Or the title could’ve been:
#FlashFiction fun for June with #FlashFicHive featured on #TwistedTaleTuesday
If you’ve been checking out my #flashfiction tweets, you might’ve noticed that I’ve started to participate in #FlashFicHive since June started. It wasn’t planned. I saw the hashtag in my timeline while making sure I have all my tweets scheduled for the week and I was intrigued.
“Created specifically for those seeking to improve their flash fiction writing skills within a community of like-minded writers, #FlashFicHive will provide a dedicated place for writers to create, read, and post (blog links only) flash fiction.
Every 7 days throughout the month, HIVE-writers will have the choice to write 1 to 4 (or more) micro or flash fiction stories in conjunction with a series of optional prompts, games, and exercises provided daily.
The daily exercises are mini-workshops over the course of the month to give writers the option to experiment and/or have fun with various topics pivotal to writing good flash fiction. Hive-writers have the option to choose from 3 task-tracks (A-Drone, B-Worker, or C-Queen) to suit their speed and experience level…or opt to bypass the task-tracks and work at their own pace.”
The point is to get more writing done. You can check out full details and the calendar for June here.
Now, you know me, when I take on a challenge I charge in with bells on. (Wow, what a mixed metaphor. I think the various veldfires are having a weird effect on me…)
The “share your stories” days happen to be on every Wednesday according to the calendar, which means that I can actually do that on a Tuesday with my regular scheduling of flash fiction here on the blog. You can check my daily progress on Twitter @miladyronel #FlashFicHive or any combination of that. I was a bit worried about what I’ll be doing for #TwistedTaleTuesday from now on. They say when one door closes another opens…
So for week one:
“Write a story inspired by a song.”
There were plenty of exercises – from writing a rough draft of up to 1k words to condensing the story to only 25 words – but this is my favourite (polished) version of one of the two stories I wrote. (We’ll look at my second story in July.)
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Meredith grinned as Eoin danced in the middle of the crowd of intoxicated clubbers. He looked exactly as hot as the first time she’d met him. If only the last decade had been as kind to her…
She caught a glimpse of her reflection, the tight black outfit making her feel a little sad; her life has been one long party with Eoin.
He came closer, sensing her mood as easily as he always did.
She smiled, trying to fool him. But it never worked. He lifted her chin and she stared into his grey-blue eyes, marvelling once more at how they shone like silver.
‘My time here is done,’ she whispered, half hoping that he didn’t hear her. She’d loved him for most of her life and couldn’t bear the thought of hurting him.
He heard her over the loud electronica music, of course; his Fae-hearing never missed anything. His eyes narrowed slightly. The rest of the club faded into the background as he drew her close and began to waltz with her.
The clubbers in their tight clothes and rhinestones disappeared. Chandeliers lit the wood floors as the flickering lights fainted away. Dancers in formal wear whirled around them, gems glittering at their throats and wrists.
Meredith allowed his magic to envelop her and her club outfit turned into layers of silk and chiffon, her dress sweeping the floor as he expertly guided her across the room.
‘Time is irrelevant,’ Eoin said as the music from an era gone by swelled.
‘Not when you’re human,’ Meredith answered, looking away from the dead eyes of the ghost dancers.
‘Nothing in your life will ever compare to what we have,’ Eoin warned as he tipped Meredith, her hair touching the floor.
‘I know,’ she whispered as he pulled her up against his chest. Dancing with him was always exhilarating, not just because he could change their surroundings at will but also because it was him.
Cold wrapped around them as the other dancers closed in again.
She stared into his beautiful eyes, not sure if it’s the right thing to leave him. After all, she was the first woman this Gancanagh hadn’t enslaved with his touch: for centuries he hadn’t cared how many humans withered away because of their addiction to him. But for her, he had curbed his magic. For her, he had become more than anyone had ever expected of him. She knew that Eoin loved her.
She kissed him and the moment fled.
The wraiths disappeared along with the chandeliers as the modern-day clubbers filled the dance floor again, flickering lights illuminating the lingering mist of the dead.
Meredith caressed his face, drinking him in for the last time.
She turned around and walked away, her dress replaced by her tight club outfit. Lights followed her, images of him captured in them, but she tried hard not to be distracted by them. Meredith knew that he was still dancing, as he would long after she’s dead.
What do you think? I played to my strengths (dark fantasy/fantasy/horror). The song that inspired this is Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. I heard it in Pitch Perfect and it just kept replaying itself in my head when I got the assignment for day 2.
The line “I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby” conjured a Gancanagh in a smoky club with strobing lights. (Check out what a Gancanagh is on my Origin of the Fae page.)
This is probably the longest I’ve worked on a flash fiction piece – I usually do all the steps at once, not spread out over several days. But looking at the best lines on different days made a difference.
“She turned around and walked away. Meredith knew that he was still dancing, as he would long after she’s dead.”
“The wraiths disappeared along with the chandeliers as the modern-day clubbers filled the dance floor again, flickering lights illuminating the lingering mist of the dead.”
Story in 25 words, day 5:
“Meredith breaks up with her Faery boyfriend to have a normal human life. During their last dance he makes sure that she’ll never forget him.”
So day three got fleshed out a bit, but day four’s best lines stayed with me for a long time so I kept it as is. I read and reread this piece so many times, mostly hunting adverbs now that I know how sneaky they are even when I don’t consciously decide to use them, and I really want to know more about their relationship (how they met – obviously she was still a teenager, maybe 18? – and why he decided that she was special in ways that no other human had ever been).
The story is a bit longer than my usual flash pieces that stay under 300 words, but my goal was to keep it around 500 words so I’m good.
I’m having a lot of fun with this. And if you’re not able to join in June, don’t despair: there’ll be other months with the same type of hive merriment.
What do you think of the story? Good flash fiction usually ends with a twist, but I thought letting Meredith have the strength to leave Eoin despite all the enticing things he can do works well with the overall theme of the story. Your thoughts?