Paper Dolls – Friday Fictioneers

I am super late this week in posting my story for Friday Fictioneers. There are several reasons for this, including being very busy at work, but one main one is that I am finding Friday Fictioneers stories harder and harder to write. It’s not that I can’t think of a story: I could probably sit down and write a hundred stories in a row for any given picture. It’s just that as time goes on, my standards for myself for originality and quality keep increasing and after 113 100-word stories, I feel like everything has been done. That’s one reason why I play around ways of presenting stories: I feel like I’m stagnating or at least I don’t want to. Sometimes a story that I like comes right to me, but usually it doesn’t and these days, I often agonize about it for days. If you do Friday Fictioneers stories, do you ever feel this way? Is it just me?

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Paper Dolls

Snip, snip. A line of identical dolls appeared.

Elise picked up one of the crayons from her father.

“Make them colorful,” he’d said. “Bring them to life.”

She left the first one blank; drew a happy face on the second. The third had clothes and hair.

The tenth took all week. Finally, the light glowed off her perfectly shaded face. Her name was Galatea; Elise had ten pages of history for her. She was Greek. And liked chocolate and rainbows.

Elise put down the pencil and Galatea’s arm floated up as if waving, blown by an imaginary breeze.

Elise smiled.

About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

30 responses to “Paper Dolls – Friday Fictioneers

  • rochellewisoff

    Dear David,

    Elise is quite the artist and a scholar or a Pygmalion. Elise is my middle name, too. 😉 (Really).

    In answer to your question, yes, sometimes I feel it’s hard to write another story and that I’ve written all that I can.

    Ha. Just now saw Pygmalion in your tags.

    Good one as always.



  • Emily Livingstone

    I like the fantasy of this! Enjoyed the Pygmalion myth reference as well. : )

  • Joyce

    David, I loved this little story as the dolls take on a lot of character. But, I also appreciate hearing your honesty in your confession here about not caring to write the stories much now. When I was with the FF group 3 yrs. ago I did only 35 stories compared to yours of over 100, but I just didn’t want to do any more so stopped posting them. But it was not because I felt there was no more stories in me, but because my standards and choice to leave the group was maybe for different reasons. I simply chose to move on to a kind of more productive style and type of writing that I could be proud of writing, sharing, maybe publishing and especially ones where I could better honor my creator. 🙂 It is why my stories, poetry and blog posts had more substance, things that dealt with heartfelt issues and a forgiving, loving Savior that wanted to do more through me, than creating something that was thrown into the weekly linky pile of itty-bitty nothings. The little writers group I lead each week (on Sundays in fact) is for other writers like me that want to make a difference on WordPress by posting positive, encouraging things that might just make a difference in another one’s life.

    • David Stewart

      Thanks for sharing that, Joyce. I have thought about quitting, but I don’t really want to. It’s just that now it’s easy to be dissatisfied with my stories since I expect myself to top my previous stories and I can’t always. It is a totally different type of medium, like painting a micro-painting as compared with the normal size for a short story, or the mural of a novel. Maybe I should just go easier on myself, but I don’t really want to do that either. 🙂 But you’re right that in any case, I should dedicate all my writing to God.
      Thanks again,

  • wildbilbo

    Lovely story, some really nice touches and imagery. The progressive time spent on each of the paper dolls with the written history etc… excellent.

    And I don’t have nearly that many #FF stories, and yes I feel this “well what the hell can I write about now???!” almost every month or so. Its at these times I do more experimentation – maybe poetry, the ‘surface of the water’ dual stories, more recent pure dialogue stories – stuff like this keeps me feeling like I’m stretching things.

    Having high standards is great & shows you care about the quality of what you write. And I think that this story demonstrates your level of care.


    • David Stewart

      Thanks, KT. I appreciate it. Also, as you said, I do see this as a place to experiment with different forms and I like reading stories that try to push the envelope in some different direction. After all, if it doesn’t work, there’s always next week, right? 🙂

  • Nan Falkner

    Dear David, Don’t Quit! I love the paper dolls and cute idea that she progressively colored each one and added more detail to the end (at least that’s what I got). Cute idea, and I also have had a hard time writing and sometimes, it just types itself. I have limitations and I know, but this weekly exercise is good to push me to do better. Thanks! Nan 🙂

    • David Stewart

      Thanks, Nan. You got the point of the story I was going for. Don’t worry; I’m not going to quit FF but I thought I’d share that, partially as an excuse for why I was so late, and partially to see if others had a similar experience. Every week is a new challenge, right?

