Last Lines

This week’s flash fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig is so short one can almost misconstrue it as easy. Here it is:

Your task this week is simple:

I want you to come up with a single sentence.

Just one.

No more than thirteen words long.

That’s it? I thought initially, until I started to really think about it. In another blog-life I ran a prompt series called “Modeling Monday” in which I used first sentences as an inspiration for creating fiction, but last sentences never caught my attention in the same way. This week’s prompt has me wondering: What IS a last sentence?

I only know one way to attempt to answer this question: read last sentences!

So that’s what I’ve been doing, reading and collecting sentences, looking for patterns, trying to answer my question of what the heck a last sentence should look like. I’ve been unable to come up with an answer, as in I do not see a singular type of last sentence, I see many.

Here is a collection of last lines from a bunch of books I love, and what purpose I think they serve.

** WARNING! THERE ARE STORY SPOILERS AHEAD! **

The Crystal Ball Last Sentence


Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes:

“P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard.”

Oh my dear, dear Charlie… Can we gush about this book for a minute? Just reading this one sentence brings back all the feels for me. In my humble opinion, it’s an incredible last sentence.

As the story of Charlie’s experimentation comes to a close, and the novel concludes, Daniel Keyes uses a note about our furry friend Algernon to steal away all of those post-reading nagging questions like, “I wonder what will happen to our protagonist next…” First, the physical structure of the sentence (similar to many before it) demonstrates Charlie’s cognitive decline with heartbreaking clarity to all who have read the whole book through. It is clear that Charlie is following in Algernon’s paw-steps (is that ridiculous? Should I have just written footsteps?). Which takes us to our crystal ball — the flowers for Algernon’s GRAVE — the readers now know exactly what happens next for Charlie and they can go ahead, put their book down, find a box of tissues, and look for someone to hug.

The Mission: Accomplished Last Sentence


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling:

“All was well.”

Harry Potter had a really crappy childhood — parents murdered, unloving and abusive adoptive family, and — oh yeah — a dark lord of magic and all of his followers seeking to murder him. For seven books readers followed along this story and felt deeply that Harry would come out ahead — safe, loved, protected — but we never really knew it for sure until JK shared these three simple words: “All was well.” With that simple send-off the reader could shut the book and exhale, realizing all at once that was all we needed to know. We could be okay with an unknown Potter future as long as we could believe that, in the end, all would be well for our protagonist.

The Character-Focused Last Sentence


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

“He [Atticus] would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

The final sentence of To Kill A Mockingbird leaves the reader with an image of the unshakeable character, Atticus Finch, in his role as protective father. The reader is left knowing with full certainty that Atticus will stay there all night because that is what is in his nature. This sentence hearkens back to a point earlier in the story when Atticus waited outside a jail to protect Tom Robinson from a lynch mob, so it leaves the reader with a very clear message about who the narrator deems the hero of this story.

The Theme, In A Sentence Last Sentence


I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly:

“We are stronger than we think.”

While one can argue that most last sentences tap into the larger theme of the story it concludes, in the case of I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly the last line declares, quite literally, one of the major themes of the entire story. It is simple, powerful, and gives readers pause upon reading it.

The Full Spiral Last Sentence (AKA – The Sequel Prepper)


The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:

“I asked Argus to take me down to cabin three, so I could pick up my bags for home.”

Upon reading the last sentence of the first book in the Percy Jackson series I was reminded of the last sentences of the first bunch of Harry Potter books. They all feel like our protagonist has come full circle… almost. So in this last sentence of The Lightning Thief we see that Percy is heading back home, which will bring him back to a place and circumstance(s) similar to those where we first met him in the beginning of the book, BUT the mention of “cabin three” reminds the reader that Percy now has a place in a new community which can never be taken from him.

These Endings Are Just the Beginning

This was, by no means, meant to be an exhaustive list of last line types. Do you have a fav that served a fantastic purpose you’d like to discuss? Let me know in the comments below.

My Last Sentence

In the meantime, this whole discussion was inspired by a prompt. A prompt that asked me to come up with a last sentence. Well… I finally did. Here it is:

I watched the butterfly escape the spiderweb and I laughed.

Any thoughts about what kind of story this might be concluding? I have some thoughts of my own, but I’m curious to hear about your impressions from just one concluding line. Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

#FlashFiction: After the Rain

~ after the rain ~

photo by Lisa Holder

 

The rain stops, I wait for the song. It’s around noon, so there’s a chance it’s coming no matter what Mama says. She doesn’t believe in the music, but she can’t hear the way I do, just like I can’t see the way she does. She’ll be coming any minute to say we need to get outside for our daily dose of sun and fresh air.

