Here are more emotional stories, designed to draw out one particular feeling. Hopefully I meet with some success. After the four stories, I shall list the emotions intended.
A debrief follows the four stories.
– – – – –
“No, I cannot call someone else,” Steve spat at the telephone. “Everyone told me to talk to you.”
“I hear you, sir,” said a tinny voice. “However, I’m not permitted to handle these situations.”
Steve groaned and gripped a hand to his gut. “What can I do?”
“One option is to go online and–”
“I’m bleeding here!”
“So you can’t reach a computer?”
A silence fell on the line, then broke. “I’m going to transfer you to our automated telephone survey. Let us know how Global Privatized Emergency Solutions worked for you.”
Before the line transferred, Steve bled out.
– – – – –
Jake knew it was over.
No one else got it, Jake knew.
Staring at Steve’s body in the casket, Jake screamed inside.
*If you had just been there!*
*No,* a calm internal voice answered. *It would not matter. You are powerless, there or gone. No difference.*
The hands on his shoulder and soft words left Jake dull. Dim. Not comforted. What was there to comfort?
Jake sank onto the pew, and for the first time in a while, felt nothing.
Liberating, in a way.
When Steve’s mother tried to stop him, Jake said, “I’m going.”
And he left.
– – – – –
The school of fish swam near Reika’s face mask, each fish deviating just in time to avoid impact.
As the jetstream pack pushed her past the orange cloud of scales, Reika’s heartbeat quickened.
The reef glowed in the sunlight streaming through the undulating ocean surface.
Reika slowed, pulling out the waterproof photocopy from Dr. Steve Guye’s predictions. Her eyes shot back and forth between sketch and reef.
Yes, as Steve predicted, the reef expressed a peculiar pattern of growth here.
Reika’s hand quavered.
This would change everything.
With a whoop, she let loose the jetsream pack’s throttle and sped forward.
– – – – –
Ray stared, then caught himself.
An exertion of will turned his eyes away from the window. She waited outside.
Gulping, Ray said, “I’m in.”
The others backed down. Wimps.
Jake meant it when he offered her. After Steve’s death, Jake was desperate.
The room grew warmer. Ray sipped his drink, ice chattering.
“Are you sure?” Jake bit his lip. A tell.
Ray glanced down at his cards. Low flush.
He put his quivering hand beneath the table and used the other to push two hundred large to the center. Jake tossed his keys atop the money.
Jake showed two pair.
– – – – –
And the emotions are…
Frustration, Depression, Excitement, Lust
– – – – –
Time for the debrief.
This flash fiction challenge is harder than it looks at first sight. Sure, write one hundred words. No problem. This blog post is a quarter of the way there already.
Oh. Write a hundred words and convey an emotion. Harder, yes. A lot of emotion in stories relies upon laying the groundwork so that the emotion eventually arises in a natural way. But doable in a hundred words, if they turn out to be the right hundred words.
The real killer is trying to turn the 100 word piece into a story with beginning, middle, and end. That is a lot to expect from so few words (which, by the way, this post surpassed sometime earlier in this sentence).
The combo is tricky. I am working on expressing emotion in my work in general, so it is a good exercise.
Lucky me, my wife is awesome and decided she would help me out by writing alongside me. We came up with a list of 8 emotions and then faced off with 4 of them before tiring out.
But that’s not all folks, these two daring write-good era will attempt to write these stories… while suspended above the scorching lava sharks of Pensacola! (Call me, SyFy,)
Okay, the actual challenge was to write a hundred word story on the given emotion prompt and have it ready in ten minutes. That includes planning, typing, and editing. Because why challenge yourself in a way that could be less interesting? (Hmm, maybe I should reconsider those lava sharks after all.)
Heidi and I got through four stories on Sunday before agreeing that emotional fatigue was a good enough reason to put off the other four. It’s a pretty great challenge, though,for a few different occasions.
If you are feeling like you need some agitation to get your writer brain moving, great! Try this out on your own.
If you know another writer having a similar issue, great! Force that writer to face off with you. You will both benefit, and enjoy comparing different approaches to the same subject matter.
Best of all, if you have someone who lacks an appreciation for how much work writing can be, great! Lure them into this challenge with the assurance that, hey, it’s only a hundred words. No problem, right?
I would be interested to hear any reactions to that last suggested use.
Also, you may have noticed that I tried to serialize the stories. It became quite a stretch as I went on, but also added a tiny bit of structure to my process. Does the serialization get in the way of the storytelling? Who can say?
Well, you could, I suppose.
Back to the real writing world…