The heat wave wafted across Great Britain and melted everything in its path.
Buildings sagged. Trees wilted. Cats puddled. Humans grew sticky and stretchy like warm gum. Tarmac and asphalt grew soft enough that cars sank and became stranded in the middle of the motorway. Continue reading “The Heat Wave | Microfiction”
The title screen rolls while Netflix queues up another recommended show.
“I can’t take another,” Fran mutters as she drags her fingers down her face, pulling her features down into a grotesque grimace.
“But the day isn’t over,” Lisa replies with a sigh. Continue reading “Longest Day | Microfiction”
You think you know how to write fiction? You probably don’t. Not unless you follow these four cardinal writing rules.
Remember: some highly successful writers break these rules and still write great stuff. But you are not one of them. It is not possible to break these rules and write great stuff unless you are already a successful writer. Got it? Good.
1. Show, don’t tell
You’re telling me a story, right? Wrong. You need to show me the story. You don’t need a pen and paper or a keyboard — you need a stage. Perform for me, monkey.
You could act out the story, mime it, or come up with a contemporary dance routine. Whatever you do, don’t you dare tell me what happens, because that’s bad writing. It’s boring. What readers really want is a series of ideas which they can interpret in a million and one different ways without fully understanding what your story is all about. Do you understand? Of course you don’t. That’s exactly my point.
Now, there is a very subtle difference between showing and telling when writing fiction, and I’m afraid I can’t share with you what that difference is. Why? Because I have no idea myself. Nobody does. All I know is that “show, don’t tell” is the most repeated mantra known to fiction writers the world over, and we must abide.
2. Never carry dialogue with anything other than “said”
You don’t want your writing to become too pretentious, right? In that case, don’t even think about using anything other than “said” when you’re telling — sorry, showing — us how your characters interact.
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The queue for Shy Styles snakes right around the block. The men and women patiently waiting in line are all completely silent. Some listen to music through ear buds or headphones. Others tap idly at phone screens and tablets. A few are reading books, while more still simply gaze about them, taking in the cars and people that pass them by.
The same goes for the lucky customers who are at the very front of the queue and able to find seats inside the salon’s foyer. None of them say a word. The only sound is that of a lone hairdryer, which the hairstylist wields expertly as she finishes off a sleek cut and blow dry. Continue reading “Shy Styles | Flash Fiction”
“The best way to overcome fear is to face it head on.”
Pete gazed across Trafalgar Square and felt his heart pound. He turned to his life coach and shook his head. “I can’t.”
“You can, Pete. And you will,” she said with a confident smile. “Look.”
She produced a paper bag from her pocket and showed Pete the contents.
He frowned. “Isn’t this illegal?” Continue reading “Face Your Fear | Flash Fiction”
The groom pours stale coffee into a cup, leaving a half an inch of the black liquid in the bottom of the percolator. He brings the cup to his dry lips and takes a long swig to relieve the cotton wool sensation that plagues his tongue.
He needs distraction. He retrieves his phone from his trouser pocket and taps at the screen to access his documents. He skims over the latest draft of an article he’s been battling with for weeks. It’s good. It’s almost perfect. He just can’t seem to find the right words to conclude it.
And he probably won’t be able to find them now as the nerves swirl in his stomach. He takes another sip of coffee and reaches into the inside pocket of his suit, pulling out a cigarette and a lighter.
She’ll turn up her nose when she catches the whiff of stale fag on his breath. He told her he’d quit. She doesn’t know that he never managed to kick that first and only smoke of the day.
When the nicotine has delivered a surge of faux confidence, he tosses the cigarette — only two-thirds smoked — onto the ground and grinds it beneath his shoe. He can probably go through with it, he thinks. It won’t kill him. He’s managed three years already; a lifetime won’t be all that bad…
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‘I know he’s right for the job. I know he has all the experience. I know he’ll make this department the best it’s ever been. The trouble is, he knows it, too. He’s got an ego on him. If we give him this promotion, his big head’ll only get even more obnoxious.’ Continue reading “Ego | Flash Fiction”
Dear Lost Forks,
I’d like to begin by thanking you for your vital, if short-lived, service. Over the past few months, you have done important work in aid of my taste buds and my stomach. You helped me to shovel pasta into my mouth at a rate that is almost superhuman. You allowed me to mash avocado onto toast so beautifully that my Instagram followers were driven wild. You even helped me to tackle the ring pulls on my Diet Cokes when I was afraid of breaking a nail, a task that is far beyond your intended role.
I know that I haven’t always been kind. Many a time I woke you from your slumber in the cutlery drawer, only for you to lay idle beside my plate as I threw my manners out the window and ate my food with my hands. You didn’t pass judgement on this lewd behaviour of mine, even when I ate so viciously that you were splattered with sauce and crumbs like mere placemats. Following this, and to my shame, I would simply mark you as ‘unused’ and replace you, unwashed, in the cutlery drawer.
Without a doubt, it is antics of this nature which have forced you to leave without saying goodbye…
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Yeah, I’m writing on Medium! I’m hoping to post one new post -either fiction or silly non-fiction such as this – each week, so be sure to Follow me if you’re a Medium member. I’m looking forward to connecting with more people over there, too, so let me know if you’re a Medium writer.
Bang, bang, fucking bang, every single day since they moved in.
It’s not always loud. I mean, sometimes it is; sometimes it’s so loud it makes me jump out of my skin. But a lot of the time, it’s a dull thud, thud, thud, or a swift rat-a-tat-tat. It’s almost like somebody’s knocking on the wall that divides our properties, trying to get my attention. But that’s probably my mind playing tricks on me. Continue reading “Neighbours | Flash Fiction”