The floor creaks in the hallway, two steps outside the bathroom door, seven steps from mine. Here she comes.

“Okay my little flower, looks like Mother Nature’s giving us a little sun time! Up and at-em!” she says, with a hint of forced joy. She’s down today. She always misses Dad in the rain. I always miss him when I smell coffee or rye toast.

“Is the sun actually shining Mama?” I ask, yearning for the warmth of it to melt away too many hours of forced air conditioned air off my skin.

“Looks like we have one more cloud to get out of the way. I’ll bet we have full sun by the time we get out the door.” She puts a tender hand in the middle of my back and I know she still thinks I need her guidance to “see” my way out of the house. It’s so hard for those of you with eyesight to get it. I have my own way to see around this world. My touch, my hearing, my memory — they all get me around with the same fluidity as you.

Mama grabs my elbow as I get to my feet and I realize she needs this touch more than I ever will, so I sink in and take the lift she offers.

Forty-two steps to the door. Two stairs off the porch. We sit down on the still-moist grass beneath us and I smell the irises I was named after. Mama planted all around the front of our home, there’s no way to ever get lost with that aromatic calling card always leading me back to my front lawn.

A breeze picks up, whistling through the fence that sits between our house and the Miller’s next door, then lifting the hairs on my arm .

“Bye-bye cloud,” Mama says and I can hear that her head is tossed back. She’s talking to the sky. “See you next time.” She’s talking to Dad. I put my hand on top of hers in the grass and toss my head back to get the full feel of the heat pouring down. And, as I do, the song begins.

It’s faint, but I hear the quiet melody of roses harmonizing with citrus — oranges, lemons, and limes — followed by the sweet song of ocean and sky, and the refrain comes to an end with midnight and irises. I begin to hum along and sway to the song from nowhere that no one else can hear and my heart breaks for all of you. How I wish I were talented enough to translate this into a composition to be played with man made instruments, though I doubt they are capable of bringing this beauty to life in the same way I hear it so clearly. My sun song, my after-rain reprieve, the melody of magic, of hope and joy, the musical mark that the storm has passed and Mama won’t be sad anymore.

I breathe deep, smelling the moisture cooking off the grass beside me while feeling just like an actual iris. I drink in both the water as it soaks into my jeans, and the sun as it beats down on my flesh. I curl my fingers around Mama’s, sure that these are the roots keeping me tethered to this Earth. That’s when a warm drop of moisture lands on the back of my hand. It’s not a raindrop.

“Mama, why are you crying?”

She sniffs quickly. “Baby, I’m sorry… I just…” She stops, exhales, and in between her breathing my sun song is getting louder. I know she’d be cured of all of this sadness if she could just hear one refrain.

Roses…

     oranges…

          lemons…

               limes…

                    ocean…

                         midnight…

                              irises.

Hear it, Mama. Just listen.

She breathes in again. “I just wish you could see it, even if it were just once. It’s a rainbow, Iris. It’s so beautiful.”

My own tear falls down where Mama’s had, not because I wished I could see, but because I realize that I did. “Mama, I can hear it.”

~THE END~

This story was written in response to a Flash Fiction prompt presented by Chuck Wendig on his blog terribleminds. This week Chuck challenged us to check out the Twitter account @MagicRealismBot and to pick a tweet to use as a prompt to write a story up to 1500 words long. This is the tweet I chose:

link to photo used in this post:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lisaholdernc/23675016949

First Draft Fiction – Not My Photos

The following is a first draft of a short story written as part of the Story A Day May 2016 Challenge.

This is Story #1 for day 1.

In the comments below, please share your critique of the story.


imageNOT MY PHOTOS

Before my coffee, before my shower, before I even bother to reach over to my nightstand to grab my glasses to focus on the world around me, before any easing into my day, I always grab my phone. Sometimes I check the weather, or the news, or check in to social media. On that morning I wanted so desperately to recapture the frivolity of the night before – especially since my pounding head was ensuring that I’d be paying for it all day. That’s why I was scrolling through my photos at 5AM. It was supposed to make me smile, or at least stop me from cringing at the daylight seeping through my windows.

“What the fuck?” I couldn’t help but say the words aloud in my crackled, sleepy voice. I scrolled past the photos from last night, and the day before, all the way back to Christmas and still didn’t understand what I was seeing. I grabbed my glasses and slid up so I was sitting against my headboard. Unfortunately I had been jarred into action without any comfort.

