The gauntlets have been laid down in a complex interweaving pattern by the members of my writers’ group. We have each supplied three titles or ideas for stories to another member, designed to get them writing outside of their comfort zone. The resulting pieces of about 2000 words will combine to make this year’s anthology.
I have to choose one of the three given to me, but to get some ideas flowing I decided to write a story for each idea of 100 words or less, allowing ten minutes per story.
It was interesting to find out what a fellow writer thought would be difficult territory for me. The exercise hasn’t helped me choose my anthology story as I don’t really like any of them. On the other hand, maybe it cleared some bad ideas out of my system and I’ll end up with a better piece. Here’s hoping.
The boy had orange hair and a respectable book. Our distorted faces in the glass were angels at his shoulders.
When he lifted his head, the grin was directed at neither one of us.
“Pick me!” I thought.
“Pick me!” she said. She was always the bolder.
“What’s the difference?” he asked.
I stole her phone and met him at the bookshop.
“I thought you liked sci-fi?” he frowned in the poetry aisle.
“That’s my sister,” I said, back on the tube. We watched my stretching reflection.
“Tell her I’ve changed my mind. Do you mind if I read?”
2. The Adventures of a Victorian Lady Traveller
Amelia sponged her face carefully. Her complexion always suffered, but it was necessary, she told herself. The air in the year 2000 may be disagreeable, but manners were worse. Her decorum missions would be the salvation of future Londoners. She would win the charity cup.
Next morning, Amelia’s worst fears were realised: a blemish – a detestable pimple – on her cheek.
She wept over tea.
At luncheon, Edmund glanced at her, then turned towards Phyllis’ flawless charms. Amelia’s heart froze, and cracked.
Arriving in 1981, Amelia locked the machine and watched the ripples under Waterloo Bridge as the key sank forever.
3. A middle-aged woman arrives home after a big night out
No really, I can do it. Oopsy-daisy, I mean damn, yes I think it went in the flowerbed.
No really, I’ll be fine. Really. Well, mind your hair on the door frame. How does it stay up, anyway? No, the mohican! I meant your… Don’t go in there. This way. I’ll find the whisky.
Oh God. I’ll just lean here for a minute and gather myself. Things To Do Before You’re Fifty. The garden. The Caribbean. Not this.
Just a minute! Coming!
I’ll just say I’m tired.
I am. Really, really tired.