This is my 100th Friday Fictioneers story, which means that I’ve written 10,000 words since I’ve started the Friday Fictioneers. Here’s to 10,000 more. Also, those of you who got here through the Friday Fictioneers portal saw that I have a new icon, different from my normal Delta Sigma one. This signals new things to come. More details to come later.
copyright Melanie Greenwood
Courage at the End
The couple sat with the vaccine lying between them.
“You take it,” the woman said.
“Then you and the baby will die. Let the baby have it.”
“But if we die, who will care for him?”
“We have to do something soon.”
They sat there silently, as time slipped away.
* * *
“That’s it?” the professor asked.
“It’s up to the reader how it ends,” the student said.
“Are you kidding me? You can’t be timid as a writer! Choose an ending and stand behind it.”
“Fine, they give it to the baby.”
“The baby? That was the stupidest choice! You fail.”
33 Comments | tags: dilemma, disease, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, post apocalyptic, professor, vaccine, writing | posted in Friday Fictioneers
Copyright Kelly Sands
A storm was coming.
Rebecca stood, tied to a stake, on the uncannily silent beach, watching coal-black clouds gather and build. She had deserted. Tomorrow she would be shot.
Lightning blazed through the approaching tempest. In its fitful glow, a warship appeared, then many more. They were not friendly, Rebecca knew. The invasion had finally come.
Darkness thickened but still no alarm sounded. The sentries must be asleep.
She imagined herself raising the alarm, being pardoned—a hero. She pictured the invasion force rescuing her. The calculating wheels of self-preservation spun. She opened her mouth to scream, but still hesitated.
40 Comments | tags: beach, dilemma, execution, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, invasion, storm, war | posted in Friday Fictioneers
The fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has been quoted as saying, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” I understand this (beyond the unfair slam to California) because writer’s block is a great excuse for someone who wants to write but doesn’t want to write THAT much.
I don’t know if my problem is writer’s block, but I recently gave up on a novel. Not permanently, but I set it aside for now in favor of another story which also needs working on. I’ve never done that before. I usually find that when I hit a snag in a story, I just think about it until I get over the hump and then it’s smooth sailing. Also, I hate, hate, hate to give up on a project. However, I’ve been thinking of how to end the story for about two years now, without any suitable solution. For those of you who read my optimistic post
at the beginning of November, that’s the one I’m talking about. I made a lot of progress and got a lot of good ideas, but I still can’t finish it. I just went and read a bunch of quotes about writer’s block by famous authors and all of them said basically the same thing: suck it up and get writing, and I totally agree. But…
But here’s my question: when is it time to put something aside and when is it time to keep hammering your head against the craggy face of the story, hoping for a breakthrough? I’m not whining or complaining or even trying to justify myself, I’m genuinely wondering. I feel like a failure for giving up (even temporarily) but now that I’m working on the other novel, I’m much more excited about writing it. I look forward to going back at it.
I’m sure any professional writer would read this and scoff; I probably would too in their place. I have the freedom as an amateur writer of not being under contract and under a deadline. But also, being an amateur writer, I feel I have the freedom at the moment to pick and choose which projects to do, even if I am aspiring to be professional eventually.
What do you think? Please be as brutally honest as you’d like. Do you think it is acceptable for a serious writer to put aside a piece because of not being able to make progress with it, or should you always power through any difficulties? What are your experiences in this area?
17 Comments | tags: dilemma, novel, opinion, Terry Pratchett, Writer, writers block, writing | posted in Uncategorized
There was once a prisoner named Harry. He did not like prison (of course), but had gotten used to it. He stayed out of trouble and was mostly liked by both the prisoners and guards. One day, one of the guards retired and stopped by Harry’s cell.
“I got a present for you,” he said. “You know that door at the far end of the cafeteria that’s always locked? It leads to E Block, which has been closed down for years. The far end of E Block is open to the outside. If you go through that door, you can escape.” He handed Harry a key.
“Why are you doing this?” Harry asked, taking the key in amazement.
The guard shrugged. “You’re a nice guy and I don’t care anymore. Just don’t tell anyone I gave it to you.” He told Harry how to evade the guards and leave without being noticed. Then the two shook hands and the guard left.
The next day, Harry thought about escaping. But, it was raining so he put it off until the next day. The next day as well he put it off. Finally, he hid the key in his room. Ten years later, he was released. On his last day, he handed the key to his roommate and told him the story.
“Are you crazy?” the man asked when he’d heard the story. “You could have left at any time in the last ten years and yet you stayed here? You suffered the bad food and the loneliness when you could have seen your family or eaten home cooked food? Why would you remain in captivity?”
Harry smiled. “But I wasn’t. From the moment the guard gave me the key, I had the ability to leave and so I was free. You’re only in imprisoned if you can’t leave, but I could have left at any time.”
Do you agree with Harry? Is freedom being out of captivity or can it be simply having the option to leave captivity? Let me know what you think.
6 Comments | tags: dilemma, escape, fiction, prison, thought exercise | posted in Uncategorized
Another story for the Friday Fictioneers writing group. I had several ideas for this picture, but ultimately went with this one. I have another one that is a bit longer I might post later, which is also based on this picture.
Bruce looked up from the note, to the high stair where a scrap of cloth hung. He started forward, but then hesitated.
What if the shirt was an illusion too?
44 Comments | tags: creepy, dilemma, escape, fantasy, fear, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, ghouls, horror, illusion, monster, note, stair, trap, tunnels | posted in Dusk
Another story for the Friday Fictioneers. Check out other people’s ideas.
copyright Lora Mitchell
The shells burst in a glorious scintillation of color and the exultant roar of a victor. The world rejoiced.
“Those fireworks are alien signal flares, you know,” Trey said. “They’re not that different from us. Don’t do it, Mike.”
“They killed 200 million people,” Heather said. “Kill it, quick.”
Mike stood over the wounded alien, rifle steady.
“The war is over now. It’d be murder,” Trey said.
“But it’s not human.”
“It’s intelligent, though.”
“We need to kill them all.”
“We need to forgive them.”
Mike wished he didn’t have to decide. But he was the one holding the gun.
32 Comments | tags: aliens, dilemma, fiction, fireworks, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, science fiction, victory | posted in Dusk
Here is a thought exercise. Imagine you had no possible source of income but had food, basic shelter and basic clothes provided for you as you needed them. Nothing else is given to you though.
Now, imagine that you could refuse to eat a meal and you would get five dollars (or equivalent currency). You could do this anytime you liked, up to $15 a day if you didn’t eat at all.
Would you just take the food and live comfortably or would you sacrifice to save up money? If so, how much would you try to save and what would you buy with it?
23 Comments | tags: choice, dilemma, food, money, thought exercise | posted in Uncategorized