Friday, 16 September 2011

Micro Fiction

This week's challenge over at Chuck Wendig's blog was to write a story of no more than 100 words using three of the five words he listed.  The words I chose were ivy, bishop and lollipop.  This is what I came up with!


Ivy held the ivory piece in her hand and felt a surge of jealousy. This chess piece could simply ignore the same path everyone else took  and could slip diagonally between the patterns, like a child who coloured outside the lines to design their own picture.

She was a prodigy, they said, but her life felt more like that of a pawn than a bishop, always following the path that her parents had set.  She had no choice, but at four years old, who did?  She popped her lollipop back in her mouth and moved the bishop to knight 2.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Plots and goals

I was seriously depressed about my lack of writing this week and couldn't figure out how to turn some of my ideas into fully developed stories. All I seemed to have were scenarios and single mental images - none of which makes a story. I needed characters and plot, but I couldn't come up with anything.

Until I read a single tip that made it all come together for me:

A plot is simply your character's goal.

It sounds ridiculously obvious, but I'm the type of person who sometimes needs things to be broken down into their simplest form. I may have an awesomely built post-apocalyptic universe, but without a character and their goal, it's never going to be a story (flash, short or novel).

So, in my trusty notebook that I scribble my ideas into, I have a single line written after each idea. The line always takes the same format: Character wants something.

It is, I suppose, the top-most level of plot. The post-apocalyptic one now states: Main character wants to rescue his girlfriend from her place of work before the zombies overrun the building. It doesn't have to be a physical object - I have one that says "The Princess wants to stay alive" - but my rule is that it has to have the word want in there.

Since starting this idea earlier in the week, I now have four new possible stories, where I once had some vague ideas. And two of those were ideas that had been sitting around in my head for months.

I'm actually excited about writing again.