FF Challenge July 14th – Light of Hope in the Dark

Thanks for stopping by to read my submission to Rochelle’s challenge. New to Friday Fictioneers please click Rochelle Wissoff-Fields to visit her site for all the rules. The bare bones is to write a story based on the photo prompt that is 100 words or less.

The photo prompt this week is provided by Janet Webb, who retains all rights to the photo.

So here is my story –

FF July 14
PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

Walls of seawater swelled by the storm crashed. Floorboards creaked. Her skirt swept the worn floor. She roamed window to window checking the candles. In the blackness of a night when the stars were cloaked by roiling clouds, it was these flickering lights that would guide them past rocky outcrops into safe harbor.

The thump of wood against wood roused her from her sleep. Outlined in dim morning light, her son bounded from the boat. The aging fishing boat that bore her husband and only child was home. She slumped relishing the reprieve.

One by one the candles sputtered out.

Word Count – 100

Thanks for reading. Please click HERE to check out more stories based on the photo prompt.

Have a great day.

Cindy

 

Scrivener’s Forge 7 – Go In Late

Thanks once again to Neil MacDonald for posting these writing exercises. The information I gleam from these short exercises has been immeasurable. If you are interesting taking part please visit Neil’s site by clicking HERE.

Here in Neil’s words is the challenge for this week –

This is a classic principle of gripping screenwriting.  You create more drama in a scene if you enter it with some action already underway. You avoid the boredom of a drawn-out conclusion if you leave it once the action is done (preferably even adding another hook to the next scene).

Exercise:

Write a scene that starts slam bang wallop in the middle of the action. No introduction, no back story. Use what you’ve learned in previous exercises about character, description, and action to fill in any details we need.

Now for my scene, hope you enjoy it.

The angry voice pierced the air, shattering all notions of peace. Jolted out of my conversation with Lisa, my head snapped to the small group who had been playing water polo a few feet from shore. Lisa lurched to the edge of her chair her eyes pivoting between eight-year-old Michael and his father Matt. Indecision was etched on her face, she kneaded the towel in her hand. My mind struggled to make sense of the scene in front of me. Everyone but Michael and Matt where frozen, stunned by the onslaught from Matt.

“Don’t just stand there. Go and get the ball.” It was then that I noticed the beach ball caught in the current drifting away from the clutch of players. A normal beach scene on a bright summers day. Nothing to worry about.

“Get your ass in gear.” The words ripped through the air.

Michael withering under his father’s glare started to swim. From the beginning, it was a losing battle. The faster his little legs pumped and his arms sliced through the water, the further the ball floated away. We all watched, unable to tear our eyes away. Everyone, except Matt, was holding their breath. He continued his tirade.

“How many times have I told you to be careful?”

“Now you have to pay the price. Get those lazy legs working. If we lose that ball it’s coming out of your allowance.”

Stroke after stroke Michael struggled on. Although awkward the situation didn’t appear dangerous. Michael was within reach of five adults.

Long seconds ticked by. I could see Bob and Ken moving, not swimming simply drifting towards Michael, closing the gap between themselves and the little boy. I pumped my foot to the chants of ‘It’s okay Bob won’t let anything happen to our grandson.’ On and on it went. Michael’s strong strokes started to flounder. His arms were now crashing into the water. Lisa and I were now standing at the edge of the deck. But damn it, I said nothing. I looked at Lisa and silently willed her into doing something, anything to stop the tragedy that was playing out before us. Her head was swiveling between her son and her husband. Do something, help him, I yelled in my mind. Matt continued to rant. His tone and words becoming uglier and uglier.

Michael’s floundering turned to thrashing. He stopped trying to swim and was struggling to tread water. His little head bobbed barely above the surface of the water. Then it slipped. It slipped below the surface. He came up gagging. He disappeared once more. My scream was strangled in my throat as Bob and Ken lunged towards Michael. Ken was closer, he arrived at the sputtering little boy first. Two strokes later Bob was there. Ken clutched the slight form of his nephew to his chest and swam towards the shore.

I shook with anger from head to toe when Matt abruptly changed his tune and was now shouting words of support and encouragement.

“Great job, you almost did it Michael.” Matt’s eyes were bouncing from person to person seeking for support. They settled on Lisa who refused to look at him.

Ken, chest heaving with adrenalin, hands flexing, turned to confront Matt. Bob grabbed his arm and whispered something in his ear. They stood like that for several seconds. Ken vibrating. Bob attempting to calm him. Ken shook his head in disgust and stomped away towards the cottage. If my arms and legs hadn’t turned to rubber, I would’ve walked up to the sneering Matt and slapped him.

