We have been thrilled with the quality and variety of flash fiction stories submitted in response to our first #FlashFictionFriday prompt. “Wendy’s Strange Encounter” is an image we uncovered in a 1950’s annual for girls, one of many in our archive. Although quite typical of the images found in publications for girls at that time, we felt this image might stimulate the creative imagination – and we were not wrong. We are so pleased to be able to share these stories with you.
Red has given us a story charged with emotion and tension, hinting at a much more complex backstory with the words, “Are you angry still?”:
I move closer. Alert to the red scent of your rage. Your breath snorts and rasps. Each intake another chance to heal.
— Red🍷📚🌿 (@_RedFi) February 8, 2019
In Hayley’s unsettling submission, the backstory is also to the fore. Although we are presented with an image of what is currently happening to Wendy, it is Aunty Flo’s much more complex story which intrigues us. A powerful sense of terror is built into the last four words, “The chain came later”:
“In the distance, I heard my mother’s voice: ‘Come away from that strange creature, Wendy!’ You see, that’s how it’d started with Aunty Flo, the one we don’t talk about who danced for the King, a candy bar from a travelling musician. The chain came later.”
HagwithSquirrels gives us a beautifully drawn bear-centric tale with a nod to another literary bear – Paddington! We love the detail of the hazelnut bar and are captivated by the dreaming bear:
“Quite an adventurous and nice dream you had, but you’re also not plump, when awake? You are beautifully beary!” she said. “And you know what? I now will share my hazelnutbar with you dearest bear. And with you beariest red squirrel, that you are in your dreams, too, of course!”
Jay Dee has given us a highly imaginative setting, which is drawn with a humorous touch. We have no difficulty imagining the story behind the story of her best-friend, the were-bear:
“It happened again, didn’t it?” Kim wagged her Flake in her best friend’s direction and Wendy nodded helpessly. It was not easy being a were-bear and certainly not during hunting season at Miss Bunty’s School for Gels”
All these stories are fantastic examples of how a story can be told in just a few words. For us, as readers, this is exciting as we are involved in filling in the wider story for ourselves. They make us think!
We hope you agree with us that these are all tiny literary jewels. Thank you to the writers who submitted last week. Keep the stories coming! We also hope that your efforts have encouraged more aspiring writers to try a tweeted story. This week’s image is very different to the one we chose last week. Here it is:
Just fit your story into less than 240 characters, tweet it to us by Friday 22nd February remembering to tag us @womenslibrary. Don’t forget to be brief and cut out unnecessary detail – make every word count. As the rich examples above show, you don’t need to tell the whole story – your reader is very good at filling in the blanks!
And we’ll look forward to reading all your stories as they appear on our Twitter feed in the coming days. Remember if you are not a Twitter user, you can e-mail us your stories: firstname.lastname@example.org or for help typing up your story you can get in touch by ‘phone: 0141 550 2267.