Tag Archives: shorties

Flash, Micro, Sudden, 55-Word Fiction–a Mental Disciple


Not many every-day folks know about the world of abridged, compressed or ultra lean writing known to some as the short short story. It is a lovely genre for its intensity, poetry of language, and voice. There are different sub-genres that include exactly 33-word, 55-word or 100-word renditions of a story. A  laxer variation says anything under 300 words qualifies as a shortie.

The concept is to write a story (beginning, middle and ending) with a few, well-chosen words. It’s like smelting ore to refine for gold. Usually, the story, once distilled, packs a wallop.

Practicing writing ultra-short stories is a mental disciple. Take 15 minutes now to try it. Using the words “sentimental,” “pool,” and “sandals,” write a short story of 55-words (exactly).

I did the exercise, too. Here’s what I came up with:

Think of You

by Fay Moore © 2013

 You left. The air is as blistering as my emotions. I turn off the radio as I sit by the pool. No sentimental songs today. Illusory reflections in the water conjure your face. Your sandals, carelessly tossed into the grass, elicit memories of playful times. Damn it. In spite of myself,  I think of you.


Fifty-five word short stories, or shorties, are excellent writing exercises to focus one’s thoughts, word choice, imagery and more. Unlike poetry, a 55-worder must have a beginning, middle and end to the story. Like poetry, the impact is precise.

My fifty-five word stories tend toward the serious. I have a friend who has mastered using the 55-worder to zing the reader with the unexpected ending, using either humor or shock. The 55-worder is his domain.

To tip my hat in homage to him and our friendship, I present you with a symbolic fifty-five word story. It’s about a writer with writer’s block stuck in a desert town wondering if she will ever finish her novel.

Morning in a Desert

by Fay Moore (c) 2013

I awaken to drumming outside the window. It must be the madman across the street on his drum set. He’s getting an early start on  practicing, I think.  I arise and peek through the venetian blinds, wondering, Will it be a good day in this desert town? Yes. In a parched place, it is raining.

Here’s a second copyrighted example on the same theme. I sent an e-mail to my daughter using the following almost verbatim. That was the inspiration for the piece above. It’s funny how inspiration strikes:

It’s raining in the desert. I was awakened this morning to drumming outside my window. I thought it was the madman across the street with his garage drum set. He’s starting early, I thought. I peeked outside. No drummer. It’s raining!  How symbolic. Here I am in the midst of dusty barrenness,  yet there’s rain.

Here’s the Link to Preview the Anthology


http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356216202&sr=1-1&keywords=writers+of+the+desert+rose+cafe#_

Clicking on the link takes you to the cover and a brief look inside the first few pages of the new Anthology. Coincidentally, my work appears first in the book, so it is my work that is open to be read as part of  a free preview. Talk about pressure. If my work doesn’t nab a reader, then the rest of the authors may never get read. My work has to convince the site visitor to buy the book.

We priced the book at an affordable $2.99 because we want many people to take the chance to buy the book, then read it.

Remember, if you purchase a copy of the book and have constructive feedback for any of the authors, please share it here. The book is the first product of our writers group, reflecting our growing as writers. You, as reader, matter to us and we want to hear what you think, good or bad. Just make the critique constructive so an author can improve based on what you say.

 

 

The Anthology Is Going to Press


Within the week, the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology will be in the hands of Acorn Book Services for formatting. Within the month, the e-book will be available for sale on Amazon.com.

The anthology integrates the varied writing interests of the authors into a fast and easy read.  There’s something for everyone: young adult to inspirational to fantasy to adult fiction to poetry to ultra-short story (such as 33- or 55-word stories). Whatever your tastes in reading, the anthology offers enough variety to satisfy.

Sound like an advertisement? It is.

Naturally, I hope you will read the anthology and share feedback with me. Your feedback helps the writers of Desert Rose Cafe to improve and grow. Criticism is welcomed when it is meant to help.

The project itself drove several of the authors out of a comfort zone. Writing within a group setting is very different from writing alone. For a couple of the writers, the process of publication is a first experience. Others have years of creative expertise. One of our own developed the book cover with group input. Members assumed varying responsibilities such as editing, content organization, setting timelines and the like. The satisfaction of bringing the projection to completion is almost at hand.

As an aside, one of our authors has Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disability that affects one’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Can you imagine the huge satisfaction that writer is feeling right now?

Now the marketing begins, along with the next learning curve for some of us. When the e-book is available to purchase, I’ll share where to buy it.

As I learn what works and what doesn’t on the marketing side of the venture, I’ll share those lessons, too.

Later, ‘gator.

High Winds–or A Lot of Hot Air


By now you have figured out that Hubby and I are what some might call hobby farmers: we farm, but at least one of us holds a job to pay the bills. And my husband’s pet project on the farm is hen husbandry–er, I mean, he likes his hens–er, what I really mean is he likes to eat eggs, and he thinks having hens around is comical, and he likes taking care of the chickens.

Anyway, in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, a friend from Arkansas called my husband and asked how his hens were faring. Hubby told the following whopper:

I wrapped myself up, being sure to wear my hard hat in case of any flying debris, and went outside to check on the chickens. Fay, who doesn’t enjoy the chicken chores, forgot to close the side screened window on the chicken house as well as the back hatch door that opens into the fenced yard. With all the wind, I was a bit worried about what may be churning in the hen house. When I opened the main door to the roost area, you’ll never believe what those hens were doing!

