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 and today’s was to write a story from a mixed bag of a bus driver, ballerina, alarm clock, nervous, lost child and beach. I’d actually planned this weekend off but a sci-fi writer friend of mine, Tony Tibbenham, wrote this 243-word piece me… with half an hour’s notice – please do read, and comment once you have… thank you.
Raven hair flying
I shuddered awake. The alarm clock jangling into my dream. For once I was glad: I had been lost on the beach again, crying for mummy with my cries lost amongst the gull calls. Why did I have this dream before every audition? Was I really so nervous? I snuggled down again, intent on getting another ten minutes under the duvet before facing the commute. Eight minutes later I dragged myself into the shower, battering my aching legs and back with hot needles of water. The third audition this week, travelling further to find another opportunity. Always looking for the funds to pay the last bill.
Today was all the way across town, three buses and a long walk, for a small show. I almost didn’t want to get it, the commute would kill me if the show didn’t. These thoughts swirled round my mind as I stepped up onto the first bus.
The driver smiled, seeing his favourite passenger, looking tired as she lugged her costume holdall aboard. He had watched out for her every shift for months. The mundane drive round the circuit of roads was more tolerable when she was aboard. She smiled as she said hello most days. Other times, like today, she seemed pre-occupied. He watched her gracefully slide into a seat before he pulled away, driving on automatic as he dreamed of her raven hair flying as she glided across the stage, smiling, flying into his arms.
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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.