who’d win 🙂

    Looking forward to reading the entries. Great prizes, too. Good luck to all.

    Valerie

  4. That’s great, Nicola! Thanks for being the first entry 🙂

    Helene, I’m so looking forward to seeing you in Sydney next month! And having you as a blog guest next week 🙂

    Valerie, thank you so much for agreeing to judge. And I didn’t even have to twist your arm!

  5. Celeste’s redemption

    It had the finest outer and lining, and was hand-stitched. Vintage buttons. After wrapping it in tissue paper, and winding a piece of red yarn round it, she placed it under the tree, hesitating for just a moment. ‘My blue coat!’ she whispered, softly. But now it was going to its rightful owner.

  6. Ooh, I just can’t resist this 🙂 I’ll be barracking for you at the RITAs, Bron!

    Last Chance

    He knocked, his heart pounding. He had to tell her how he felt. How he longed for her. Make her understand he couldn’t live without her. This time, she wouldn’t leave him, and they’d be together forever.

    She opened the door. So beautiful. So precious.

    “I love you,” he said, and shot her.

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  8. So I should be working, writing, or any number of other things instead I’ve been grappling with 55 words 🙂

    Free?

    The inbox chimed.
    He poured water into his mug. Peered at the screen.
    Finally.
    He drank coffee while the file finished downloading.
    De-coding took twice as long.
    ‘Package arrived.’
    The match flared, flames caught, curtains burned.
    He closed the door and smiled.
    Rich.
    Free.
    He didn’t feel the bullet hit, just the words.
    ‘Got you.’

  9. Frantic fingers play the keyboard. Serious eyes focus on nothing. Images evolve from words, emotion for characters as raw and sticky as wet clay.

    A squeaky gate introduces the impatient patter of active feet. Milo and cake is taken, and chatter of a day at school.

    Lonely keys clatter again.

    A Grandmother’s duty is done.

  10. Bad Bron.
    Naughty Bron.
    I should be writing my book, Bron

    But I love a writing challenge.
    Here’s my 55 words

    IF ONLY
    I never thought the next funeral I’d attend would be mine.
    I was only sixteen; yet I’d loved like a man, grieved like a man.
    Then I’d longed for her to come back.
    But no one saw my pain.
    No one heard my plea.
    That’s when I jumped.
    Now we are together – forever.

    Jenn J McLeod

  11. Okay, okay. You talked me into another one LOL (Mind you, I must be feeling particulalry morbid today!!!!)

    UNDONE

    I’d done it again.
    Someone carried me.
    Groaning with each jarring step, I tried to stay alert, understand.
    Rain, like ice daggers dropping from the sky, pierced my flesh. It was too much…the pain…the fear…the darkness.
    I longed for the light, a second chance, life.
    “I’ve got a pulse,” someone yelled.
    It is undone.

    Jenn J McLeod

  12. There are some great entries coming in! Fantastic!

    Jane, what a touching story!

    Erica – LOL, my, what twisted characters you write 🙂 And Helene’s also done one with a twist in the tail 🙂

    Eric, yours is lovely!

    Jenn, you can’t blame me. Nope 🙂 I know how much writers like to procrastinate! At least it’s only 55 words – I didn’t make it 150, or it might take you longer!

  13. Sports day. The dressing room. Where assets are displayed without pretence.

    The confidence of a large cup size walking past. Head held high. That sideways glance, not to see down the front of my shapeless top. No; to witness sad eyes looking up, longing too for the cleavage to secure a pencil aloft without superglue.

  14. She turned at the tap on her shoulder.
    “Did you drop this?”
    He held out a cream silk scarf.
    A sharp breath. Ooh la la. What harm can it do? “Thanks.”
    Ollie gave an approving wag of his tail. She bent down to pat his dog.
    “Cute.”
    “Mmm.”
    “Hey,” another voice interrupted, “that’s mine.”
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………
    (54 words) The story is called Foiled!

    Hey Bron (taking up Jenn’s whinge) I should just be writing something! So, thanks for the opportunity to have some fun.

  15. Can’t resist – even if it’s too late…

    Second chance
    The crowd parted. There he was.
    Twenty years fell away. Her heart pounded just as it always had.
    “Fancy seeing you here.”
    “Yes, fancy that.” The ring was gone and so was the witch.
    This time things would be different. Everything was different… except their love.

    Zoe Y

  16. I think I’ve got another one coming on…
    (my daughter’s in the room hassling me to go upstairs and read with her).

    Quick!!!!!!! This one’s called Longing
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    She glimpsed him in the lunchtime throng and the memory of that night coursed through her in a rush.
    At the party, on the lounge, wound together.
    A touch, whisper, sweet kisses.
    He was older now, but his features still open and clear, like the ocean.
    He didn’t see her. She let him go.
    Again.

    (55 words)

  17. Oh, they’re coming in thick and fast now! Great stories, everyone – Valerie’s going to have a hard time deciding on winners!

    I’ll leave the contest open until tomorrow evening, so if inspiration is bubbling away, there’s still some time to get your entry in.

  18. Hi Bron and Helene,

    OK, 55 words hmm? Here it is,

    If you’re gonna do it, do it now.’
    Heat scorched her nape between helmet and collar. Right. Now. Too late for doubts. Anya pressed the detonation button and ran like hell. The pounding boots of the soldier sent to her rescue clanged on the metal grating they charged down. Freedom was only an explosion away.

  19. Oh dear, I should be in bed Bron … but I just can’t resist it. Here goes …

    “Lemon to be safe,” the patient mumbled to herself.
    “What does she mean?” The new nurse spoke up.
    “Her son was killed in the war. Her daughter died of TB. Her husband was gored to death by a rampaging bull.” The matron made it sound like a fait-accompli.
    “Huh?”
    “Blue, pink and red are death.”

    And another …

    “What are you doing?”
    Startled, she dropped it.
    They both looked down at the jewellery, long hidden from view, spilling from the blue velvet case.
    “Your mother’s rings,” said her father. She noted he sounded sad, not anguished anymore.
    It gave her the courage. “May I?” she asked.
    He sighed. “Yes I suppose, it’s time.”

    And NOW I’m off to bed, that’s if I don’t think of another … Mmmmm…

  20. (What follows is not an entry–it is something I told my parents when I was three; they were trying to get recording of all the kids’ voices)

    My mother: Tell us a story.
    Me: There was a family and they were walking and they fell and they died.
    My mother (struggling not to laugh): Can you tell us a longer story?
    Me: There was a family and they were walking and they walked and they walked and they walked and they fell and they died.

  21. Oops – I was sure I’d commented on these last entries, but an internet gnome must have eaten it.

    Sandra – great entry – heart-racing in only words!

    Margareta, sorry to keep you from your sleep 🙂 Your two stories are both lovely and moving – thank you!

    Azteclady, I love it! Kids really have amazing thought processes 🙂

    Thank you, everyone, for your entries and for sharing your wonderful creativity! Valerie Parv has now judged the contest, so congratulation to:

    Shayne – first place for ‘Foiled’
    Jane – second place for ‘Redemption’
    Sandra – third place for your explosion story

    I’ve announced these in a new blog post, and have sent emails to all three place- getters.

  22. I know I’m too late, but saw this on Helenes facebook only today. Already written, so here goes.

    Kate didn’t believe in fairytales. ‘Happily ever after’ was too simplistic.

    Sure, the beer-coloured haze of university cleared for John. Champagne flutes tinkled at their wedding. But sometimes her throat burned from screaming.

    She cowered in the corner, hair sticking to the blood on her face, and she knew: her happily ever after ended here.

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