Tag Archives: February

FLAFIWRIMO Flash Fiction Update


Yes, there are two February challenges on my calendar; the FLAFIWRIMO flash fiction story-a-day challenge over at Wordsmith Studio and my write-in group’s annual February Writing Dash of 15K words new writing or thirty hours revision/editing work on previous material.

Each day is a sprint, especially when there’s also a six-member critique group in the mix working on something totally separate from the challenges. Today has been a major writing day for me.

Four flash fiction stories were done today because I got behind on that challenge. I still managed 2700 words on those four. This post will add a few more. Revision work will be for later and I’ll get an hour’s worth done before bed.

Tomorrow is critique work, another ff story, and more revision. On top of that is a study session to learn a new voice recognition program and time to put the finishing touches on my newsletter for the month.

Yes, I know it’s running a bit behind. It will get done and sent out shortly and then will come once a month, every month.

Just so that you’ll know that I’m really writing, I’m gone to give you tiny excerpts from the rough draft stories I did today. Here you go.


… I’m ready. Nothing can stop me taking my position in the middle of the pack. My teammates, helmets back in place, give me a small bow as I join them. The defensive players shake their heads and begin to laugh.

They don’t laugh long.

As the defense moves onto the scrimmage line, I wave at each player. That’s always my first engagement with the enemy.

It generally causes confusion. The action makes them wonder why I’m being so friendly. They don’t notice the slight air current rolling their way from my fingertips.

By the time my helmet is secured, the first rank of opponents have elbowed each other. The distraction gains momentum. Slurs and snarls begin to pass back and forth down the line ,,.


Being cursed isn’t the worst thing in the world. Believe me. I know.

About a year ago, I bought a lottery ticket. One of the big jackpots was up for the taking and I was feeling lucky that week. I bought only the one ticket. And it had all the numbers.

I’d signed an anonymity request to keep my name out of the media, as well.

To be honest, however, I think it was that request that did me in. I wasn’t worried about getting taken to the cleaners financially by friends and family. I worked for the IRS as an auditor. I knew about how much that agency would try to skim off the top and every year thereafter …


The corpse lay, stiff and smelly, on the back porch of the Layton’s house. Mr. Layton had found it a half hour before. The man seemed most distressed about the situation.

“I can’t even salvage the meat,” the fisherman grated between clenched teeth. “Who, or whatever, stripped it, left all the fresh and took only bony parts and the scales.”

Sheriff Westle was known for being a stickler for detail.

“Well, Lester, I don’t think this has a high enough priority to warrant wasting my time on it.”

Three days after the fish carcass fiasco on the Layton- porch, Sheriff Westle was called to the home of Jasper Connors. In the Connors backyard were the remains of a large boar raccoon. The carcass had been expertly skinned, leaving behind undisturbed flash, supported by the entire skeleton …


Red-soled shoes—they’re all the rage, right? Okay, so they’re expensive and subtly ostentatious.  For some of me, though, they’re camouflage.

I can take my entertainment almost anywhere now without comment or suspicion. Especially, if I add a sleek briefcase to my ensemble. I’m in public relations during the day. I’m into self-gratification on my own time.

… Throughout dinner he laughed lightly at my witticisms, flirted undercover of his banter, and generally made me feel very female.

Of course, his flirtation was his downfall, too. I don’t get roused lightly, but he’d managed to rouse me easily and kept it up after his business partner left us for the evening. It didn’t take much persuasion on my part to convince the young man to escort me home.

When he left my place on the upper West Side, his memory had been cleaned of any unpleasantness. He would be a bit weak for a few days, but his contribution to my health would be replenished.

Now before you even think it, that last one has nothing to do with vampires and everything to do with those red-soled shoes. Okay, so there’s a bit more to it than that, but you take my meaning.

And that’s where I’ll leave you for today. Take a break. Write something totally outside your comfort zone. Me, I don’t often move into the macabre, but it’s refreshing when I do and recharges my Muse.

If you’d like to share an excerpt here from one of your own stories, drop it in a comment below.

Enjoy the rest of the week and I’ll see you again soon. TTFN




At Home Day 3 of Thought Verb Challenge

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Hello, writers. I must confess here that I got carried away yesterday afternoon and finished the flash fiction story I started for the challenge. I decided to give it to you in chunks instead of a paragraph at a time.

Please don’t chastise me. I got on a roll and the story flew from my fingers. I take those moments when I can get them, like most writers.

