Welcome to the twenty-third in the series: 5pm Fiction.
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.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page. One of the stories for May 2011 had a prompt of ‘over’ so I thought it would be fun to have ‘under’, and here is my 467-worder.
Feeling a little under the weather, I walk slowly with my dog. It’s raining so he’s less than enthusiastic, I completely understand. We’d normally go to the park, let him loose to play in the undergrowth but being underwhelmed we take a shortcut through the underpass, as the underground train rumbles overhead.
I imagine how bored the drivers must be, repetition the height of boredom – smiling like an undertaker at anyone who catches their eye.
I prefer to drive, points A to B, and growl at those who hog the motorway’s middle lane, wishing it were legal to undertake.
My new lodger has plans to visit somewhere different in the UK every weekend, an escape from an ex – so far under the thumb she was paper-thin, him being underhand at the best of times. He misunderstands two women living together, under the same roof, enjoys undermining our confidence when he’s under the influence. “He’s a decent man… underneath it all,” she says but I know the undercurrent of what he says and stay robust like an underpinned house.
She’s also talking of writing her autobiography, of her life in the circus and everywhere in between. I’m more of a contemporary fiction writer, history being my worst subject at school – researching undergarments of the elite and their relationship with the underclass holding little appeal. Unlike my adult life, I was an underachiever at secondary school, underperforming… like a council I know.
We’re off to see two movies today, both chick-lit, more my cup of English Breakfast than sci-fi or fantasy, although I enjoyed the Underworld series, Kate Beckinsale, a much underrated actress but then she’s British, we’re used to being the underdog.
Lodger number two arrives soon and I have my work cut out; do some painting… a bit of undercoat here and there, under the purple and blue that my house exudes. Things will have to change when he arrives, the man of the house, we’ll have to hide our underwear after the weekly wash. I’ve seen photos of him and he looks a little underweight, rectified I’m sure once he’s under my wing.
I should be editing my early novels but I’m waiting for my first readers to submit their comments on the third one, underline things that don’t make sense. One of them is an actor, an understudy sometimes.
In the meantime I have jobs to do, the house needing attention before our third party arrives… the bathroom floor tiles to be removed and replaced over underlay so the uneven floorboards don’t crack them anymore. Given the time I have, I think I may have underestimated the work to be done.
So with notepad tucked discreetly under my arm, I head under the house to check my DIY store… I may be some time…
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
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 fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, 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.