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 ‘Off-stage’; to write a story where your character never appears. Because I’m planning on eBooking this month’s stories I thought I’d bring back some from the 2011 collection, so we have another day in the life of ‘Whatever you say’, and inspired by the overheard line whilst walking my dog, “We’ve only got 12 minutes ’til the bell.” Without further ado, here is my 318-worder.
White Chocolate Chocolate
“Mum, have you washed my gym kit?”
“You know I have. It’s in the holdall, there, by the front door. What’s your brother doing?”
“Did you sign my school trip form?”
“Yes, Rosie. Chuck!”
“Is it OK if Holly comes to supper?”
“It’s a bit short notice. I’ve already started cooking the…”
“She doesn’t need to eat much.”
“Holly’s too skinny as it is. Don’t worry, I’ll add something else. Chuck!”
“Could we have some Granny Dee’s pudding?”
“I’m not going shopping today.”
“But you’re going past the store.”
“Past, Rosie, not in. I’ve already prepared the rhubarb.”
“You love rhubarb.”
“But Holly doesn’t.”
“Well then she can just have ice cream.”
“She doesn’t like ice cream.”
“Holly doesn’t like ice cream? What little girl doesn’t like ice cream?”
“No wonder she’s so skinny.”
“Can we have chocolate ice cream then?”
“I thought you said Holly doesn’t like ice cream.”
“She likes chocolate.”
“She can have some chocolate chocolate but we’re not getting chocolate ice cream. I had to throw the last lot away. Chuck! We’ve only got 12 minutes ’til the bell!”
“We’ve got some chocolate chocolate?”
“No, but I can pop into the store.”
“But you said you weren’t going to the store.”
“We could do with some chocolate anyway.”
“We never have chocolate. You won’t let us.”
“Can we go now?”
“We can’t go without Chuck. Go up and get him will you, while I get the car out the garage.”
“Oh, he’s not here. He’s already gone to school. Told me to tell you.”
“Yeah, ages ago. They’re doing some band practice for Saturday night.”
“And he told you to tell me.”
“But you didn’t.”
“But I’ve been calling him.”
Rosie shrugged her shoulders. “Can we have white chocolate chocolate?”
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.