Friday, August 13, 2010

Five-minute fiction

Hi again

I wanted to talk about marketing today, after a meeting this morning with some writers looking for ideas to market their work, but I'll save that for next time. Today I have a fun challenge.

My daughter challenged me this afternoon to write a story in five minutes! Sounds hard, and it was! I couldn't do it, but what I did was start a story that I finished within the hour.

Now I want to challenge you to do the same! Keep stories to a maximum of 500 words, and finish within the hour. I wrote about 150 words in five minutes, so let me know how far you get in five minutes, and then how long it took to finish. (The funky lines mark how far I got in five minutes.)

Send in those you finish within the hour. I'm counting on honesty! And also that you keep the stories PG-13 rated, please. No erotica or gore or horror.

Since my daughter is in high school, I wrote a story about a couple of high school girls shopping for dresses. It's light and fun and I hope you enjoy it. Maybe it will inspire you to write one.

Send your five-minute fiction and let's see how creative we can be in five minutes, and an hour!

Here's my five-minute fiction:

The perfect dress

After searching all day for the perfect Homecoming dress, Laurie Taylor knew exactly what she didn’t want. The ones she had tried on. Each one was wrong in a different way. The hems were too short, too long or too weird. The necks didn’t fit right, or hung awkwardly from her shoulders. The colors were too bright, too pale or the pattern was awful. Nothing worked. She and her friend Claudia were ready to give up.

“Let’s go get a cappuccino,” Claudia said. “We can think about what you want, and where to go next.”

“I don’t think anything will help,” Laurie said.

“Well, at least we can get off our feet for a while and regroup,” Claudia said. “Maybe the cappuccino will have all the answers.”

Before they reached the counter of the Coffee Klatch, the clerk asked “What’ll you have?”

Laurie didn’t answer. She just stared at him. He didn’t bother to look up.


This was no ordinary coffee clerk. This was Jake. Jake Phillips, the coolest kid on campus. Even in his white apron, he managed to look like the most interesting person in the coffee shop. His dark hair was pulled back in a casual ponytail that curved under slightly, just brushing the place where his neck and shoulders met.

The sleeves of his white, button-down shirt were rolled up, exposing his tanned, muscular forearms. He rolled the pencil between his fingers and focused on his order pad while waiting for a response. He didn’t get one. Laurie just stared, mouth open.

When he finally looked up, he smiled. He recognized her from chemistry class.

“Hey, I know you.”

She smiled, still unable to speak. She couldn’t stop staring at this beautiful boy who was actually talking to her.

“What’s your poison?”

Laurie laughed too loudly at the comment.

Claudia jumped in, and ordered a cappuccino for her friend.

When they got to the table, Laurie said she wanted to leave.

“We are not leaving,” Claudia said. “We need to figure out our next move.”

“My next move is to change my mind about going to this stupid dance,” Laurie said. “You and Janice and Cynthia and Katie will have a better time without me, anyway. I don’t belong there. My people just don’t do that kind of thing.”

“Your people?” Claudia asked. “What people are those?”

“My family. We aren’t dancers. We don’t do parties well. One time, my uncle accidentally fell into the pool underneath the dance floor.”

“Nice try, George Bailey. That was a scene from “A Wonderful Life.”

“Well, maybe it wasn’t a pool, but he fell off something, somewhere, I’m sure.”

Jake came out from behind the counter and walked over to their table. Laurie sank in her chair.

“My people aren’t dancers, either,” he said to Laurie. “That’s why I play the guitar. My band’s playing at Homecoming, you’re going, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Of course I’m going.”

Laurie turned to Claudia. “C’mon Claudia, let’s go look for dresses. I think I saw one that might work.”

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