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 to go on Flickr and find a photo that inspired. Like yesterday, the second thing I saw grabbed me, and here is my 386-worder.
Two out of three
His looks are somewhere between The Milky Bar Kid and Harry Potter.
Today he’s on a school trip – a space museum. He loves anything big, silver and shiny, and today he’s surrounded by lots of all three.
He’s waiting to have his photo taken. His teacher, Mrs Desmond, is painfully slow. She could have taken a whole film reel by now, although of course everything’s digital these days.
The Kid only knows about 35mm from his dad, telling him about the darkroom he set up.
The Kid likes his dad’s house as it’s bigger, newer than his mum’s. Dad pays for them both, he’s got a good job, but has another family, that’s newer too, and the Kid knows that money only goes so far. It’s something his mum says all the time.
The Kid will make sure he asks Mrs Desmond for a copy of the photo so he can show his dad. He sees him every other Saturday when his new wife is out. She’s why they have a bigger house, the Kid knows she wants more children than the one his dad inherited.
The Kid’s mum is busy with dinner when he tries to tell her about his day. She wasn’t listening in the car because she had to concentrate on the road. She wasn’t listening when they got home because she had to listen to the answerphone, even though there were rarely any calls.
The next day, Friday, he collects the photo from Mrs Desmond and tucks it safely into the front of his ‘Book of Astronomy and Space’ and pulls it out as soon as he gets home. He shows his mother who nods and puts it on the mantelpiece between the holiday donkey and snow globe.
Saturday morning, the Kid’s waiting by the front door, ten minutes early, when the doorbell rings and he pulls it open. He throws his arms around his father’s slim waist and is as swiftly encompassed. The Kid drags his dad into the lounge and pulls him to the mantelpiece. He removes the photograph and lifts it up.
The Kid doesn’t understand why his dad’s crying.
“You look smashing, Nate,” he says, ruffling the Kid’s hair.
Dad isn’t silver but he’s big and shiny and for the Kid, two out of three is good enough.
If you like working from prompts you might be interested in my 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 1).
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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.