Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flash Fiction -- What a Challenge

flash fiction1_9/8/11
I (heart) French courtyards hidden behind thick doors

As you can see by the large purple button on the right I’m part of Rachael Harrie's Platform Campaign for writers.  In addition to connecting with other bloggers in a multitude of genres, we Campaigners are also issued challenges to exercise our writing muscles.  Here’s the first:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.



If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut" (also included in the word count).



For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

In no way, shape, or form would I ever consider writing fiction – even a paltry 200 words of it.  I decided that once and for all back in a creative writing class taught by the oh-so-talented-and-humorous Jim Thomas.  I just can’t make stuff up.

I was about to bail on the first challenge, but I remembered that part of my intentions in this midlife transition was to push myself in new directions.  Hey, I learned to communicate enough in French that I won’t ever starve when over there.  Right?  So I stared down that blank screen until I had bled out exactly 200 words of fiction.

And, please, if you’re a fellow Campaigner please “like” me.  Let me know where I can find your story and I’ll do the same.
flash fiction2_9/8/11


Home

The door swung open.  Wide and towering, the ancient, arched oak framed a wrought iron inlay of rambling grapevines.  Beyond she saw the garden.  Red rose topiaries stood above the fray while knot gardens of boxwood and lavender filled the center.  The cool limestone blocks of the 17th century walls stood guard.

Only ten seconds to cross the ancient cobblestone courtyard to the waiting French doors and I’d be home, she thought.

She already saw herself sitting at the long trestle table in her kitchen, its wooden top marred by a century of knives slicing leeks and gutting rabbits.  She knew by this time tomorrow she’d have an apple tart cooling on the iron rack by the window lined with pots of red geraniums.

“May I help you?” a stylishly patrician woman asked in French, startling her by coming quietly up behind.

“No, no. Je regarde,” she answered with a flush of embarrassment at getting caught looking.

With one last wistful look back, she walked on down the street for an afternoon of writing at a nearby café as the owner of the Renaissance mansion built with the wealth of French dukes deadheaded a rose before the door swung shut.


The courtyards of Renaissance hôtel particuliers in Dijon are an architectural treasure
flash fiction3_9/8/11


Where would you have a home if you could pick anywhere?  Describe it for us in the comments box.  Then go here to see what a great piece of flash fiction looks like.

21 comments:

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Ah, what a breath of fresh air. Thanks for this beautiful piece. Mine is not sweet, but you are welcome to take a peek: http://yascribe.blogspot.com/2011/09/winner-of-selling-hope-and-flash.html

Coleen Patrick said...

Hi Julie-Stopping by from the campaign. Beautiful writing! Your description makes me want to be in a garden eating an apple tart!! :)

Damyanti said...

Lovely picture and lovely words! :)

Susan Oloier said...

I love the detailed descriptions. I am a real sucker for the intricacies of a scene. Very lovely!

AveryMarsh said...

Thanks to your writing and the pictures, I'm about to go to bed and dream of walking in beautifully adorned French courtyards. ;) Such lovely descriptions.

N.Scott said...

I can still smell the courtyard. Great imagery

Stobby

nadinefeldman.com said...

Beautiful post as always. Such a sweet description! I felt like I was there.

I'm here now in my favorite home away from home, Sils, Switzerland. It's our last day; tomorrow we journey to Zurich, then home to Houston on Sunday. I'm excited about going home, but sad to leave. Ah, well! There's always next year!

Melinda Farrar said...

Great story. What happens next?

My favorite place to live would be Nantucket. I've always dreamed of living on an island. Australia would be next, even though I haven't visited it yet. I think it's due to the laid back lifestyle.

Keep writing......

bridgetstraub.com said...

I love your pictures! Soo beautiful. Your imagery was nicely done. Mine is #72 As for where I would live? I think I'd ultimatel stay in LA but I'd need to travel more to be sure. Vermont sort of calls to me too.

The Golden Eagle said...

Beautiful writing! I could picture the place so clearly in my mind. :)

My entry.

Ann said...

I just loved those beautiful photos. Wonderful descriptives. Could see it all.

Sandwiched Writer said...

Lovely image. I could see this place!

Julie Farrar said...

Thanks for all the kind words. Fiction isn't my thing and there were so many better stories posted. But I had fun stretching myself a bit.

Laura@Catharsis said...

Oh, my, what a beautiful read! Poetic and full of imagery. Very well done. I enjoyed it. Truly. You have a gift, that's for certain.

leahsthoughts.com said...

This is beautiful! Wonderful job. And I love doors, so naturally, I love that first photo.

Sonia Lal said...

Beautiful imagery! Very poetic. I would love to spend a day in the garden.

I am 55 on the linky list and my entry is here: http://storytreasury.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/first-campaigner-challenge-the-door-swung-open/

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Enjoyed the flash fiction and the photos. Beautiful doors and buildings. We miss some of that here in the U.S. due to our youth. I'm not sure I've visited the place I would love to stay. I loved Italy.

Alica McKenna Johnson said...

Beautiful- I want to live there too.

Ruth Hartman Berge said...

Congratulations, I've just tagged you with The Versatile Blogger Award! Should you choose to accept, you can find the rules on my blog...

http://ruththewriter.blogspot.com/2011/09/sunday-surprise.html

I've enjoyed reading your posts and thought your 9/11 post was beautiful. I hope some of my followers come over to take a peek.

David Powers King said...

This was wonderful. It's very much in line with the stories I write. Masterful choice of words, too. I could see the scene as it unfolded.

Great work, Julie! :)

Amanda Milner said...

Gorgeous pictures and lovely, vivid descriptions of the place. :) I almost felt transported there.

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