Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘Return to Alaska’

This 99-word flash fiction piece was written in response to Charli Mills’ weekly challenge at Carrot Ranch. Thanks Charli for the prompt!

February 25, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word frozen. It can be descriptive, character focused, action driven. Go out onto the ice and find a frozen story. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by March 2, 2021. Rules & Guidelines.

Return to Alaska

“Hi, my name’s Suzie. I’ll be looking after you this morning.” I smiled at the pretty hostess.  

She showed me some images on her screen. “Where would you like to go today, Maggie?”

I needed to return to the cabin where I had left my unfinished manuscript.

“A beach, the mountains, a lake, or…”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

Suzie pushed my wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on Alaska’s frozen landscape?”

“I have to finish my novel.”

Suzie squeezed my limp hand and slid on the 3D glasses. “Alaska it is.”

  *****

I wrote a stream of consciousness post inspired by the word ‘Frosty’ on Saturday, The post included a short story, improvised in two parts, on Friday night before going to bed I wrote the beginning and on Saturday morning I wrote the end of the story. No editing, no thinking, just improvised writing. Here is the post.

I usually take hours to write my posts, but stream-of-consciousness frees me from the constraints of a ‘well-crafted’ text. I literally wrote it in less than half an hour and amazingly, it is the post with the most likes in all February!

What does that tell me? Perhaps I spend too much time on my other posts and make them worse with so much preparation and editing?

Anyway, as this week’s Carrot Ranch prompt was ‘frozen’, which is pretty similar to ‘frosty’, I decided to use the same basic story idea and rewrite it with more careful editing and reducing it to 99 words.

Here’s the original stream-of-consciousness story with no editing: (Except ProWritingAid, which does the spelling and punctuation automatically as I write, which is a lifesaver!)

Frosty

I would love to stay at a log cabin, like the ones you see in films, in distant places like Canada and Alaska, sit by the window and write whatever comes to mind, drinking cups of tea and hot chocolate, by the fireplace, and eating hot soup with crusty bread (maybe I am hungry?).

I’d write a story about a writer who was in search of inspiration. She rented a cabin in the snowy countryside in the Alaskan wild, where she found a diary in the bedside table drawer, left behind by a previous occupant who had also come to write a book.

She opened the first page and read:

Once upon a time a writer needed solitude to write her novel, so she rented a cabin and found a diary written by a previous occupant. It started with Once upon a time…

She wrote the first chapter, and then she left.

She returned every year to find her diary in the same place. She wrote a new chapter each year.

(And now I’m going to bed, because it’s one o’clock in the morning. Tomorrow morning I’ll reread my post and write the end of the story.

Hi! I’m Back. Here’s Part II).

“Good morning, Maggie.”

Maggie turned to the pretty young girl and smiled.

“Where would you like to go today?” the nice girl said, showing her images on a screen. “There’s a beach, the mountains, a thick wood, or…”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

“If you’re sure?” Maggie nodded enthusiastically.

The girl pushed Maggie’s wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on frosty Alaska?”

Maggie’s eyes shone. “I have to finish my novel.”

The young girl caressed Maggie’s wrinkled hand, put on her 3D glasses and said, “Alaska it is.”

****

Well, what do you think?

Have I improved the story with tighter editing, or not?

 

#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘Frosty’ #SaturdayThoughts #FlashFiction

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “-sty.” Find a word that ends in “-sty” or use the word “sty.” Enjoy!

Frosty

A few words have crossed my mind, such as:

Nasty, but I refuse to let any type of unpleasantness into my life.

Dusty, but I’m not in the mood to think about housework or dirt.

Crusty, I was tempted, but it’s way past my bedtime and I’m not hungry.

Hasty, I’m no longer in a hurry. I’ve been there, done all the rushing around, life is slower now.

Misty, this word brings sad memories. It’s the name of our cat who was run over, and I don’t need sad memories right now.

So, I finally settled on Frosty because I live an hour and a half’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea, where the climate is mild, so frost is a pretty, exotic thing I see very little of, and therefore it has no negative connotations for me. On the contrary, I looked through Pixabay and found some lovely pictures of frost, like this one:

I would love to stay at a log cabin, like the ones you see in films, in distant places like Canada and Alaska, sit by the window and write whatever comes to mind, drinking cups of tea and hot chocolate, by the fireplace, and eating hot soup with crusty bread (maybe I am hungry?).

I’d write a story about a writer who was in search of inspiration. She rented a cabin in the snowy countryside in the Alaskan wild where she found a diary in the bedside table drawer, left behind by a previous occupant who had also come to write a book.

She opened the first page and read:

Once upon a time a writer needed solitude to write her novel, so she rented a cabin and found a diary written by a previous occupant. It started with Once upon a time…

She wrote the first chapter, and then she left.

She returned every year to find her diary in the same place. She wrote a new chapter each year.

