We had two sets of prompts for this story, the ones we normally get from Orion’s Writer’s Kickstart group (If you want time, The end of the bridge, Jinxed) and the ones from the writing group she started in her apartment building (Historian, Identifiable face in the clouds). While we don’t usually have this abundance of prompts, the combination dovetailed into a story quite nicely.
We also employed the stricture of making the story exactly 500 words. Many of our stories fall pretty close to that, though few come in exactly at 500 words. These days, it seems hard to get them under a thousand! Editing short stories to 500 words proved to be an excellent way to learn to edit your own writing and to learn to see what is and isn’t necessary for a good short story. It also teaches you to cheat on the total! For example, you can use contractions to take the word count down.
We set this story in Peru because Kyros has always had a love for the Incan culture and knows a bit of their history. That country provided lots of chasms, bridges, and mist-shrouded valleys to play with.
LIFE LIKE THE MOVIES
“C’mon, Carlton. I just need a couple of weeks off. My sources say that last earthquake in Peru uncovered new Inca ruins. If I leave right away, I can be the first person on site. Think of the prestige Stockwell College gets if I discovered something new.”
Dean Carlton Whitmore looked down his long aquiline nose at me. “Wash, finals are in three weeks. There’s no way you could get there, find anything interesting, and get back here before that. I’d have to find someone to sub for you for the rest of the term. Do you know how expensive that would be?” (more…)