The wind was screaming through the house, coming in the open window and blowing out the rear hatch, sending sawdust and feathers flying like a rocket flame. But those hens had it under control. They were flying in place and in formation over the roost bars. Whenever they needed to give their wing muscles a rest, they grabbed the roost bars with their toes, kept their wings spread, and wind surfed.

Why there was so much wind funneling through the house that the eggs were floating in a helix formation in the vortex! I just stuck my goldfish net into the jetstream and nabbed me an egg, one at a time. Those hens didn’t even blink an eye!

And you thought only fishermen told tall tales.

Short Story from Hurricane Sandy


The televisions are blaring in both the bedroom and kitchen with non-stop weather reports as Hurricane Sandy closes the gap between riding north on the Gulf Stream and slamming ashore at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Outside the kitchen window, wind is howling and rain is pelting the house. Dark clouds obscure nature’s light.

The missus surveys the collection of flashlights, candles, oil lamps, hand-cranked L.E.D. lanterns, matches and other emergency notions lined up neatly on the linen-cloaked dining room table. She is drying her hands after scouring the bathtub, then filling it with water. The water can be used to drink, to flush toilets, to water dogs or wash dishes if the power goes out, taking the well pump with it. In the kitchen, a pot of boiling water cooks spaghetti noodles. Garlic Texas toast browns in the oven. A freshly made pan of homemade sauce steams beside the spaghetti pot. The kitchen timer buzzes, calling the missus to attention.

She spears a noodle with a fork, runs it under cold water to cool, and pops it in her mouth. Perfect al dente. She turns off the oven and pulls the cookie sheet holding the savory bread from the rack, setting it on the countertop to cool. The noodles are draining in the colander when she calls her husband. It’s meal time.

He stands from a reclining position in his easy chair. She sets plates beside the stove and fetches grated parmesan cheese from the refrigerator.

Pop. Blink. Flicker. Whoosh. Out go the lights. It’s not the candlelight dinner she imagined.

Autumn Leaves – A Short Story Response to T’s Prompt


Autumn Leaves

by Fay Moore © 2012

 

The miners knock down the door to the manager’s office with a makeshift battering ram.

 

For several weeks, the miners at this South African platinum mine have been on strike about low wages, poor work conditions and other complaints. The effort is poorly organized. When the mine’s owners ignore the laborers’ concerns, the disenfranchised workers formulate a plan to hit the owners where it hurts: in their pocketbooks. They take their dispute to the next level. The workmen are done with talking.

 

First, all extraction of precious metals stops. Picket lines set up at entrances to the mine. Employees are warned–cross the picket lines at your own risk. Some of the idled men stand in the front of the mob with batons in hand, slapping the bats threateningly into open palms. The baton squad is ready to break  bones—skulls or legs, it doesn’t matter. No one is going to work today.

 

Second, any equipment or infrastructure that is expensive to repair or replace is sabotaged or destroyed. The miners reason, if the owners fire the strikers and replace them with new bodies, mining cannot resume. Without the machines and mechanisms operational, miners can’t get the platinum out of the ground or out of the ore. Mined metals can’t be loaded onto trucks or railway cars to transport the valuable product to smelters or other buyers. If the metal doesn’t leave the mine, money doesn’t flow into the owners’ coffers.

 

Third, any cash in the manager’s office is to be expropriated to create a strike fund for the employees who participate in the work stoppage. The men with the battering ram are looking for the petty cash box.

 

With the expansion of automobile ownership in China and accumulation of precious metals by the world’s wealthy, the demand for platinum is up. Prices are high. The owners want to sell as much product as possible while conditions are lucrative. The mine uses day laborers to supplement the workforce during peak production. Day laborers are paid in cash. The strike organizers know the company’s currency cache is in the manager’s office.

 

Desperate men do reckless things. Once the cash box is located, it is broken open. Two men mount the office building’s flat roof. One has a loud speaker. Another has the cash box. The one with the loudspeaker calls the roving strikers in earshot to come. A dozen men stand below the speechmaker. 

 

“It’s raining Rands. Catch the colorful bills and go home. Feed your families.”

 

The one with the cash box takes a handful of the paper currency and lets the money go. The paper pirouettes on wisps of air before parachuting to the ground. A dozen pairs of hands grab for the cash.

 

“Watch the money fall like autumn leaves. Tell the others to come over for their share as you depart,” is the order.

 

Suddenly vehicle engines roar. Shots ring out. The bull horn clatters to the ground. Men duck and scatter like buckshot as rubber bullets spray the area. The local police, aided by the military, arrive en masse and seize piles of metal rods, machetes and sticks. The cash box is captured though it’s empty, its contents evaporated. In another part of the compound, black smoke curls, an acrid combination from burning tires used as barricades by strikers and tear gas used to disperse the crowd.

 

A few rampaging men are captured and arrested. One protester harangues the policemen, accusing them of apartheid-era tactics. At the end of the day, legal authorities control the shuttered mine.

 

News reaches the dispelled strikers that five other platinum mines in addition to their own have been closed down due to protests.

 

“Just like autumn leaves. They’ll keep falling,” predicts one smiling man.