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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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reading

Scraps of Ideas

A writing class after retirement seemed like a good idea, but the first assignment, write a short story about anything, left me paralyzed. I went to my husband for help and he reminded me of the scraps of paper in my bedside table that I had written bits of dreams down on. We read them aloud and found a few that I could combine into one story. I had my outline. My first assignment garnered an A and whenever I needed another subject I went back to my scraps for inspiration. They turned out to be unexpected treasure trove.

In response to Charli Mills November 15, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses scraps. It can be scraps of dried flowers, paper, metal, fabric, food — any kind of scraps you can think of. Then write a story about those scraps and why they matter or what they make. Go where the prompt leads you.

Let It Go – Flash Fiction

The cocky author had gone to the writing conference feeling he would come away with an agent; the pamphlet said he could pitch them. He listened, open minded, to the various panel discussions and realized he would have to rewrite his whole manuscript so it started and ended with a bang. He decided it wasn’t worth his time, and appreciated the writing he had done had gotten him through a rough patch in his life. All was not lost: the next time he read a book, he read for pleasure instead of learning the craft. He felt oddly free.

 

In response to Charli Mills June 21, 2018, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about “not all is lost.” It can include recovery from disaster, an unexpected insight after a fall, or however the phrase moves you. Go where the prompt leads.

 

June 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

20 x 20 Vision

You know you are getting older when your son sits at the dinner table and admits it’s time he got glasses because the package labels he has to read working for UPS have become blurry. He’s 45. That’s about the age I got my glasses also. Aging isn’t for sissies.  Continue reading “20 x 20 Vision”

What are you reading?

It’s National Read a Book Day.  Give yourself permission to take time for yourself and read something you like; an old-time western, a poignant love story, the biography of someone you admire, a kids book about animals (because you still like the pictures), a spy novel,  a young adult story so you can remember how innocent we once were.

I’ve mentioned before, this long family saga novel I have written.  I’m working on the fifth draft, tightening and removing the fat.  (It’s harder than writing it the first time!)  I have had about ten people read it so I can utilize their feedback to improve my work.  It’s interesting to discover each person wants me to slant the story to fit how they think.  My most recent reader was the only one under the age of 30.  When she got to the ending, at 4 AM, she woke her husband to tell him the outcome.  I had surprised her.  That’s a good thing.  Personally, I’m glad it wasn’t me she woke up at that time and told her so.  Her husband defended her and said he does the same thing to her.

So what is my book about?  It’s about how far a mother will go to secretly stay in touch with her only child after his father has disowned him for not following family tradition of becoming a doctor; about the wife that can continue to love her  husband and protect  his reputation because she has that secret contact.  It’s a portrayal of friendship and support between different sets of people and how many secrets they keep from some to help others; the story of four generations of a dysfunctional family that knows how to present themselves as happy and whole.  It’s fiction, not about my family, but each character has surprisingly similar characteristics to someone I am close to, and/or parts of myself.  That frightened me when I first started the project.

In one of the writing groups I belong to, most of the members are published authors.  One of the ladies has offered to help where she can; her advice was to make sure I don’t have too many was’s on a page.  If I do, I am telling the story, not showing the action.  WOW!  I just read page 16 of my manuscript and I found seven was’s in one paragraph.  I have a lot to learn! At least now I know one thing to look for.  After thinking about it for a time, I am actually looking forward to rewriting that segment.  It will definitely be better when I get done, maybe not the best it could be, but certainly better.

As you read your book, enjoy the story, then think about the fact it was probably not the author’s first draft.  In fact, it could have been the 50th or 100th draft.

 

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