Friday, September 9, 2011

First Campaign Challenge and Blog Award

For the first challenge as a part of the Writers' Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, we were asked to do the following:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


So that's what I did. Behold:
The door swung open as Mrs. Fawcett took the rattling tea service out to the parlor. Bright bursts of laughter invaded the kitchen before the door cut it off, swinging back on well-oiled hinges.

Kitty caught the sickly-sweet whiff of roses from the funeral home bouquets, set out like trophies in the hall. They would need to throw them out, but Madam enjoyed her life as a widow too much to destroy the evidence just yet.

Kitty couldn’t blame her. The Master was not well-loved in life, nor would he be sorely missed in death. The increase of afternoon teas was the only impact his death had below stairs. But talk of gambling debts and unrealized investments made Kitty wonder just how secure her placement at Bethany manor was.

She had gotten better at interpreting Madam’s imperious tone, knew how to avoid the son’s roving hands, and which cook didn’t mind her sneaking a bite here and there. She didn’t want to start over. Not again.

Mrs. Fawcett pushed back into the kitchen with a look that said “Mind yourself, Kitty.” The only thing she knew how to do.

More laughter. More roses.

Kitty shuddered as the door swung shut.
200 words exactly. Boo-yah!

***
Also, I learned today that Gail Shepherd who blogs at Paradoxy gave me the Versatile Blogger Award. I met Gail through the campaign and have been impressed with her series of interviews with other writers. Thanks so much for the award, Gail!


In accepting the award, I must share seven random facts about moi:
  • I'm a big fan of tennis and I've been trying to catch US Open matches this week in between my writing and reading time.
  • I have a freckle smack dab on top of my right foot. Growing up, my parents used to take a marker and put a polka dot in the shoe intended for my right foot, so I'd know which one went on which foot -- just connect the dots. I contend that this is why I still have trouble distinguishing between right and left today.
  • I got a little verklempt last week when I went to my local Borders to buy books for the last time. I've been going there since middle school and have fond memories of the place despite all that's happened.
  • I tripped getting out of the limo at prom. I tripped and nearly fell on my first date with my now-husband. I tripped and fell on a run with my dog last year. I fell off the sidewalk walking around the neighborhood with my husband and my dog. Clumsiness is a constant in my life. The good news is I know how to fall without hurting myself. Usually.
  • I love spicy food. Not so hot I can't feel my tongue -- no hot wing eating contests for me -- but I love a little heat and bold flavors in my food. So bring on Mexican and Thai food.
  • I'm allergic to cats. The only thing that I know of that I'm allergic to.
  • I have never broken a bone in my body. Pretty amazing given #4. Let's hope it stays that way.
Thanks again for the award, Gail!

Happy writing!

19 comments:

Lori M. Lee said...

Oh, I looooove all the atmosphere and setting and character you somehow managed to squeeze in there. So good!

And LOL at the clumsiness XD I totally sympathize. Can't go anywhere without running into something.

Sonia Lal said...

You packed a lot into 200 words! Hope she is alright.

Mary Mary said...

I liked this. It has a little bit of old-stuffy-mystery to it. I'm expecting something sinister to happen in this family! Nice entry!

Sophia Chang said...

THAT is hilarious
I tend to bang my hands, wrists, hips, knees, any body part that sticks out into things all the time.

Steph Schmidt said...

Ooo that bit had a feel of Downton Abby! I hope you're going to keep going with that story because it sounds fantastic!

I use to have freckles on my left arm in the shape of an L growing up. I still can't tell my left from my right without looking (discretely) at my freckles. The tricks are great when you're a kid but it's hard growing out of them.

bridgetstraub.com said...

This was very visual. nicely done. Mine is #72

Gail Shepherd said...

My pleasure, Blue. Glad we met!

Shelley Koon said...

"The increase of afternoon teas was the only impact his death had below stairs"

This line says all we need to know about the deceased - love it! Great entry - enjoyed it.

N.Scott said...

Well written.

Alica McKenna Johnson said...

Great story

Trisha said...

Loved your story - good work! Your writing's very nice. :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Very nice writing. It had a classic feel to it.

Mine is #291: http://thewarriormuse.blogspot.com/2011/09/first-campaign-challenge-flash-fiction.html

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Well done on your story! I could smell the flowers....

Congratulations on the award. :)

Have a great week!

David Powers King said...

Fantastic descriptions! I felt immersed in your scene. I'd read more into this character.

Great job! :)

Rebecca Kiel said...

Congratulations on your award. I love tennis too!

Margo Berendsen said...

I really like this writing. You made me feel like I was in the hands of a professional story teller. Love the bouqets set out like trophies! - plus you managed to fit in all sorts of plot questions, not to mention emotions, into a very short intriguing scene. I'm your first-cut judge, you are off to the next round.

Jolene said...

Sooo cool! I LOVE the prom story! And I'm in the no-bones-broken club with you :) Ooh, and big congrats on the award!

Nick Hight said...

Nice work on the award! I love your character too. She sounds very self-confident and self-aware. I'd love to learn more about her.

I'm #383, http://bit.ly/jiQk8x :)

Bryce Daniels said...

"Madam enjoyed her life as a widow too much to destroy the evidence just yet."

LOVED this phrase. Very good job of characterization in a few words.

Hi from a fellow campaigner, and your newest follower. Again, great piece!

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