Flash Fiction Friday Four

As I mentioned last week, my new plan is to do my writing prompts here on Fridays, as part of rolling out Flash Fiction Friday. This is similar to what I was doing in my Muse Monday Feature. Today’s prompt is from the 3 A.M. Epiphany, and it is called War.

The four phases of war, according to James Fallows in the January/February issue of The Atlantic, are “deterrence and engagement,” “seize the initiative,” “decisive operations,” and “post-conflict”… In this exercise create an outline rather than a filled-out piece of narrative, a set of quick and dirty instructions for a scene that only occasionally bursts into full-throated song. You should also be funny. War is hell, but it can also be grimly funny, or at least it can be ridiculous and absurd. Make us laugh at this little war. 500 words.

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Muse Monday 2 – The Character of Setting

Hello! I’m back for another Muse Monday post! Since my plan is to place these stories in the same setting, I thought I would work from a writing prompt based on Setting. I am using one from the book Now Write! called “The Character of Setting.” Which says: “Think of one long paragraph. Introduce the character in the first sentence, and then describe the setting. Return to the character only at the end of the paragraph.”

Mr. Remy stepped out of his stateroom, looking for his wife. He looked in either direction, seeing the long hall stretch out before him. Middle of the ship: near symmetry in either direction. Pods of doors, with numbers, names on little placards, and the occasional balloons and celebration. Here, an anniversary, there a birthday, there a wedding. Ah, and then the wedding party. Between the pods, open doors in the halls, the sort that would close in an emergency. Up ahead, a break in the doors: the stairs. The center of the ship, with a short hall for service elevators, and then, a larger bay. Here are the main stairs, and main elevators. From here, up leads to food, to swimming, to sun. Down from here leads to the main dining rooms, but before that, the Piazza, the atrium: the shopping. Well, and more food: food wherever you turn. If she had been hungry, he would never be able to figure out where she went. He saw no sign she had changed to her swimsuit: shopping it was, and down he went.

Muse Monday 1 – Beginnings

Hello! For my first Muse Monday, I really searched through the prompts for one that felt right for a first story. And finally, I decided on the one I probably could have chosen in like a minute. It’s called “Beginnings” from The 3A.M. Epiphany. Which reads: “Write a story with one of the following as your opening sentence (or choose a sentence from a favorite writer). You should not let anything but this sentence influence you, however you wish to be influenced… 400 words.

For my opening line, I went with the opening line of the song “Sailing to Nowhere” by the Broken Bells. “Sailing to Nowhere” is also my working title for these stories, with this setting. Hope you like it!

Tommorrow I sail the world.

Today though, today we’re at sea. It doesn’t feel like you see much of the world when it’s just blue, and blue, and blue, and blue – in all four directions. As before, so behind. And no course correction would change this outlook.

I know 70% of the world is supposed to be water, is supposed to be ocean – but for some reason, now that I’m here, now that it’s everywhere, it doesn’t seem like “the world” at all.

I keep watching for monsters, though. They’re on all of the old maps, right? Here there be monsters. The edge of the world, the edge of the map. The end of the world, the end of the map. Sailing to nowhere.

I’ve heard people saying they’ve seen dolphins, swimming along next to the ship. Have there been as many dolphins as stories about dolphins? That I’m not sure about. I haven’t seen them, so I can’t say.

Maybe the better stories are the other people here on the ship. They all have stories, reasons to be here, people with them. I seem to have made the mistake of traveling alone – going on a cruise with no one else I know.

I went on a cruise to go places. And here I am, sailing to nowhere, no one and nothing to do. But maybe for now, it’s not my story that matters, but the others. I sit back and watch.

Like that family – what do they want to see? Where do they want to be going? Two parents, two kids, so normal. They’re like a little picture of perfection, walking around the ship showing everyone it’s so.

Or that old couple. They’re completely settled in to life on the ship. Or, at least, those deck chairs. It’s like they belong to them… I’m thinking it’s not their first cruise.

Maybe not their first cruise in a row.

They’re curled up with a book – now there’s an idea I wish I had had. Why didn’t I bring a book? Maybe they sell them down in the shops. Except that just looked like jewelry I don’t need and nick-nacks and booze.

I need something to do besides watch. Without realizing, my feet carry me somewhere. Let’s go see if they have books. Walking to somewhere.

Sailing to nowhere.

Wordless Wednesday 11

Coral Princess

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