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 (re-)write a fairy tale, so here is my 345-worder inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Some Shoes to Match
“Good God, man! What’s happened here?”
“It’s moths, sir, they’ve eaten it all.”
“Not all, Talbot, but pretty much most of it.”
“But the Princess is supposed to be wearing this in three hours, what are we going to do?”
“Try something else, sir?”
“There is nothing else, Talbot. Nothing else new. You know she doesn’t wear something twice. Unthinkable.”
“I don’t know then, sir. Could she wear a coat over it?”
“It’s summer, she can’t wear a coat over it. Apart from being too hot, it wouldn’t look right.”
“Pardon me, sir but this don’t exactly look right.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“What is it, Forsythe?”
“I think I have a solution, sir.”
“Where is it, Bertram?”
“Here, on the hanger, your highness.”
“But I don’t see anything.”
“Exactly, your highness.”
“It’s a new lace, ma’am. Made from the rarest of worms.”
“Indeed. From the highest hills of Peru.”
“It’s a bit… daring.”
“Oh but your highness, you champion new trends, you dare to be different. You are respected for it and this… they will love you for wearing this.”
“Let me try it on.”
“Certainly ma’am. Talbot, Forsythe, now if you will.”
“Right away, sir.”
“Does that feel comfortable, your highness?”
“It feels as comfortable as my own skin.”
“And that is why it is priceless.”
“Priceless? Rare worms. I don’t think this would be setting a good example. People are going hungry, Bertram. I can’t be spending money on such extravagances.”
“No money was spent, your highness. It was a gift from the Sultan of Peru.”
“Peru has a Sultan?”
“Oh yes. A very young and handsome one.”
“Yes, ma’am, and I am sure, if I may be so bold to say, that I think he would be very honoured if you accepted it and wore it on this special day.”
“Then I shall. I shall wear it once a year and I shall call it my birthday suit.”
“I think that’s a perfect name, your highness. We just need to find you some shoes to match.”
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.