Not one of the photos were recognizable. I did not recognize one photo in the gallery, nor did I recognize any of the people or places these photos captured.

My heart sank.

I must have switched phones with a stranger.

But… No.

I let the tech weigh heavy in my hand. It felt right. It looked right. The case was identical to mine. And… I reflected on my groggy grab when I first put the phone on – I had typed in my passcode. I closed the gallery and checked the email – mine. Closed the inbox and checked Facebook – my News Feed. I closed it out, scrolled through the home screen – all the apps were recognizable and in place. I clicked open my music and every tune was where I left it.

Closed it.

Instagram!

I opened up the photo sharing site, tapped my profile @insta_terry_gram. The name was right. The bio was right. The pictures were all wrong. They were the same shitty, unrecognizable pics from my gallery, minus some of the duplicates that were obvious remnants of incessant retakes on a quest toward perfection.

I tapped the phone icon, and called Susan. She picked up on the fourth ring and sounded miserable, “Are you in a ditch? Dead? Dying? Quickly say yes or I’m hanging up.”

“Susan,” I said as calmly as I could. My voice was fully powered now. My entire body had risen to the occasion of my fear. “Something freaky is going on.”

I guess I my terror translated because Susan didn’t hang up. In fact, it sounded as though she pressed more closely into her phone when she said, “Honey, are you alright?”

The sincerity of her concern struck deep. I could not hold back my tears, “I don’t know.”

“Oh my god,” she said, “FaceTime. Right now.”

That was Susan’s go to. When shit got out of hand, she needed to speak face to face, even if that meant talking through a screen. Before I could protest the request came pinging through my phone. Her name sat a top my screen, clearly stating that it was her calling me, merely taking our audio call to more amplified, video connection. I clicked the option to accept the call at which my phone’s camera came on and the screen flickered to connect with Susan. We had done this so many times before. It was all second nature. Neither of us shocked or ashamed by our disheveled looks of distraught, or exhaustion, or grief. We had seen each other in every possible horror and delight. There shouldn’t have been anything to shock or surprise me on that screen.

But, of course, there was.

When the picture came on, it was not Susan on the other end. It was a pair of people I have never seen. They were not in their beds, completely undone, barely greeting the day, and bracing to deal with a crisis. These two women were pristine, bright, perfectly made-up, smiling and – upon seeing my face – cheering.

Oh yes, you read that correctly, upon seeing my day-old crusty make-up, bed-head hair, and obviously blotched up cry-face, these two women cheered. “We did it! We did it” They yelled to each other and then in multiple directions out of my view. “Come see!” one of them added, which resulted in more heads cramming into view.

To be perfectly honest with you, I was astonished. I don’t use that word too often in its truest sense, but in that moment astonishment encapsulated me whole. “Uh… hello?” I said.

One of the two woman screamed and started laughing all at once. The one next to her did her best to try to suppress what I imaged would have been an equally loud outburst when she said, “Yes, I’m sorry. Hello. How are you?”

I raised my eyebrows at the mundane nature of the greeting. “Nope. No.” I couldn’t stop my head from shaking back and forth. “Who are you?”

“Oh yes! Sorry Crescent Labs twenty-one thirty-six. We are testing phone 6 of twenty fifteen. What time is it?”

I squinted at the time on the top of my phone screen and answered, “It’s 5:23AM Eastern time here. Definitely a different time zone. Are you guys in Europe or something?” I was beginning to think Susan and I had somehow picked up someone’s International call. It was weird, but it was becoming clear to me that my phone was somehow crossing streams with someone else’s wifi or something. I was due to visit the Apple store to have one of those self-proclaimed “geniuses” sort all this shit out. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Yore-rrrip?” one of the guys in the background said, while the woman who was talking to me went wide-eyed. Her friend stopped laughing. I even thought I heard an “oh shit” from somewhere off screen.

“Ma’am? Did you say a different time zone?” the woman asked me, now smile-less.

“Yeah. I don’t know. I’m figuring my wifi is screwing with me or something. My phone is wonky,” I stood up from my bed, walked over to the window, opened the curtains and turned the camera out so they could see my view of the Hudson River, “Sun’s barely up over here in New York.”

There were gasps and excited voices. Multiple voices whispering different questions and exclamations like, “New York?” or “Did you see the water?” and, I think someone said, “Did she say wifi?”

