Much of that summer she stood guard duty at the palace. Rifle-barrel straight in spurred boots, her hair in a net under a polished coal-scuttle, she featured in many a tourist photo.
Watching the people, she found stories in all of them.
The middle-aged couple holding hands like teenagers – married, but not to one another. Here together, a stolen holiday.
The girl in the party dress, alone in the street – looking for White Rabbit.
The well-dressed man crumpled on a bench – all his wealth gone. Folly and greed.
Later the novelist would say: “That was when I learned my craft.”
To see a list of links to all the responses to this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, click here.
25 thoughts on “The successful novelist – flash fiction story”
A perfect writer’s story coupled with a perfect illustration. Glad I caught this before leaving for work.
Thanks Rochelle. You seem to have a Swedish theme going … or is it just coincidence? 😀
Your artwork continues to be mesmerizing and highly illustrative of the prompt and your words. Crap, why don’t I have any talent?!
Now, now Perry. Don’t exaggerate. Your website is full of talent. I just read through “62 reasons why 60 is not the new 40” and I a) laughed at some of them & b) felt much younger than my 55 years because alot of the reasons clearly mean I must be 40. (Sneaking suspicion they actually mean I’m not American, but let’s not go there.) 🙂
That’s what I call making good use of your time. Good story (and accompanying pix).
Yes, she really was making good use of her time. Not sure I’d be able to do the same if in her boots. Probably spend more time grumping about my feet. 🙂
John, I always look forward to coming by to see what you’ve created, both in words and in pictures. As you said, I don’t know if I could do this, at least for all that time, but what excellent use of the time. It reminds me of what I do when I’m driving the six hours between Cleveland and Chicago, although I can at least move around and jot down a note or two (very carefully in sometimes-impossible-to-decipher chicken scratches).
Thanks Janet, likewise. Six hour drives would certainly give you time to think. Some of my most creative thinking seems to go on when I’m swimming. The problem is always holding on to good thoughts long enough so I can make a note of them after. I’m the guy in the men’s changing rooms hunched over his smartphone feverishly keying in words. No chicken scrawl, but the spelling is sometimes a challenge to interpret later!
I was watching a program the other day where an actor was talking about one of his most important tools were his powers of observation. It’s what allows him to portray a character. I think the same could be said of a writer.
Absolutely. The ability to round out believeable characters is essential. Of course there’s always more than that – plot, description, action and all the rest, but for me a satisfactory story (though not perhaps a piece of short flash fiction) has to have a recognisable person at its heart – or it has no heart.
Hey, John, I like this! And you’re right … that’s the way the craft is learned.
Well, that and actually getting words down in the right order on paper (or screen) I suppose. 🙂
Yup. This is where great writers get their stories, from observing people. I enjoyed this one a lot!
Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.
Great story, lovely illustration. I’m an avid people-watcher myself.
Thanks, Sandra. People-watching is a very rewarding activity. Sitting and watching people is a pleasure and lately I find myself doing it more often through the lense of a camera.
Firstly, I LOVE the layout of your site – the lined paper is really effective 🙂
Great illustration, as always, and you’ve highlighted some really interesting characters, just the sort of thing you might notice if you were still for long enough. Most of us are too busy rushing around, I guess. This is a great take on the prompt!
John, what an amazing take on the prompt.. observing people is so important, and so rarely do we have time.. I have tried on the subway sometimes… but I go to rarely.
I loved the story and the illustration. When I’m sitting in an airport, I have those same thoughts. It’s fun to imagine what stories lie inside the people passing by. All writers can relate to this.
I like this story and it’s so true: the only way to write authentically about people is to watch people.
My favorite part is “The middle-aged couple holding hands like teenagers – married, but not to one another. Here together, a stolen holiday.” Stealing time from their spouses! Very nice.
Thank you for your comments to Joe and David – and to all the other Friday Fictioneers who visited and liked or commented. Much appreciated. It’s nearly time for the new week now!
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