Matt sat on a rock beside his son, throwing his arm him, ignoring Michael’s stiff posture. I turned away from the jarring scene, attempting to hide my anger at myself. I had stood silent, not intervening while danger prowled in our midst. Just like my mother before me, I did nothing.

Thanks for reading. Please click HERE to read more responses to this exercise.

Cindy

 

FF-Challenge June 30th – Those Eyes

Here we are, coming up to the last day in June, easing into a holiday weekend in Canada (Happy 150th Birthday!) and Independence Day in the USA. But before we get to those celebrations, let’s take a moment to read some Friday Fictioneer stories. If you would like more info on this weekly tradition please click Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s name to visit our hosts site.

Today’s photo prompt is brought to us by the esteemed and accomplished Rochelle. Remember this photo is the property of the photographer and shouldn’t be used for any purpose without express permission.

HPIM0533.JPG
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Now my 100 word story –

His emails became more frequent. They played with Valerie’s heartstrings, turning her inside out. Her mother didn’t understand why she had to go, why she chose to leave her well-tuned life. “You’re trying to grasp smoke,” she scolded.

In Naples, Valerie wove her way down sun dappled cobblestone streets, questioning her decision at every turn. “You don’t know him,” echoed in her ears. Her hesitant knock on a battered wooden door was answered by a man Valerie had never met. He gazed at her with heartbreakingly familiar eyes. Valerie whispered what she had longed to say all her life, “Papa.”

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the story. Leave me a comment by clicking the link button below the LIKE bar.

Please click HERE to see what other’s are saying about the photo prompt.

Cheers,

Cindy

FF Challenge June 24th – When the Sky Cries

Welcome to my newly revamped site. Glad you dropped by for this weeks Friday Fictioneers Challenge. In brief, this challenge is to write a story 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Please take a moment to visit our host Rochelle Wisoff-Fields site for all the rules.

This week’s photo is brought to you courtesy of  Ted Struzt. All photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission.

Care to read other inventive stories please click HERE.

Now my 99 word story –

FF June 23 17
PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Reflecting events, the sky is inconsolable, tears rain down darkening my mood. I thump the steering wheel in time with the wiper blades. I need to prepare, to gather my thoughts.

Explaining my job was hopeless. “You’re a stockbroker, making loads of money. Me, I’m a Recovery Diver for the Coast Guard,” ends in looks of revulsion when they figure out what I recover.

Unanswered questions strike like lightning bolts. Seven are missing. Shrouded in darkness, knowing what I will find, I will grope for answers. I can’t offer hope but maybe I can bring comfort from knowing.

This weeks story was loosely based on the tragic and inexplicable collision of the USS Fitzgerald with a container ship that left seven sailors dead. Stories like this haunt me partly because it should never have happened and maybe a little because my son is in the Canadian navy and has been deployed to the Mediterranean and Black Sea for the last 6 months. My heart goes out to all the sailors on the Fitzgerald and their families.

Thanks for reading. Before you go please leave me a comment by clicking the link below the LIKE section. 🙂

Cheers,

Cindy

 

FF Challenge June 16th – Siren Song

Welcome to the Friday Fictioneers Challenge of writing a story 100 words, or less, based on the photo prompt. Thanks once again to the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge. Curious, click her name to get all the rules, join our group, post your own story.

This weeks photo was provided by Dale Rogerson. Remember all photo’s are the property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers. They should not be used for any other purpose without express permission.

Now look closely and you will see me doing my happy dance. After a few weeks of being over the word count, this weeks story is a sleek 99 words.

FF June 16 2017
PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Wisssh-ahhh, wisssh-ahhh.

The waves are a siren song luring us to the beach.

We strolled hand in hand, the ocean licking her long-tanned legs, the moonlight turning her blond hair into a halo. A simple touch and my skin was on fire.

Wisssh-ahhh, wisssh-ahhh.

The waves erased our footprints. We were fleeting. She would break my heart. I stroked her delicate neck. She would be gone without a trace.

Wisssh-ahhh, wisssh-ahhh.

“Henry, Henry!” After 45 years, the shrill voice was painfully familiar. I struggled to hold onto my nymph.

 “Henry, wake up you’re going to burn to a crisp.”

Thanks for reading. Click HERE to fall down the rabbit hole and read more stories.

