An Aspiring Writer

As you might have noticed, I have plunged back into writing fiction. Although essays seem to be more applicable in expressing what I care about, my heart is twined with fiction. Not only do I love to read (which is why I occasionally review for www.ReadingTeen.net) but I hope to someday publish a book (ideally, the one I’ve already mostly written, but hey, it might take me twelve more tries).

Since eleven, I have been an aspiring writer (along with a lot of other things). When I was thirteen, I outlined my first novel (which was thankfully never written). In high school, I was told to be a combo writer-musician-pastor-reporter. (And mechanical engineer; I swear, that was a fluke.)

But most importantly, there are the ten-question Facebook quizzes. They are perfectly accurate. And these, my friends, are always declaring my perfect career as “writer.” For example, if I lived in Harry Potter’s world, I was advised to be a journalist for the Daily Prophet. This is revealing, paramount, and oh so very serious to me.

I confess I have still been rather unsure of myself, despite these Facebook quizzes that should boost my confidence to no ends.

 

Flash! Friday

As you have also noticed, I am still mastering the magic of limited language. It might come as a surprise, but my really long posts on Average Advocate are usually edited down by about a third. Unfortunately for all, this is just not enough.  So, to challenge myself and delve back into fiction, I was considering writing contests.

500 words seemed ridiculously hard. But I was ready to take it on.

But then that challenge was eclipsed by another much more demanding.

150 words!

I have an exceptionally talented writer friend whom I highly esteem, Rebekah Postupak (or as I fondly remember her, Rebekah Poststamp). Maybe someday she can be my personal literary Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the meantime, she has at least been paving the way; pushing me to tap into the stories inside. One of the things she has been badgering me to join is a weekly writing contest she begot, Flash! Friday. Belatedly, I have listened to her marvelous advice and have written three very short stories so far for these weekly competitions.

At first I thought competing with 50-100 people would be easy. Then I changed my mind, panicking because being one, or in the top handful of over fifty people is still rather hard. I made myself feel better by telling myself I didn’t have to win. Instead I made it my goal to at least be mentioned sometime within a year.

And low and behold, that week I met my goal, receiving third place by posting a Wormwood. Someone likes my really weird unfiltered imagination!

There is hope for me yet. (And now I guess I need a new goal.)

 

Three Short Stories

Below are the three short stories I have done. Note that the most recent, which is listed first below, didn’t actually get submitted in the competition on time.

I would really appreciate your feedback in the comments. Which of the three do you like best? Which the least? What is it about the wording that catches your attention? How did they make you feel? Which would you choose to read for fun? Thanks!

Enjoy!

 

 Volume 2-37

Marooned, by Howard Pyle, 1909. Public Domain.

Marooned, by Howard Pyle, 1909. Public Domain.

 

Fool-Struck 

The brilliant sky set gold, a fitting backdrop for the swarming fireboon swallows sent by her magic to torment and nourish me.

They made me long for her silvery touch, until I remembered what I was doomed to never forget.

I was a sucker, like the rest of them. “Yes,” I said. “Please let me try,” I begged. Then, “I am strong enough,” I had insisted. And so I was wasted, send, and left.

To be worthy to stand beside her, I must crack through the Sorcerer’s spell. So, daily I toil to break free. Like the others beside me, I push and fling myself against it, the barrier.

At the day’s end on our respective sandy beaches, we, still like fools, hope. We aren’t watching, for she will not come. We were snagged in her siren’s snare and know we live eternally in these crafted bubbles.

But we still wait for nothing under the saffron sky.

 

Volume 2-36

Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.

Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.

 

 Wormwood 

Did we give them credit? Of course not. We are Life, they were bottom-dwellers.

They labored. When the storms and thunder came and went, when the sun burned and set, we paid them no mind.

Why would we? Wormwood was the least of our concerns. The Kingdom had the vicious Wyderhosiens, sleazy Mebas, and the violent race of Zyesis to worry about. The Larvi were said to be non-toxic to society as long as left to themselves. (And when not, they were known to bite visitors apart.)

When we migrated the populations from the dying planet, we left them in a boring useless sector where the Larvi could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.

But we do not have the talent to coexist. By the time we returned, the Larvi had transformed the tough, hewn rock walls into a masterpiece. Then we followed command, slaughtering the slimy peach creatures.

These new headquarters will suffice. Until we find something better.

 

“THIRD RUNNER UP

Elisa Average Advocate, “Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.”

 

 Volume 2-34

Berlijn Plantation, Commewijne, Suriname. Public domain photo by Brokopondo

Berlijn Plantation, Commewijne, Suriname. Public domain photo by Brokopondo.

 

Burn to Fly

Violently, I swayed, more than just a little wind-tossed. Conch’s plan didn’t factor in my fear of heights and the potent gales.

But Conchita, with her tight curls and snarky grin, motioned me to climb higher still– each branch closer to flight.

It seemed ages since we’d escaped, which was because neither of us had actually ever left. As a purebred Leeflang Dutchess, I was expected to stay forgotten yet be so committed to the land that I wouldn’t poke my toe out.

But here, hanging high over the river, we were birds. While freedom sung through the roaring wind around us, it also spread our roaring cause.

When we heard of the slave riots we knew it was time. Liberty must be swept in from the future, from what the soon-to-dawn 1900’s must blossom.

And so with the plantation burning behind us, we jumped into the muddy river, leaving only a marble arch to memorialize our flame.

 

Which one did you like most? Let me know!

 

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  • Laura

    Thanks for posting this! I wanted to read the stories you posted! 🙂 I agree with the the review about your 3rd place story – you created a whole world in just a few sentences. That one was my favorite 🙂 And the picture gave a sense of “worms” and a “higher civilization” at the same time. I liked how you captured that feeling from the picture. And I really like your language in the last story, specifically, “freedom sung through the roaring wind,” and “Liberty must be swept in from the future.” I love the imagery you created 🙂