Welcome to the fourteenth in a 31-day series Story A Day May 2013.
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. This is on hold this month as I write a story a day for SADM2013
Today’s prompt was to write a story that starts, “On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood.” I like to post these up at 5pm (as I was doing with the 5pm Fiction stories) but I only started it writing it at 5.12pm (finished at 5.40pm!) because I’d spent the day writing another story for a magazine competition’s theme of Insomnia (which closed today and I got it done and submitted… just!). So below is my 412-word cabin story.
The Ramshackle Writer
On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. It looks like any ordinary cottage but it’s the stuff of legends, the owner, the hero of legends.
Or so he thought.
No, that’s terrible.
On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Wood collected from the forest at the top of the mountain.
Jack pulled the piece of paper from his typewriter, screwed it up and threw it at the bin. It missed, and became just one of a pile of screwed up pieces of paper.
On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Inside sits a writer with writer’s block.
“How’s it coming?” Nancy, Jack’s long-suffering wife looked over his shoulder. “Oh dear.”
“It’s a bit ‘Dark and stormy night’.”
“I know, but it’s the prompt for today.”
“Can’t you change it?”
“We can but I like to stick with what we’re given.”
“It is only for fun.”
“And to put on my blog. By five o’clock.”
Nancy looked at her watch. 5.25.
“I know. I can backtime it.
“Backtime? Is that even a word?”
“Don’t know. Backdate is.”
“If you used a computer like everyone else, it would underline it if it wasn’t a word.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m a writer, I can make up words.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Why don’t I what?”
“Use a computer like everyone else.”
“It feels… I don’t know. It feels more authentic. Like Stephen King. Very… Secret Window.”
“I know. It’s all a dream and all that. But I’m more productive this way. My ideas flow better.”
“They’re not flowing today.”
“I know, but that’s not the typewriter, it’s the prompt.”
“Then pick another one.”
“No, I’ll persevere.”
Nancy shrugged. “OK, but don’t blame me if…” The rest was lost as she went into the kitchen.
“Another prompt,” Jack mumbled as he pulled out the paper, screwed it up and launched it at the bin. It hit the edge but fell in. He clapped, laughed and put another piece of paper into the typewriter, twisting down the end, until the paper was sticking out a couple of inches from the top.
He sat up straight, hovered his fingers, claw-like, over the keys and started tapping.
It was a dark and stormy night…
Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com.
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