Tuesday, 22 May 2012

100 words for grown ups week 43



….The flame flickered before….



I was thinking along the lines of the Olympic flame as I was amongst the crowds today cheering ! However, sitting enjoying the sunshine this afternoon a different idea started to flow so, here it is:


The right time


As Leanne reached for the bottle and her dress slipped ever-so-slightly, Grant knew it was the right time... “Are your parents home?”
“Not ‘til late.”
“Wanna...?”
She gently kissed him. Their picnic lay forgotten as they set off.
 The mid-afternoon sun found the empty bottle, its rays igniting the carelessly abandoned.  The flame flickered before stretching out its orange fingers. The discarded bottle’s label curled futilely away, edges turning golden. Wisps of grass and long shed remnants from overhead trees quickly consumed.  Fingers gained strength, spreading ceaselessly.




As the lovers lay entwined they were unaware of what was heading their way...








Thanks for reading. Comments and critiques welcomed. 

30 comments:

  1. My first impression was that if he had to ask about her parents being home, they probably shouldn't. :) Then, what an awful consequence this was for leaving their mess behind in the woods/park. Scary. (Also, I'm not clear on how the fire began.)

    When you get time, you could spruce this up with some editing for different aspects of language. One thing to look out for is 'ly' words. A lot has been written about how much more effective writing can be when we can show what we mean without the shorthand of these words. It's like the difference between saying, "John stared keenly at the food" and "John's eyes lingered over the platters." In the first one, the reader has to take your word for it (you 'told' them.) In the second, the reader figures out what you mean, because you 'showed' them. (And whatever they 'see' for themselves, they believe more.)

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    1. Thanks for such a detailed and helpful critique ;)
      Will have some time later in the week so will have another look; as a teacher we insist on the children using adverbs to improve descriptions; but I see what you mean. Flash fiction has rules all of its own which I am learning step by step ;)

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    2. Oh yes, we all have to begin with adverbs when we're children, as we learn about communicating our thoughts effectively to others. It's as adult writers (especially when writing fiction) that we can hone our craft by moving away from adverbs as much as possible. Stephen King said in his book "On Writing" that we shouldn't use them at all. I'm not sure even he believes that's possible, but I've come to understand what he meant.

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    3. I've read that book :) Had forgotten that he had said that. Something to try!

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    4. I have had a little tweak of this; kept futiley in as I thought it worked well.


      As Leanne reached for the bottle, her dress slipped just enough for Grant to stop mid-mouthful.
      “There’s no one home... Wanna?”
      He pulled her towards him, the picnic forgotten as they set off.

      Mid-afternoon sun caught the discarded bottle; its magnified rays soon igniting the abandoned debris. The flame flickered before stretching out thin orange fingers. The bottle label curled futilely away, edges turning golden. Wisps of grass and long shed remnants from overhead trees quickly consumed. Fingers of flames gained in strength and number devouring all in their path.


      The lovers lay entwined, unaware of the consequences of their actions.

      Seems a bit neater this version.

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    5. Oh, this is fun! I like where you're going with this.

      Love, love the new beginning. With it, I'm following your story - no distracting thoughts or questions popping into my mind. For the sake of smoothing it even more, you might consider something like, "Leanne reached for the bottle, her dress slipping just enough to make Grant stop mid-mouthful." Of course there are different ways you could go. I just wanted to give an example to illustrate one.

      With "magnified rays" you smoothly made me understand how the fire began.

      I actually think that omitting "futilely" gives its sentence a more poetic feel. (Walter Mosley's book, "This Year You Write Your Novel", which is actually full of good, plain writing advice, discusses how important an understanding of poetry, and its power, can be to writing vivid, interesting prose.) Your reader should already understand what it means that something burns for no reason at all. Instead of using "futilely", could changing the color to something more powerful than "golden" convey the spirit of what you want to say?

      Your last sentence seems a bit abrupt now. There's more poetry in the way it read before. It might be fun to try for another simple but more poetic way to express the feeling you want that last sentence to leave your reader with.

      It's great to see how you're working with this. The editing process is what makes writing sing. You're making music here. :)

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    6. :-) so enjoy writing... looking forward to more time over summer..and planning to re-read 'on writing' .

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  2. OUCH! Talk about unintended consequences...

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    1. It's a real bugbear of mine when people just leave their litter around as if it is just going to disappear!

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  3. Excellent take on the prompt. It's so easily done, sunlight through glass. I once left a mobile phone behind a glass vase on a table in front of the window - melted it. I liked the description of the flames taking hold, really graphic. Well done.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I was trying to build a vivid picture; tricky deciding which words to cut out (first draft was nearer 200 words!)

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  4. oops, I hate people leaving stuff lying about. Great use of the prompt and some lovely imagery generated here. x

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    1. Thanks Susan. I was trying to develop the imagery here. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  5. Oh no ..... watch out! Really liked the imagery you generated and a great take on the prompt!

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    1. Thank you. Liked this prompt- and loving all the varied interpretations :)

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  6. The imagery is excellent. Editing is an easy fix. Story telling is not you did a great job of taking me to the story. Oh and cute avatar.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Glad that you enjoyed it.
      And I,of course, look just like my avatar!

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  7. Loved the idea of this one. All I could think of was a candle - impressed with anyone who came up with other images.

    I liked both endings - the first one was more dramatic; the second more sobering.

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    1. Thank you :-) I really wanted to write about the flame having seen it this week, but that idea had no legs. Glad you liked it. :-)

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  8. DancingInTheRain27 May 2012 at 00:00

    Unique take on the prompt. So realistic. Such horrifying consequences. Well done.
    PS: Not convinced about the omitting adverbs 'rule' or whether the plate example proves that particular point. I must read round that one a little.....

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    1. Thank you :O)
      That's the great thing about writing; I don't think there are any rules , it's all about playing with words to see how to make them work well together.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read :O)

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  10. That's scary. I've never thought about what a discarded bottle could cause.

    Sometimes showing requires more words than telling, making the hundred word limit more problematic.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. It's not til you start writing that you realise how few 100 words is! But it is a great way to cut out the waffle.

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  11. Loved the opening dialogue - it set the tone - careless love, careless litter. Well done.

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    1. Thanks- that was exactly what I was aiming at :O)

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  12. Anna this wonderful romantic story winds up pure pleasure and then bang - tragedy arrives! Really well done :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment; I love your writing so it means a lot :)

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  13. ooohhh just want to yell at them to warn them! very good! will they notice in time?

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