  • lingeringvisions by Dawn

    Yup, I feel like that too. But my stories are much different than yours.
    Oh never mind, i don’t think that matters.

  • rgayer55

    I have considered quitting, but every week I look at the prompt and accept the challenge of trying to write something funny about something that quite simply is not. Writing these 100 stories has helped me tighten the rest of my writing. They’ve forced me to be more clear and concise and also improved my use of dialogue.

    But the main reason I come back every week is the interaction with the other writers and the friendships I’ve made through this group. If I’ve made someone smile, then I’ve used the gift God gave me.

    • David Stewart

      That’s the same for me, Russell. I like the challenge, but I like being part of the group more, even if it’s hard to find time to read all the stories I’d like sometimes. Thanks for the comments.

  • Priceless Joy

    I thought this story was very imaginative and creative. The imagery pulled me in and the story kept me interested. I loved how the paper doll waved “from an imaginary breeze.” You have a way to connect to the reader and get their imaginations flowing. I think that is an excellent quality to have.

  • Amy Reese

    Dear David. Your story is such a breath of fresh air. I truly mean that. I see you pushing your limits and I congratulate you for going the distance. FF is always a challenge for me, even still. I don’t feel like I’ve written them all just yet. 🙂 For the most part, it’s a great exercise for my writing, and I think my writing is much tighter now after writing so many FF stories. I also enjoy reading all the many takes on the prompt and their interaction is great! I’m still surprised how one photo can bring about so many different stories. At this stage, I feel I really get a feel for individual voices in our community because I’m so familiar with their writing. You can always take a break. Do you what you need to do for you!

    • David Stewart

      Thanks, Amy. I appreciate it. I don’t want to take a break and I do like writing these. As you said, they are a great exercise in condensing down meaning to its basic elements. Maybe I’ll get my second wind soon. 🙂

  • Suzanne Joshi

    I really liked the story, David. It was sweet and creative. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne.

  • storydivamg

    Wonderful story, David, and quite worth the wait, in my opinion. One of the things I have found frustrating about FF is the way that some seem to consider it a contest to see who can post first. In reality, the stories that are fully gelled by the time they are posted (like this one) are much more interesting to read. Sometimes they do come quickly and easily to us as writers. More often, however, I think that the slow, painstaking process of crafting an excellent, fully birthed 100-word story is better.

    Keep up the good work.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • David Stewart

      Thank you, Marie Gail. I really appreciate your words. It’s funny; because of the time zone, I used to be able to be one of the first ones to post when I was in Korea. Now, I’d have to get up at 2:30am to make it into the top row, so that’s not going to happen very often. But you’re right, the point is not to be first but for everyone to write the best story they can. What bugs me is people like Sandra who are consistently first and consistently incredible (I’m joking, of course, although she is always incredible) 🙂

  • EagleAye

    I love how you got to paper dolls from the picture prompt. At first, it seems there’s no connection, but I can see it now. I think this very inventive and original.

    To answer your question at the beginning, I do sometimes struggle to provide an original story. The thing I keep in mind though, is there are always many sides to the same story. There’s always an angle that hasn’t been covered. I also had a writing instructor who pointed out that all the great plots have already been written, but stories can still be fresh and new. It’s the “how” you write from here to there that makes every story unique.

    • David Stewart

      That’s true enough. When I first started writing, years ago, I was afraid I would run out of stories. Then I realized that there are millions of stories per square inch and like the facets of a diamond, a new one appears when you change your perspective just a little.
      Thanks for the comments. I appreciate them.

  • lunasgathering

    I love the magic of this piece. I can see the paper doll in all of her glorious detail waving to her creator.

    I always look forward to your unique spin on the prompts. The best way I know to enjoy this process is not to agonize over prompts that don’t speak to me. Sometimes forcing the story pushes us outside our comfort zones and sometimes it just forces us to put words on the page. Love of the work is the most important part. 🙂 I’ve learned to not stress when I need to miss a week.

  • Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    I love that story.. The way you create a life in those paper dolls – a lot like the stories you create. I agree that finding a new original angle can be quite hard, which is why I put my energy on presentation instead.

  • Sharmishtha Basu

    amazing! this one is fantastic, you wove it to the perfection.

Let me know what you think. I appreciate all comments and criticisms.

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