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Archive for April, 2018

How We Write – Out of Uniform

Our prompts were: Gesturing, guessing, getting it wrong; pointless pondering; buffalo hide sandals.

With twice as many prompts to work into our story, still we wrote one of our shortest pieces, at 287 words! It was the buffalo hide sandals that led us to the clothing of the Sixties. Pointless ponderings sounded like a pompous boss (it’s called alliteration when several words in a sentence begin with the same letter or sound). One thing led to another, led to another…and a story was born.


“What the hell are you wearing?”

Her companion looked down, inspecting his garments. “What? I look fine.”

She shook her head, gesturing at his outfit. “No, you don’t. What about that tunic? It’s completely inappropriate. And no one wears buffalo hide sandals anymore, either.”

He gaped at her. “They were okay the last time I was here. It’s fine, really.”

She sighed. “This isn’t the Sixties anymore. You’ve got it all wrong.” (more…)

How We Write – Driving Me Crazy

Our prompts were: He was such a bad driver; not for all the tea in China; and what do you mean by no?

Looking at the prompts, it just seemed natural to Kyros that the person saying “no” was responding to having to ride with the bad driver, and that they wouldn’t ride with them “for all the tea in China.” This evoked the many field trips Orion took in the fifties with the other kids from her Methodist Church.

When you’re trying to write flash fiction like this, look for links between the words. Draw from your own experience. What does A have to do with B? Once you have even one link, you have the germ of a story. Let it grow from there.



“No?” Pastor Mike demanded. “What do you mean, no?”

“I won’t ride with him,” I shot back, shaking my head. “No way.”

The minister glared down his hawk’s nose. “C’mon, Alex, at least tell me why.”

“He’s dangerous.” I gestured over my shoulder where the youth pastor, Kurt, sat in his car. “I won’t ride with him. Not for all the tea in China!” (more…)

How We Write: A Saucer of Ice Cream

Our prompts for this story were: summer, pet, friend, you, ice cream. This time, they came from both of the writing groups Orion was in. The words summer, friend, and ice cream obviously inspired kids having a picnic of some kind.

But we couldn’t just write a simple story like that. We had to put our own spin on it. When Orion first heard what Kyros had planned, her eyes bugged out and she exclaimed, “You can’t do that!” But he convinced her, so here’s the sweet, twisted result.

Oh, and in case you’re curious about where the characters’ names come from, Pandor and Epimeth are shortened versions of Pandora and Epimetheus, the first humans created by Prometheus in Greek mythology.

A Saucer of Ice Cream

“I’ve never had this flavor of ice cream before, Pandor” the little boy squealed, spooning another large bite into his mouth. “It’s yummy!”

“I know, Epimeth” the little girl exclaimed. “My daddy picked up the stuff to make it on the way home the other day. Mommy made it up special ‘cause it’s been so hot this summer.”

They heard a crash from inside the house. Suddenly, the family pet burst through the door, careening across the yard directly at them. (more…)

How We Write – Islands of Sleep at the End of the Map

Our prompts were: Islands at the end of the map, drinking water.

This was the first short we wrote where we didn’t interpret the prompt literally. Our prompt, drinking water, became the name of a street, instead of just having someone drink water for no reason other than to use the words. Besides, we set the story in a pub! Who goes to a pub to drink water?

We also experimented with the form on this one. We wanted the reader to become part of the story. We hoped that by the end, the reader will feel like the narrator is speaking directly to them.

When we edited the story, we found the length was exactly 503 words. So we read back over it to see if we could find three words that were unnecessary to the plot to make it end up at exactly 500 words. And we succeeded!



Barkeep? Gimme another drink.

No, I have not had enough yet!

What’re you doing here in the middle of the day, pal?

Sally sent you? To bring me home?

That’s not going to work. I got business I need to handle.

This thing? It’s magical. Got it from Esmerelda. You know, the witch on Drinking Water Lane. (more…)

How We Write – Future Tense

The prompts for this story were grand, judgment, and stone hammer. The prompt, grand, reminded Kyros of the Grand Canal in Venice because he had just come back from a vacation there. The prompt, judgment, immediately made both Kyros and Orion think of tarot cards because they both use them occasionally. That left the stone hammer. Being fans of Viking culture, Orion and Kyros always liked Thor’s hammer necklaces. Kyros also remembered that the Eight of Pentacles in the Morgan-Greer Tarot deck has a stonemason using a hammer.

Our story of a woman on vacation getting a tarot card reading unspooled from there, as did the plot, a nice little romance.



“The first position indicates your past year.” The tarot reader tossed her hair back as she turned over the first of the five star-covered cards to reveal a medieval workman at his bench. “The Eight of Pentacles. Hmmm. It looks like you’ve been working too much, my dear.”

Oh, she has no idea, Elizabeth thought to herself. This last year’s been nothing but work! Well, maybe not all. A wry smile came to her lips. There’s always Jason. Though all we’ve done lately is fight… She let that thought trail off, giving her mind a shake. This business meeting in Venice was the perfect excuse to take him somewhere he’d never been before. Hopefully, this beautiful setting will help rekindle our romance. C’mon, what’s more romantic than the Grand Canal?