(And now I’m going to bed, because it’s one o’clock in the morning.

Tomorrow morning I’ll reread my post and write the end of the story.

Hi! I’m Back. Here’s Part II).

“Good morning, Maggie.”

Maggie turned to the pretty young girl and smiled.

“Where would you like to go today?” the nice girl said, showing her images on a screen. “There’s a beach, the mountains, a thick wood, or …”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

“If you’re sure?” Maggie nodded enthusiastically.

The girl pushed Maggie’s wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on frosty Alaska?”

Maggie’s eyes shone. “I have to finish my novel.”

The young girl caressed Maggie’s wrinkled hand, put on her 3D glasses and said, “Alaska it is.”

****

#JaneEyreFF Rereading Jane Eyre in #FlashFiction #Chapter2

Jane Eyre in Flash Fiction Chapter 2

How I imagined I saw my uncle’s ghost in the red-room

I was unjustly accused of violence and wickedness towards my cousin, John, and reminded that I was less than a servant. They warned me that if I was not congenial, I would be sent to the poorhouse.

I knew my aunt had promised my uncle, Mr Reed, that she would rear and maintain me as her own. Instead, she considered me an alien intruder in her family. I was an unloved and unwanted guest at Gateshead Hall. They called me naughty, sullen and sneaking. Everything I did was at fault, consequently I was always suffering, brow beaten and condemned.

Miss Abbot and Bessie, both servants at Gateshead, wanted to tie me up with a pair of garters. I promised to keep still, and they left me on a low ottoman near the marble chimneypiece in the red room, the largest and coldest room, furnished with a bed, dark mahogany chairs and wardrobe. There was a miniature of my poor uncle, who had died in this very room.

The rain was beating on the windows, and the wind howled in the grove behind the Hall. When night fell and I saw a ghost in the looking glass, I screamed and sobbed to be let out, but they did not believe me. I was so terrified that my uncle would rise from the grave that I had a fit and lost consciousness.

The second chapter of Jane Eyre intensifies Jane’s sense of abandonment, loneliness and lack of love or support.

Another chilling aspect is added to her misery, her uncle’s ghostly presence in the ominous room. Jane is threatened with the poorhouse, almost tied up, and locked in the red room, where her uncle died and presumably haunts in the dead of night.

A terrifying situation for a helpless ten-year-old child.

The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find here.

I’ll be posting a chapter of Jane Eyre in flash fiction every Friday. If you’re wondering why, read all about it here.

If you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.

See you next week for chapter 3!

Images from Pixabay

#WritePhoto ‘Lucky!’ #FlashFiction #101words

The following Tanka was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

Alice’s Lucky Day

Alice wasn’t enjoying the picnic.
Her cousins giggled and whispered behind her back until her mother made them include her in their games.
They grumbled and Chelsea said, “Count to a hundred, you’re It!”
Instead of chasing them, Alice wandered to the old stone bridge by the river.
Climbing down between the rocks, she heard a puppy whimpering and scratching its way out of a plastic bag floating in the deep waters.
When she returned, everyone fussed around her, waiting for their turn to hold the puppy.
“She’s called Lucky,” Alice told them, “because I rescued her on my lucky day.”   

****

Photo from Pixabay

Happy weekend!

 

 

#JaneEyreFF Rereading Jane Eyre in #FlashFiction #Chapter1

Jane Eyre in Flash Fiction Chapter 1

How I came to be locked in the red-room

There was no possibility of taking a walk that chilly November afternoon.

My cousins Eliza, John and Georgina were clustered around their mother and my aunt, Mrs Reed, in the drawing room, while I was kept at a distance, accused of insolence.

I made myself at home on the window-seat in the breakfast-room, behind a heavy curtain, reading Berwick’s History of British Birds, with its eerie pictures, which told mysterious stories of marine phantoms, churchyards, torpid seas and gallows.

My cousin, John, who at fourteen was four years older and twice my size, interrupted my solitude, ordering me to return his book because I was a penniless orphan and an unwanted guest at his house.

I did as requested and he threw the book at my head with such force that I fell and hit my head on the door. Blood trickled down my neck. “You are wicked like the Roman emperors,” I said, because I had read all about Nero and Caligula in Goldsmith’s History of Rome.

He called me a rat and pulled my hair viciously. I fought him off frantically and when his mother found us; I was accused of aggressive behaviour and dragged upstairs to be locked in the red room.

The first chapter of Jane Eyre is impressive. The reader is thrust into a brave, intelligent and abused ten-year-old’s struggle to survive in a hostile world.

The story begins in Jane’s lowest moment; orphaned, unloved, bullied, physically beaten, silenced and locked in a room. It may not be a coincidence that at this precise moment, Bertha Antionetta Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, was also locked in the attic at Thornfield Hall.

