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 write a first-person viewpoint story, which I knew would be easy as I had my writing group’s workshop (and being boss I set the exercises) so here is my 380-worder written which included five set keywords: still, giro, Elaine, bow, stop.
I always did hate biology
“Stop doing that!”
I’d lost count of how many times I’d told my sister to stop kicking the counter. It was bad enough I was there cashing in my giro but she still wasn’t paying attention. ‘Selective hearing’ my mum had said but we’d been to the doctor so I knew she could hear as well as me.
“Elaine! Do that once more and I’ll…” and that’s when I saw him, the new cashier, so I changed lanes. No surprise that his was the longest, and all women except for Mr Rogers. I didn’t mind being behind Mr Rogers as it meant I got to see him.
I was ignoring Elaine by now which she didn’t like but I didn’t care.
I did wish I’d put on something pretty instead of my dungarees. And when he wasn’t looking, I pulled the bow out of my hair. Bows are for children aren’t they?
I started making up names for him; he reminded me of Charlton Heston from that Ben Hur movie except he had more clothes… sadly. But I imagined him all muscly and sweaty, and racing chariots around in circles with people cheering him on. I’d cheer for him. “Go on, Barry!” I’d say… well, Charlton’s a silly name, isn’t it?
Then it was just Mr Rogers and me. I moved left a bit so I could see over Mr Rogers’ shoulder and close enough to hear their conversation – boring of course. But his voice was sexy, like caramel, all dark and rich. He was dark too like he’d been on the beach too long.
Then when Mr Rogers finally left, I could actually hear my heart beating – and see his blue eyes up close. I stepped forward, about to speak when he completely ignored me and pulled down the blind. ‘Closed’ it said, as if to rub it in.
Then I watched him walk behind his colleagues and out the door. In my direction.
He smiled. I smiled. He brushed his hands through his gelled hair. I wished I’d washed mine.
Then he opened his mouth. “Hi,” he said and I went to speak but realised he was looking through me. I turned round and saw my teacher, Mrs Evans, smiling back at him.
I always did hate biology.
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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.