When I turned the phone back around the woman was alone and tears were in her eyes. “Ma’am. I am so sorry. What is your name?”

As I watched the sun hit the water outside my window my fears of technological glitches slipped away. I put the phone down on my dresser as I grabbed a scrunchie to do my best to tame my hair on the spot. “It’s okay. No worries. I’m Terry. This is some weird techie-shit. That’s all. I probably need to upgrade anyway.”

She laughed a little, but there was no humor in it. “Terry, what’s today’s date?”

“Oh shit. I don’t know…” I started clicking buttons on my phone to access the calendar. “The first,” I said, clicking back to the FaceTime screen,”May.”

“The year?” she said, eyebrows raised and eyes glossy.

“Two thousand sixteen. Finally getting used to saying it. Usually takes me about a half a year to lock that shit down.”

“Mmm-hmm,” she said with lips pressed tight, nodding and looking down. “Twenty sixteen. Right. Of course.” She closed her eyes for a moment and I saw a single tear fall down her cheek before she opened them again and looked back up into the camera. “Thank you Terry. Sorry for the mix up.” Then she disconnected the call.

Within the next minute, as I was trying to call Susan back, my phone did one of those funky reboots no one asked it to and when it came back on all my pictures had returned. It was fixed. Obviously some techie-glitch that righted itself like all good tech should.

That was it. It was over. I didn’t think about it again… Until this morning.

I was doing my thing again – checking my phone before greeting my day – and, again, found myself scrolling through photos. There was a new one, with a weird date – May 13, 2136. It looked like one of those inspirational quotes because it was just words on a white background. I grabbed my glasses and clicked on it. Here’s what it said:

Terry,

Sorry about the other day. We weren’t trying to contact you. We didn’t know we could. Lots of arguments about what to do with that power now that we can, and questions of whether or not we should. I can’t wait for them to make up their mind. The water, Terry, you have to save it. I know you’re just one person with no idea how to save the world, but this is it. Spread the word. Stop the Water Wars. We lost it all. I’m going to try to time-tell as many people as will listen. You are the first.

Iris Cilencia, Crescent Labs, 13/5/2136

 

THE END

StoryADay500x500The following prompt found on the Story A Day website inspired this story:

THE PROMPT:

When Terry began scrolling through her phone, none of the photos she found were hers.

Constructing a Story from A to Z – Z is for Zoom

We have reached the end. ALPHABLOCK had a lot of choices for Z, many traditional children’s book choices were audaciously ignored in favor stating “Z is for Zoom!” This is lots of fun when reading to a toddler, but I felt it left me in an awkward position to close up our month long story. Here it is:

“Mommy goes zoom!” Dani cried with glee as we arrived at Alexander’s car and stole back my daughter’s elephant-dog.

Here’s our story’s COMPLETED first draft:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed. A kite came out of the sky onto my head. I smelled the lemonade before it hit me. The moon-pie was the final straw.

I burst free of the crowd – a manic mother bird whose chick had fallen from her nest. I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions, like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me. I reached a clearing , saw a volunteer with an orange vest and a pencil in hand kneeling down beside a sobbing Dani. As I looked at her Snow White shirt with the evil queen clutching the bewitched apple, I wondered why I thought that was an appropriate outfit for my child. I rushed to her side, gathered her in an enormous embrace covering her with the rainbow of rubbish that covered my clothing. I felt icy scissors of rejection when she pulled away crying, “No mommy.” Then, pulling away again, she said, “Dog on train.”

The volunteer bent over helping me keep a hold on her, embarrassingly exposing his underwear and more butt crack than I was comfortable being exposed to. I heard a strange violin tune blare from the carousel to the right and caught a glimpse of the train just beyond it. In the front car was Alexander, my neighbor’s kid, always trapping Dani’s toys in his web of mischievous torture. I knew an x-ray vision of the scene would expose Dani’s Dumbo in the seat next to him. I grabbed Dani, ran past the carousel, the tiny yachts controlled by remote steering wheels, and past the line for the train.

“Mommy goes zoom!” Dani cried with glee as we arrived at Alexander’s car and stole back my daughter’s elephant-dog.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

The first draft is complete! This leaves me with a number of questions for you as we enter into next month’s work:

  1. What do you think of the story as whole?
  2. If you were given veto power to eliminate one sentence of your choice, which would you pick? Would you get rid of it completely or want a rewrite?
  3. Any thoughts about a title for this story as it is right now?
  4. Does this story feel complete to you as is? If not, do you need more story before or after this scene?

