Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
And here we are a year later doing it all over again. Today’s prompt was ‘Hero worship – Your character meets one of his / her heroes’, so here is my 234-worder.
It’s not every day
Shirley looks at the gate and smiles.
She’d not been a religious child, her parents hadn’t believed in anything like ‘that’, but then she’d met Frank Stevenson.
Theirs had been the type of marriage others aspired to but then they were ‘old school’, believed in family values, compromising along the way. Shirley called her husband “Steve”, their old joke.
Marriage vows quote “in sickness and in health” and they had their fair share of both, though in later years it was more the former than latter, but then Shirley had had good news and they’d taken their lives off ‘hold’. At least to the outside world.
Like other cancer patients given the ‘all clear’, Frank and Shirley hadn’t believed either word. Although nothing was said, they could tell in each other’s eyes that it would never go away.
But they’d lived their lives, slowly put health matters to the back of their minds and joked again.
It’s the little things that Shirley now remembers, things that hadn’t seemed so important back then. She’d called Frank a ‘saint’ when she’d taken ill and it had strengthened their faith.
And it’s that she takes with her as she clicks open the gate.
It’s not every day you get to meet your hero but as she walks through the gate, greeted by a young man called Peter, she knows she’ll get to see hers whenever she likes.
This story is inspired by true events… I went to Shirley’s funeral this morning. Frank is a saint, both such lovely people. And yes, Shirley called him “Steve”. R.I.P. Shirley Stevenson.
If you like working from prompts you might be interested in my 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 1).
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.