Cindy

Scrivener’s Forge 6 – Character and Action

Once again I would like to thank Neil MacDonald for hosting this writing exercise. Please follow CLICK HERE link for all the details. I find his exercises that focus on a specific aspect in writing extremely challenging and hence rewarding.

Here is a recap of the exercise, so that you can judge whether I met the challenge –

Character is action

Characters act. The ways they act, and hence the stories they create, depend on their natures. In this month’s exercise, we’ll explore using action to reveal that nature.

Exercise

Create a character in your mind. Visualise her or him. Learn what their goals, mannerisms and peculiarities are.  Then write a short scene that shows us who your character is, entirely through their actions. Show us who your character is – do not tell us. Do not use any describing words (adjectives or adverbs). Make your verbs count – if a character walks, we don’t learn much about them, but if they stride we see their confidence and purpose, whereas if they slouch or creep we see their discomfort.

Now here is my scene –

Eager to see their oldest daughter Diane and Fred, her husband, Dottie strode the confines of the tiny cottage, running fingers over polished surfaces, unnecessarily smoothing wrinkle free surfaces. At 1:30 Bob, pushed to the brink of annoyance, suggested they make the trip to the marina early. Bob looking relaxed, tanned, and happy drove the boat slowly knowing that anytime spent waiting at the marina would push his rattled wife to the breaking point.  Dottie, nervously smoothed her rumbled shirt, while her hand continuously strayed to her hair searching for any disorder that needed attention. Feeling like a street urchin, she cursed the fact that she had not changed out of her faded shorts and battered sneakers. Her attempt to plastered a smile on her face to hide her concern failed miserably. She questioned whether the weekend with the two self-described Yuppies from New York would be a disaster. She silently prayed they would be charmed by the log cabin and the little island that featured no electricity and no indoor plumbing.

 At 2:20 while Bob calmly strolled the docks, window shopping boats they would never be able to afford, Dottie marched the shoreline increasing her tempo with each pass. By 2:30 she was bouncing between cursing the lack of phone at the cottage, surely responsible Diane would have called to alert them of their tardiness, and the sinking feeling something was wrong, terribly wrong. Bob’s causal manner was exasperating to Dottie who had worked herself into a frenzy convinced her oldest child had been in a horrific car wreck. As she stomped towards the payphone at the marina, her mind swirling with the unanswered question of who she would call, a sleek silver sedan edged down the roadway and crept to a stop at the dock furthest from her. Dottie’s heart pounded as she stood rooted, hopeful the car was the answer to her prayers. She held her breath as an attractive couple, looking like models from an outdoors photo shoot, stepped out of the car. Both were decked out in pressed khaki’s, polo shirts and Sperry Top-Siders. Light bounced off their sunglasses as they scanned their unfamiliar surroundings.  Dottie yelped in relief when she recognized her daughter and son-in-law. She ran towards them waving her arms frantically. When their eyes pivoted towards charging figure, Diane slowly raised her hand in a timid greeting.

Thanks for reading. Please click HERE to read other scenes.

So what do you think? Did I meet the challenge? Did this story engage you and make you feel for the characters? Any comments are appreciated.

Cindy

 

FF Challenge June 9th – The Potting Shed

Welcome to the Friday Fictioneers Challenge of writing a story 100 words or less based on the photo prompt. Thanks once again to the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge. Curious, click her name to get all the rules, join our group, post your take on the photo. Read other stories by clicking HERE.

This weeks photo was provided by Sarah Potter. Remember all photo’s are the property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers. They should not be used for any other purpose without express permission.

Here is my 103 word story based on the photo. I tried to eliminate the four extra words but was unsuccessful. I would pledge to write a 97 word story next week but let’s get real 100 words is hard enough, I don’t know if I can live up to a 97 word pledge.

sp-overgrown-summer-house
PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

 

Gleefully, I had plunged tiny fingers into cold moist soil and inhaled the scent Grandma called life. My mind twists around memories, the sound of rain on the windows, bright green shoots, Grandma’s soft voice narrating each step. The trips to the potting shed and the bountiful harvests ended my sophomore year when my interests strayed and grandma was lost to cancer. Her house was sold, life went on.

Decades later, facing a crossroad, a job lost, a husband jettisoned, the For-Sale listing drew me back. I will tend tiny shoots and inhale the scent of life while Grandma whispers in my ear.

Thanks for reading. Please leave me a comment, help me improve my writing.

Cindy