We learn that Jane is an orphan who lives with her unloving aunt and nasty cousins, much like Cinderella, but with a bullying boy added to the picture. We also know she is an intelligent child who reads and understands books for adults about Roman emperors and birds.

We feel immediate compassion for the child, but we are also aware that she is not to be pitied. Jane is an intelligent and spirited girl who is prepared to face her bullies and fight for her freedom.

The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find here.

Here’s a post I wrote about the books Jane Eyre read.

Here’s a post I wrote about the first line of Jane Eyre: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” 

I’ll be posting a chapter of Jane Eyre in flash fiction every Friday. If you’re wondering why, read all about it here.

So if you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.

See you next week for chapter 2!

Images from Pixabay

Carrot Ranch Special Collection #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘The River of Life’ #Poem

This 99-word poem was written in response to Charli Mills’ Special collection Challenge at Carrot Ranch. 

January 28, 2021, Special Collection Challenge prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by February 11, 2021.

The 99-word entries to this Carrot Ranch Special Collection Challenge will be presented to Sue Vincent on February 17. If you want to take part and be included in this special collection, respond using the form HERE.

The River of Life

The river trickles from its source,
Weak like a baby’s tears,
It slides across the earth,
First a stream which later grows,
Flowing carefree along the river bed,
Like a young girl, searching for love,
It carries reeds and pebbles and fish,
There are times it meanders lazily,
Other times it cascades with fury,
Or desire,
Later it grows, like a pregnant mother,
Carrying boats and bodies, too,
It battles with mud and pollution,
But always pushes forward,
Along a one way course,
There is no return,
It flows straight ahead,
Determined to reach its destination,  
The unchartered sea.
 *****

 

 

 

#JaneEyreFF Rereading Jane Eyre in #FlashFiction

I regularly reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Sometimes the whole book, other times passages and it never gets old! There’s always something new I notice or think about. As this blog is called Rereading Jane Eyre and all my novels so far were directly influenced by Jane Eyre I thought I’d share my latest rereading on my blog this time.

But the question I asked myself was, ‘How do I breathe new life into my rereading of Jane Eyre, a novel which has been read and discussed millions of times over the last two centuries?’

Everything I could think of, such as write summaries or opinions of each chapter has already been done. On the other hand, I didn’t just want to write posts for students to pass exams or do their homework, although I’m delighted if students of English or Victorian literature drop by and get some value from my blog, after all, I am/was a teacher (once a teacher always a teacher!)

I also wanted it to be fun for me. Life’s short and wonderful, so I’m only prepared to take on projects I feel passionate about. So how could I bring renewed passion into yet another rereading of the classic?

The solution came to me suddenly, as all my best ideas do.

I enjoy writing flash fiction and I enjoy reading Jane Eyre, so why not combine both?

Photo by No Longer Here. See more of their images on Pixabay

This weekly post will include a flash fiction rewriting of each of the 38 chapters of Jane Eyre. My aim is to condense each chapter to less than 250 words and maintain the tone, style, vocabulary and content of the original novel. At the same time, each flash fiction chapter will be a complete story in itself, to be continued the following week.

The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find by clicking on the book cover.

Why Flash Fiction?

I’ve been writing flash fiction since I discovered it six years ago, and it’s definitely helped me as a writer by building awareness of the value of making every word count whatever I write. I explain this in greater detail in this post.

Who are these flash fiction chapters for?

Before I answer the question I’d like to encourage you all to read or reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, because it’s one of the greatest novels in the English language.

Jane Eyre is on many diverse lists of ‘Best English Novels’ and it has been giving readers all over the world hours of pleasure and inspiration for over 170 years.

However, I do appreciate that Victorian novels are three volumes long and much more slow-paced than 21st century novels, so they are not for all contemporary readers, and yet, if I can create an interest in readers with my flash fiction samples (or my novels), to read the original, that would be fabulous.

Back to the question. These posts are for anyone who has not read the novel and would like to get the feel of it, as well as people who have read it some time ago and don’t remember much, and for anyone who enjoys reading flash fiction.

I will also include a brief commentary on the chapter and some quotes and discussion questions, which may be of value to teachers, students and general readers. My aim is to keep the whole post to between 500-600 words.

So if you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.

See you next week for chapter 1!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Blogging Friends’ #bookbloggers #amwriting @SCVincent

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG are Louise – Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

February 3 question – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

When I started blogging in November 2013, I had no idea what I was doing! I had heard of blogs, of course, and I’d probably read some blog posts, but I’d never even thought of starting one.

An online writer friend I met through Goodreads told me every writer should have a blog, so I started looking into what blogs actually were and decided to give it a go, and I’m really glad I did.

Blogging and interacting with other bloggers has helped me improve and develop my writing career by improving my craft through writing blog posts and creative flash fiction, showcasing my writing and sharing opinions and work with other readers and writers. It has given me a window to the world and a direct connection to other readers, writers and bloggers.

