Take a chance and cast your line!

One Good Thing…

It’s time for the weekly  post of a feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week.

This week…

Back in March, I tried my hand at writing a piece of flash fiction at thestoryshack.com, which features a new writing prompt generator. I had been alerted to this wonderful feature by Luanne over at Writer Site and was eager to try it out.

Story Shack, founded in November 2011, is an on-line literary magazine featuring illustrated flash fiction. Its focus is to bring together the worlds of fiction and illustration by fostering relationships between authors and visual artists.

Using the writing prompt generator, I wrote a story titled “The Baker’s Tale” (apologies to images.jpegMr. Chaucer!) Afterwards, I checked out how to go about submitting the piece and decided I had nothing to lose, so–following the stringent submission guidelines–I sent “The Baker’s Tale” on its merry way for possible future publication in the Story Shack on-line literary magazine.

I didn’t think anything more of it, except to share it with readers in a post I wrote about the experience and how much fun it was to use the generator as a means to kick-start one’s writing, especially on those mornings when nothing seems to be inspirational or the ideas and words just won’t pop.

Fast forward several weeks to this past Tuesday when I received the following e-mail:

TO: Mark Anderson

SUBJECT: Your Story Shack submission

Hi Mark,

Thank you for submitting your story 'The Baker's Tale' 
to The Story Shack. I'm happy to tell you that it has been accepted.

The piece has been scheduled for publication on Monday, August 29, 2016. You will be placed in touch with an illustrator at least three weeks before it is due to go live.

Have a great day!

All the best,

Martin Hooijmans

Editor

https://thestoryshack.com

Needless to say, I was surprised and delighted at this piece of good news and am looking forward to seeing how the whole process plays out. No, I won’t receive any compensation for having it published, but that’s not the important thing here. Instead, I will have the opportunity to work with an artist and, hopefully, gain some valuable exposure “out there!”

It proves once again that if we take a chance and cast our lines, we might really catch IMG_0544.jpgsomething!

And for this week, that’s One Good Thing…

 

 

 

 

My foray into flash fiction, oh my!

My blogging friend Luanne over at Writer Site posted about a free online program that generates writing prompts for flash fiction. It’s called The Story Shack Writing Prompt Generator.

Curious, I checked it out and found it to be pretty cool. And the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt, either!

How it works

When one presses the “Generate” button, five things pop up: Genre, Character, Material, a Sentence to Use, and Word Count.

Like Luanne, I like some basic “constraints” on getting my writing started, and this appears to be the perfect tool for doing just that.

Yes! I thought I would like to tackle this head on for my first blast into flash fiction.

I tried it out, and the first one that popped up was as follows: Romance, Fat Baker, A Painting, “He can change” & 600 words.

What follows is my first effort into flash fiction and using Story Shack Writing Prompt Generator’s criteria. It was fun, and I plan to hit that “Generator” button frequently each week.

What kinds of “constraints” (if any) do you prefer when beginning a writing project? If you try Story Shack, let me know your opinion of it. Happy writing, all!

The Baker’s Tale

 He was slowly steering a tall cart of pastries on their way to the glass showcase in the front of the bakery when he saw her after so many years. He was overcome with a sort of panic. God, what if she recognized him?

Sweating, something he did frequently, he stopped. Was it nerves? Morbid obesity? A combination of both? All he knew was that the pastry cart wasn’t tall or wide enough to shield him from her view as she waited nonchalantly, browsing the baked items.

Cringing behind the aluminum cart, he recalled how they’d once loved and shared and just how lovely she was—her smile, especially—and never an unkind word toward anyone—especially to him!

Life had been good, dreaming young dreams and promising young promises. He, the debonaire and handsome guy in her life, had dropped out of college to pursue his love of painting. But a severe lack of confidence in his own efforts had been the great barrier.

The manager was busily serving customers and would soon spot him in the middle of the place, like a stranded shipwreck victim, clinging desperately to the last bit of flotsam. He had to do something.

He’d tried like hell to be the person she’d first thought him to be—the one she’d fallen in love with one rainy summer weekend at an old cottage in Michigan, where he’d gone to paint rustic scenes in watercolors.

She’d loved his first creation at once, even wanted to buy it from him. But he didn’t feel it was very good at all.

Trying to hide now, sweat stinging his eyes, he mentally kicked himself. If she hadn’t been so nice to me and hooked me right off, I wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

He glanced her way again and saw that she was blithely scoping out the peach coffee cake, another of his creations he’d finished baking less than an hour before. Great!

Worse, he still didn’t know how to proceed without causing an obvious scene. He’d been hiding behind his cart much too long, and he had to get the baked goods to the front as the bakery was filling with hungry, early-morning customers.

Having no other option, he heaved himself up from his bent over posture and felt his heart nearly jump out of his thick chest. The exertion was killing him, he knew, but he had to move forward, unload the baked items onto the empty shelves, and get back to his baking. 

If only she’d pick something and leave! He knew that wouldn’t happen before it was too late. Karma is about to rear its ugly head. He sighed, resigned to his fate, and resumed his cart-pushing directly toward where she was standing, his heart hammering wildly. A 350-pound person isn’t designed for this sort of thing!

Just then, her number was called and she pleasantly asked for two cherry-filled crescent rolls. A quick exchange of money for the white bakery bag the manager handed across the showcase, and she smiled that smile. He saw this and felt like running to her (as if he could!) and taking her in his arms again.

But he didn’t. He watched her step out onto the busy sidewalk, carrying her white bag of crescent rolls, and disappearing from his life all over again.

He then remembered what she’d told a friend once who wondered what she saw in him: “Not much, but he can change.”

But he really hadn’t.