Homecoming – Part 4

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, the place where Rochelle Wisoff-Fields hosts weekly flash fiction based on a photo prompt. The challenge is to write a complete story in approx. 100 words. The link for other entries is at the bottom.

I’m continuing a series of glimpses from a larger story begun 4 weeks ago. You can check out my previous parts here: Homecoming  Part 2  Part 3

 

copyright - DLovering

100 words:

Things were not going as planned. Kelsey had followed Grant’s instructions to the letter, but the chair sat empty. She still didn’t have what she needed.

Looking up at the streamers she wondered what to do. “Kel?” Kelsey jumped at the sound of her name.

Looking at Jim with relief, she smiled, “You came.”

“I wouldn’t have missed this,” he said. “Here,” he sat down and set a box on the table between them. “I have something for you.”

Kelsey looked at the carefully wrapped package. Knowing how much she needed what was inside did nothing to calm her fears.

 

Advertisements

59 thoughts on “Homecoming – Part 4

  1. A rather suspenseful tale you’re spinning so far. What’s real and what isn’t? I wonder how awake her waking life really is. I’m wondering if her son Grant is dead…he only seems to exist in her head. Would love to know how this all unfolds!

    Like

  2. JF: I read your story, as you requested, and I can honestly say that while I enjoyed the writing, this is the perfect example of why I disagree with the serial story in this context. Hear me out, because I think your prose is sharp and wonderful, and I’d likely love reading the complete picture.
    As it is, without having read the previous installments (or without the knowledge you have in your head) I have no context for the characters, who are obviously part of something bigger. Something specific has happened before this scene (but what it is we haven’t a clue) and there is something specific in the package that we have to read on in order to find out what it is.

    This is, I believe, a philosophical difference — it is my understanding that the whole point of flash fiction — be it 50 words, 100 words or 1000 words is to tell a complete story in the confines of that space. That is to say, a story with a beginning, middle and end. Something that, while your imagination may give it back story or fill in the blanks, or continue the story in your head, is nonetheless complete on its own.

    With a serialized story, one develops the characters over a period of time, and so bringing a fully realized character or characters to a new story is not quite the same as starting from scratch. Likewise, the reader gets a different experience. With a serial (and don’t get me wrong. I love serials. I write a serial on my blog) the reader doesn’t have the expectation that things are going to be wrapped up, and so they don’t have to be. When one reads a serial, they’re not reading a 100 word story, they’re reading the next 100 words in a much larger story (or series of connected stories) that they’ve already read, presumably.

    So it’s not the same thing at all as starting with a blank sheet — no preconceived characters, continuing plot, or setting — and crafting a brand new story from beginning to end. Serials are a completely different animal.

    I repeat. I’d likely love the complete picture — I’m not criticizing your writing, only explaining why I don’t like serials in this context.

    Helena

    Like

    1. Helena, what you are saying makes tons of sense. And I agree with you. In future I will attempt to make a complete story and leave this one for a larger work one day. 🙂 Thanks for the in-depth feedback – this is exactly what I need!

      Like

      1. The only thing I will add is that every story, no matter how “complete” has a back story that the reader can only guess at. Any good story is but a snapshot of a portion of a whole and in that sense can’t ever really be considered complete. The characters behave according to the author’s understanding of who they are based on an unknown back story.

        That said, I understand the difference between what I said in above paragraph and what you meant about my story not being complete – there’s a definite difference.

        I just wanted to point out the distinction as it exists in my mind.

        Like

    2. Dear JF,

      I’m going to dovetail my comment off Helena’s. I hope you don’t mind. I’m in total agreement with her and with Claire. I’m not against a good serial, but I’m not sure that Friday Fictioneers is really the place for it. I for one, in my obsession to read every story, find it a little daunting to go back and read prior installments to know what’s going on, especially if the series has gone for more than four or five weeks.

      I hope this won’t keep you from participating in Friday Fictioneers. 😉

      Thanks to Helena for speaking my mind.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  3. I have to agree with Helena, although there are lots of people who love serials on FF, they don’t really do it for me. There’s so much stuff going on between these two characters that I know nothing about (despite the story being well written). It also seems that you knew what you wanted this scene to be about before you wrote it, and so they only happen to be sitting under the streamers; if the picture had been of trees they would have been sitting under trees. But that is just my opinion, and you must take it with a pinch of salt.

    Like

    1. Yeah, I originally had the word party in there somewhere, but I went over the limit and took it out. Her decorating for a party was part of the instructions from Grant. Oh, well, lost in translation.