I’ve met a lot of bloggers along the way, and there are a few who I consider my ‘blogging friends’. But first I’d like to briefly reflect on the term ‘Blogging friend’. What is a blogging friend?

My blogging friends share many characteristics of the friends I see face to face. They are both supportive and friendly, which means I can ask them for help and advice on the topics that brought us together, in my case, mainly books and writing. We often share other personal opinions and some aspects of our private lives, too. We regularly read and comment on our posts and our projects. I feel as if I know them, so if I ever physically met them, I’m sure we’d chat away about our common passion and everything else we could think of!

The only thing blogging friendships lack is physical interaction and after this epidemic, when 95% of the contact I have with friends and family is online or on my phone, I’d say physical contact is overrated!

Sue Vincent: A Very Special Blogger

Talking about blogging friends, I’d like to introduce you to a very special blogging friend, who she has thousands of followers and blogging friends and is well-loved by many bloggers: Sue Vincent.

I ‘met’ Sue in 2017 when I first took part in her weekly photo prompt challenge on her blog called #Writephoto.

#Writephoto is a great challenge because there is no word or genre limit, just a picture prompt to take you wherever your thoughts go!

Sue is a very supportive host who comments on all entries and reblogs as many as she can every week.

She has three Websites where she shares her poems (And I love her #midnighthaiku) flash fiction, short stories, guest posts, poetry, books, etc.:

Daily Echo

France & Vincent

The Silent Eye

Sue is struggling with a serious illness at present read more about that here, so she could do with love and support from the blogging community to which she has contributed so much over the years.

Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Literary Community, another supportive online writing and blogging community, is organising The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic, including a Flash Fiction Event to celebrate and support Sue. Read all about it in H. R. R. Gorman’s post on behalf of the Rodeo Organization Team and take part.

Find out more about Sue here

Finally I’d like to share a poem I wrote this morning. Hoping you all have a wonderful Wednesday.

 

#WritePhoto ‘The Saxon Princess’ #FlashFiction #Netflix

The Saxon Princess, a 112-word flash fiction, was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

The Saxon Princess

Princess Judith hid behind the huge rock and retrieved her slaughtered father’s dagger. 

The entire village watched her run to the mountains, her wedding dress trailing behind. No one stopped her or helped. They feared Bolverker, the conqueror.

Night fell. She could freeze to death or go back to the humiliation of a forced marriage to a pagan raider. Bolverker waited. He would not show weakness by chasing an arrogant, Christian girl. Judith returned; it would be more honourable than dying in exile. 

Bolverker smiled as she entered. The poisoned blade was hidden under her dress. She was ready to kill or be killed for her God, her people, and her freedom.

****

As you may have guessed, I’ve been watching too many episodes of Vikings on Netflix!

I’ve also watched The Last Kingdom, which would be the follow up from a historical point of view, although both series are not connected in any other way, as far as I know.

By the way, The Last Kingdom is based on thirteen novels brilliantly written by Bernard Cornwell and read on Audible by Jonathan Keeble. I love the series, and I’m currently reading and listening to the audiobook! I’ll be reviewing it soon.

There are also plenty of Vikings, Normans and Saxons in The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, a fabulous novel set in this period, which I recently reviewed here. 

The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 4) by [Ken Follett]

My favourite time period is still the 19th century and early 20th century, however, the Medieval era is a close second!

In which period are your favourite historical novels, series or films set?

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘Wish upon a star’

This 99-word flash fiction piece was written in response to Charli Mills’ weekly challenge at Carrot Ranch. Thanks Charli for the prompt!

January 21, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that rephrases “light at the end of the tunnel.” Think of how the cliche replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with your character or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Wish Upon a Star

We were trapped.
Heavy snow covered the city, jamming doors and roads.
Soon it would reach our windows and block our view of the static sea.
“Mum, why did the moon disappear?”
Thirty, twelve-hour days had passed since the moon exploded and vanished.
 “I want to go home.”
Asteroids were crashing all over the planet, causing tidal waves and earthquakes.   
Archie pointed to the gigantic stars lighting up the sky. “I wish one of them would come and be our moon!”
“Who needs a moon when hundreds of stars are shining brighter than ever?” I said, hugging my son.
 *****

Well, that’s where ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ took me.

In this case, mother and son are hoping a gigantic star will take over the Moon’s vital role as the Earth’s satellite so they can recover their lives, but the outcome is uncertain, in spite of the brightness of the light or the stars.

I haven’t taken part in this challenge for over a year, in fact, I haven’t written much flash fiction in the same amount of time.

I enjoy the challenge of writing flash fiction, and I think it’s helped me improve my writing as I explained in this post, so I’ll be gradually getting back into the routine.

Hope you’re having a creative Monday!