Constructing a Story from A to Z – Y is for Yachts

It was with this letter that I nearly flung ALPHABLOCK across the room. Y is for Yachts? Really? Not only was this annoying in terms of my story here, but the first time I went through this book with my son I thought, When is he ever going to see a yacht in his life? What kind of family does this author think he is writing to? In the end, I decided to be optimistic – maybe exposing my son to yachts at such a young age will encourage him to work toward owning one of his own one day!

As for where these yachts could be found in my carnival… well…

I grabbed Dani, ran past the carousel, the tiny yachts controlled by remote steering wheels, and past the line for the train.

Here’s our story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed. A kite came out of the sky onto my head. I smelled the lemonade before it hit me. The moon-pie was the final straw.

I burst free of the crowd – a manic mother bird whose chick had fallen from her nest. I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions, like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me. I reached a clearing , saw a volunteer with an orange vest and a pencil in hand kneeling down beside a sobbing Dani. As I looked at her Snow White shirt with the evil queen clutching the bewitched apple, I wondered why I thought that was an appropriate outfit for my child. I rushed to her side, gathered her in an enormous embrace covering her with the rainbow of rubbish that covered my clothing. I felt icy scissors of rejection when she pulled away crying, “No mommy.” Then, pulling away again, she said, “Dog on train.”

The volunteer bent over helping me keep a hold on her, embarrassingly exposing his underwear and more butt crack than I was comfortable being exposed to. I heard a strange violin tune blare from the carousel to the right and caught a glimpse of the train just beyond it. In the front car was Alexander, my neighbor’s kid, always trapping Dani’s toys in his web of mischievous torture. I knew an x-ray vision of the scene would expose Dani’s Dumbo in the seat next to him. I grabbed Dani, ran past the carousel, the tiny yachts controlled by remote steering wheels, and past the line for the train.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

Two questions for you today!

  1. Carnival experts – are those little boats actually yachts, or are they some other kind of boat? I have vague memories of them, but can’t place the actual type of boat in my mind’s eye.
  2. “Past” versus “passed – did I use the right one? I know one of my writing group buddies explained this to me in the past, but I completely forgot and I feel like I made the wrong decision in this sentence!

Constructing a Story from A to Z – X is for X-Ray

I can’t say that ALPHABLOCK was all that original with the whole “X is for X-ray” bit, but, honestly, what are the choices? Though a xylophone may have been a better fit for this story of a mom and her daughter, the x-ray will have to do. Here’s today’s sentence:

I knew an x-ray vision of the scene would expose Dani’s Dumbo in the seat next to him.

Here’s our story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed. A kite came out of the sky onto my head. I smelled the lemonade before it hit me. The moon-pie was the final straw.

I burst free of the crowd – a manic mother bird whose chick had fallen from her nest. I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions, like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me. I reached a clearing , saw a volunteer with an orange vest and a pencil in hand kneeling down beside a sobbing Dani. As I looked at her Snow White shirt with the evil queen clutching the bewitched apple, I wondered why I thought that was an appropriate outfit for my child. I rushed to her side, gathered her in an enormous embrace covering her with the rainbow of rubbish that covered my clothing. I felt icy scissors of rejection when she pulled away crying, “No mommy.” Then, pulling away again, she said, “Dog on train.”

The volunteer bent over helping me keep a hold on her, embarrassingly exposing his underwear and more butt crack than I was comfortable being exposed to. I heard a strange violin tune blare from the carousel to the right and caught a glimpse of the train just beyond it. In the front car was Alexander, my neighbor’s kid, always trapping Dani’s toys in his web of mischievous torture. I knew an x-ray vision of the scene would expose Dani’s Dumbo in the seat next to him.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

Does the phrase “x-ray vision of the scene” sit well with you? Should I have just said something like “I knew if I had x-ray vision I would see…”? Or was there some other way of phrasing this that would have made more sense to you?

Constructing a Story from A to Z – W is for Web

W is for web according to ALPHABLOCK and I was really close to bringing in a giant spider into this story, until I realized I was coming too close to the finish line to add any new exciting beasts. Instead I added another character, named after my son, but hopefully nothing like what he will one day become!

In the front car was Alexander, my neighbor’s kid, always trapping Dani’s toys in his web of mischievous torture..

Here’s our story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed. A kite came out of the sky onto my head. I smelled the lemonade before it hit me. The moon-pie was the final straw.