      It’s interesting that some readers are pushing me to continue with the Grant, Jim, Kelsey characters and some are not. Don’t know what I’ll do next week! 🙂

      Like

  4. I have to weigh in on the side of not being a fan of serials…for Friday Fictioneers…for the same reasons as Helena and Claire mentioned above. But I know there are plenty people who love them and encourage them often. I also concur that your writing isn’t the issue. Why not write the serial on your blog and do a complete story for FF? You could even mention the serial before going into your FF story, to guide those who are interested to it and encourage them to subscribe to your blog if they’re want to read it. One of my problems being, like Pooh, a bear of very little brain, or at least a brain occupied with a lot of things, is that I can’t remember all the serials. It takes me enough time to work through all the stories in one week without going back to read more. Having a serial AND doing stand-alone FF stories just gives you the chance for more writing. 🙂

    I know what you mean about every story, even a novel, having a back story. While that’s true, you can read a novel without having to go back and read other stories, even if they precede the one you’re currently reading.

    janet

    Like

    1. I understand what you are saying, Janet. Unfortunately for me, I work full-time, have a family, and am planning a wedding at the moment. I’m also in the middle of 2 fiction series and 2 non-fiction books. It would be a miracle if I could come up with a worthy entry for FF that isn’t along the veins of the story that has been whirling around my brain for the past 4 weeks or so. That’s one reason I didn’t enter anything last week (besides the incredible time constraint I had due to my ‘real’ life) – I don’t want the ideas I’ve been having for the longer story to get pushed aside by other stories.

      All that said, maybe it would be best if I bowed out of FF until I have a little more time to write at leisure. You never know what might be around the bend – time like that could come available at any given moment! lol

      Like

      1. Hmmm, can’t imagine why you have no time. 🙂 If you want to keep doing FF, I would simply preface my FF story with a short bit about it being a serial and that you understand if people don’t want to read it. I’m sure most of us will read it anyway and if people choose not to, that’ their decision and fine, too. Only bow out if you feel you want to. Real life always should come first!

        janet

        Like

      2. And a good suggestion, at that! I’m thinking I may wait until this wedding nonsense is over so I don’t lose my mind in the process… Also, it would help if I didn’t feel crunched by library deadlines on the books I’m reading/listening to, but alas, nothing to be done for that unless I miraculously win the lottery! 😉

        Like

  5. I think you should keep on writing. I agree with you about squeezing time out for writing. I would like to spend more time on my writing but work sometimes takes a lot out. Which is why I love the FF format – I do spend time on it – but probably not as much if it was 2000 to 5000 words. I write the ideas for those down to be revisited later. But FF lets me be in touch with my creative self with the added bonus of my lonely blog getting a few visitors. Writing a perfect 100 word story is a lot harder than what it looks like, sometimes I am dissatisfied and sometimes I am contented. If you feel like writing a serial do carry on doing so – but try make each episode as contained as possible – helps when a reader visits your blog.
    But do not stop writing I think FF is a great exercise in writing and helps when writing longer pieces. Maybe one day I’ll squeeze those stories I’ve been dreaming of.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the awesome encouragement, Subroto! I am sure there are lots of folks in our shoes … although, it seems like many of the people I follow have a lot more time for writing than I…

      Like

  6. I have only once tried a serial.. and I realized it’s a true challenge… (actually much more difficult than a single installment).. what I understood was that each part has to be possible to be read alone.. not only you have to progress the general story.. but also complete the single part. Much like a tv-series actually.. but I truly like the way you build suspension and ambiguity in that last sentence…

    Like

  7. Dear Judah, One of the things I have enjoyed with FFF is the diverse style of writing. Your option, has been to write this serial within the short story and I have found it quite interesting how you have connected these. Love it! Nan 🙂

    Like

  8. Ok, I’m going to say one more thing. I see little difference between this ‘serial’ and reoccurring characters that show up in several pieces. However, I like them both! I’ve said my piece. Thanks, Nan 😉

    Like

  9. I’d like to know what she needed and what’s in the box 🙂 As for the flash, well, my own stories are rarely complete and are almost always only a snapshot in time and often feature recurring characters or story lines. So I break pretty much every “rule” when it comes to flash fiction. And yet I continue to do it because I like it and I like doing it this way. My flash serves me better as “seeds” that I can go back and use later to make larger stories if I want to and I suppose that’s a rather selfish way of doing things, for myself rather than for readers… but it is what it is.

    Like

  10. The serial dilemma has hit you, just as it hit me. I’m intrigued by your story, but as others have said, I find it difficult to remember the other parts each week. I’m lucky if I read half of the FF submissions with my time constraints. I wrote four parts to my serial before ending it and starting anew this week. The feedback was helpful in making a decision. Some love serials and some don’t, and I decided my story would be stronger if I wasn’t held back by the FF word limit. I felt I was being unfair to the other participants/readers and alienated quite a few of them. (I’m a bit of a people pleaser.) That being said, I think your story is wonderful and you should continue it as a longer piece, which is what I plan to do with mine. It’s kind of funny, as I never knew there was such a strong opinion of serials until I wrote one. Live and learn, as they say. I do hope you continue to write for FF. 🙂

    Like

Penny for your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s