Here comes the next installment. The story goes into dialogue from here on. If you find anywhere that needs an edit because of forbidden verb usage, please comment and let me know. I need to find these things on my own and if I overlook them during quick edit, I must look deeper and correct. Okay, here goes.

Day 3 paragraph:

“What do you make of it, Doc.”

Lead officer, Roy Thompson, knelt beside the coroner at the side of a middle-aged woman. Her body leaned into the side of a remaining pew in the derelict church. Her knees, bent and resting against her chest, twisted to the side.

“Doc?” Thompson prodded.

“Damnedest thing to come my way in a while,” the coroner said. “No marks on her, apparent good health, not homeless from the look of her, either married or widowed.”

“Why do you say that?”

You can leave a comment, too, if you see any other flaws in the text. Feel free. This exercise gives me pleasure for a number of reasons, but foremost of those landed on the side of solving puzzles.

I do a lot of puzzles. They give me pleasure. Sudoku, word search, all sorts. When the thought verbs get removed from one’s lexicon, other choices must replace them. New ways of expressing a though or an action must act as pinch hitter for words I would normally use. Sentences solidify and stand up straighter. This one practice will get a lot of use by me.

If you chose to take up the challenge, tell me about it and your experience of it. Until next time, happy writing.

At Home with February’s Challenge and Writing


texture-001-007 - CopyDo you ever live those days when whatever you turn your hand to falls apart, seemingly without motive or design, simply because you touched it?

Yep, my Saturday, February 1st at home, spun off in that direction. Pride filled me as I looked at my challenge paragraph, written on Thursday. A nice little piece of flash fiction came to me in a vision upon waking, one with a certain flavor attached to it.

Friday boded well for me. My critique group met and promptly sliced and diced my submission piece for the week—not that I blamed them. It needed work. It seems that I forgot a cardinal rule of fiction. The one that instructs the writer that just because you can see everything that happens and what came before and will come after doesn’t mean that the reader can look inside your mind for that same vision.

The writer must make the vision clear and concrete. I wrote it before doing this challenge. I hope to do better on the revision for this week.

I say the day boded well for me because I received good reader evaluations, which shows me what I need to improve—a plus in my book. Long fiction writes differently than short fiction, and both of those write differently than non-fiction and poetry. The reminder can save me time and trouble later.

When I began my creative project on Saturday—something which should take me only a couple of hours—disaster became my middle name. I worked on it all day, ending at 9:30 pm. I got it done. Frustration, however, clouded the important fact of the day’s date. Hence, I missed my own first day of the challenge. How crappy is that?

So, I give you my first paragraph for the month, with the second in tow. At the end of the week, I will submit the full flash fiction piece for publication. I can chalk off a goal of submission for the week as well.

Days 1 and 2 Thought Verb Challenge Paragraphs

The voice drew her inside the darkened expanse of marble and granite. The clarity of the pure treble notes elevated her to the heights of the privileged. Innocence and soul’s joy sang to express a personal spiritual experience. Canon in D sung and heard—one exquisite voice, raised to the heavens within a stone chamber, to reverberate across space for all to witness.

Her breath stuttered with her listening. The dim, jewel-colored light flickered as she stood, transfixed, entranced in the aisle. Heaven descended as she slumped to the floor in a puddle of her own ecstasy.


The exercise requires diligence. While the idea and vision took bare seconds to form, the editing took considerably longer. Our use of those now sticky verbs, those abstract and passive reminders of the mind’s functions, requires execution that elicits “grrh” responses every time. Take firm control of yourself. The biggest offender of this process comes with contractions. Those “‘s,” “‘d,” “‘ing” tense uses of the verb forms. They kill the exercise quickly. I speak from this week’s experience.

Plaster a big sign on the wall ahead of your eyes with the words “Watch Your Thought Verbs and the Dreaded TB and TH Infinitives and Participles.” If you must use stronger means, make a poster with a blunderbuss blasting those dreaded entities to smithereens.

If your beginning stayed behind with your intentions, take heart. February possesses many more chances to redeem yourself.

You can do this. You have the ability. Prove it to yourself. Proving my ability to me stands as my goal. I can do it. I will learn better habits each day in my writing.

Now, go out there and write. Make your paragraphs strong enough to hold up towers, wherein you place damsels in distress, exiled dragons, or the occasional sleeping child.

Place your paragraph in a comment. I will check in every few hours and reply to those brave souls who join the joust. Good luck.