What happens when we read a story? Do we sit back and let the words take us on a journey? Do we wait patiently for the conflict resolution with bated breath? Or do we skip through everything, peaking at the ending to see how it ends?
We want stories that grab our attention, challenge us, or even allow a means of escape. Good fiction does all that, be it an epic adventure, a short story, or something in between.
Writing a short story is not that different from writing a long one. In a short story, you still have to know what you’re going to say, but you have fewer words with which to say it. For drabbles, the maximum is one hundred words. With so little space for imagery and descriptions, stark attention to detail is the key. That and creativity.
Creativity is born out of inspiration, and inspiration can come from anything. It doesn’t always have to come from a big event that happens. Sometimes, it can come from life in general, and those inspirations can turn into the elements in your story.
As fiction writing often goes, the characters can be stubborn and insist upon having their own way. Case in point, in Goodbyes, the male protagonist was meant to be staring out the window on a Sunday afternoon, watching the rain and reflecting on being all alone—not on the verge of a major break-up of his own making.
Pride and Prejudice passages often inspire my stories. Take the following:
“I declare I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do.”
I started with those words in mind and ended with this:
He stood at the window, staring out into the rain.
She had been crying. She told him she loved him, but she couldn’t be with him anymore. Words mattered, and his had caused her pain.
They love each other. All they needed was to talk this out. If he can just find the right words, everything will be all right. Surely there’s some way that he can persuade her to stay by his side.
Turning away from the window, he walked down the hall to their bedroom. He looked inside.
Nothing of hers remained. She had left without a goodbye.
A Passing Fancy
Is it love or is it infatuation? Is there a difference between the two when you’re staring into the eyes of a tall, dark, handsome gentleman?
Hearing what you want to hear. Giving in to the passion. Blowing through the doubts.
Loving him, trusting him, giving him everything he wants, everything he needs. Only to find out that you were just a passing fancy in his life, and never more than that.
It’s as if someone has pulled the rug out from under you. Everything collapses; everything crumbles.
It’s not love. It is not infatuation.
It’s just a broken heart.
Two Jane Austen couples come to my mind when reading A Passing Fancy. Which, if any, Jane Austen couple comes to yours? I invite you to share your thoughts.
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