I burst free of the crowd – a manic mother bird whose chick had fallen from her nest. I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions, like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me. I reached a clearing , saw a volunteer with an orange vest and a pencil in hand kneeling down beside a sobbing Dani. As I looked at her Snow White shirt with the evil queen clutching the bewitched apple, I wondered why I thought that was an appropriate outfit for my child. I rushed to her side, gathered her in an enormous embrace covering her with the rainbow of rubbish that covered my clothing. I felt icy scissors of rejection when she pulled away crying, “No mommy.” Then, pulling away again, she said, “Dog on train.”

The volunteer bent over helping me keep a hold on her, embarrassingly exposing his underwear and more butt crack than I was comfortable being exposed to. I heard a strange violin tune blare from the carousel to the right and caught a glimpse of the train just beyond it. In the front car was Alexander, my neighbor’s kid, always trapping Dani’s toys in his web of mischievous torture.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

I so desperately want to reword this sentence RIGHT NOW, but I promised myself I would post this first draft exactly as it was first written. I have a number of thoughts of how this could be worded better, but what is your advice?

Constructing a Story from A to Z – O is for Octopus

Nothing like the appearance of a nautical creature to help me stretch my imagination! ALPHABLOCK says O is for octopus. Here’s what I did with that prompt:

I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions, like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me.

Here’s our story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed. A kite came out of the sky onto my head. I smelled the lemonade before it hit me. The moon-pie was the final straw.

I burst free of the crowd – a manic mother bird whose chick had fallen from her nest. I stretched out my mother’s intuition in all directions like a mystical octopus with tentacles of Dani-sense probing the crowd-sea around me.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

I felt backed into a corner with the octopus and reached for a another metaphor – is this too much right after the “mother bird” in the previous sentence? If you had to pick one metaphor to stick with – mother bird or mystical octopus – which one would you pick?

Constructing a Story from A to Z – J is for Juggler

The one complaint I’ve had about ALPHABLOCK , from the first time I flipped through it, was the “J is for Juggler.” I thought it was a weird choice of a J word. Let’s just say I wasn’t overjoyed when it came time to thrust it into my story either, but here it goes:

At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed.

Here’s our story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an apple to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me. At once I was a frantic juggler palming the straw and lid, paper cup, gobs of chilly chocolate goo, and insincere apologies to the poor girl who I just trashed.


If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

While you wait to get to the end of my story, perhaps you can help me to start thinking about a title for this tiny tale – share your ideas in the comments!

Constructing a Story from A to Z – I is for Ice Cream

If I were to ever write an alphabet book, I would definitely be for ice cream, as it is my most favorite “i-thing” on the planet, so  ALPHABLOCK gets a big win from me for today’s prompt. Here’s hoping that I live up to the grandeur with my next sentence:

I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me.

Here’s oule to my left and I wondered if Snow White could taste the danger in her fateful bite. The balloons that surrounded the entrance and the table of the carnival did nothing to relieve my feelings of other-worldliness. I carried my tray of cookies to the PTA’s donor table and tried to escape before Mrs. Jameson could spot me.

“No bye-bye dog!” my daughter cried.

“Dog is an elephant, baby,” I said, unable to ignore this teachable moment.Dani was only two years old and still had issues with the animal kingdom – frogs were fish, birds were “eh-planes,” cats were bears, and her beloved Dumbo stuffed animal was, of course, a dog. She let go of my hand and ran, screaming, toward the “garden of fears” assembled by the high school theater group. I felt the heartbeat hammer of panic as she disappeared through crowds of distracted teens. I plowed through after her feeling the cold shock of an ice cream shake bursting out of the its flimsy carnival cup, showering its owner and me.



If you are new to this blog, or finding this post disjointed from the rest of the challenge I have taken on this month, you may be (understandably) curious about what the heck I am doing here. The explanation of the challenge and the prompt I am using can be found in my theme reveal post. Check it out, and follow the links in that post to visit some other fascinating blogs that have taken on this month’s a to z challenge!


COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:

I welcome all kinds of constructive critique! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so I’m looking for input as I will be jumping into edits and rewrites as soon as the month is through. If you want to wait until the end of the month to see the whole story before critiquing, that’s fine too.

In the meantime, if I told you tomorrow’s word was “juggler” what would you do with that? Remember, you only have one sentence to work with! (I have already scheduled all my posts ahead, so no worries about me stealing your gems!)

r story (*under construction*) so far:

I saw an app