Tag Archives: Fiction

Broken Toys – A Story

[audio:http://www.julieduffy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BrokenToys.mp3|titles=Broken Toys – A Story by Julie Duffy]

This is today’s StoryADay story. I enjoyed it so much I recorded it too. You can play it above, or right-click here to save the mp3 file.

Image: emmajane

See John.

See John laugh.

See John laugh and smile.

See John laugh and smile and touch his wife Jane on the elbow.

See John laugh and smile and touch Jane on the elbow and look into Jane’s eyes.

See Jane smile.

See John walk.

See John walk around the party.

See John mingle.

There is Alice.

Alice is watching John.

See Alice frown.

Here comes Mary.

Mary walks to the bedroom.

See John watch Mary.

John and Alice look at Jane.

See Jane talk.

See Jane laugh.

Jane does not see John or Alice or Mary.

See John walk to the bedroom.

Walk John, walk.

See Alice refill her glass.

Drink Alice, drink.

Where is John?

Where is Mary?

Drink Alice, drink.

Alice sees Jane.

Alice walks to Jane.

See Alice speak.

Jane frowns.

See Jane shake her head.

See Alice lean too close.

See Jane push Alice.

Alice grabs Janes arm.

Jane and Alice walk to the bedroom.

Jane runs out of the house.

Run Jane, run.

See John run out of the house.

(Good luck, John.)

Alice is in the kitchen.

See Alice’s mascara run.

Listen! A car door slams.

A man says a bad word.

Hear the engine roar.

Mary walks to the back porch.

See Mary light a cigarette.

Smoke Mary, smoke.

The Fourth Egg

Bonnie heard the front door of the farmhouse slam shut, the murmur of voices, a pause, then Frank’s heavy tread on the stairs. She knew she should get up and wash her face, but she couldn’t move. Another sob shook her and she curled into a tighter ball on the bed.

“Bonnie?” Frank appeared in the doorway. “Everything OK?”

He took one look at her, curled on the bed, sobbing, and rushed to her side.

“Bonnie! What is it? You didn’t…? Is it the baby?”

Bonnie buried her face in the pillows and shook her head. One hand crept to her still-flat belly.

“Then what’re you doing, carrying on like this?”

Bonnie shook her head again, but began to pull herself upright. She gulped down two steadying breaths. Still, her voice wavered when she spoke.

“Maggie’s…Maggie’s eggs,” she began.

“Yeah,” Frank smiled, glad to talk about something he understood. “She showed me. Three rooster, huh? She’ll have to trade them.”

Maggie, their eldest at 5, was raising chicks for her first year in 4H. She and Babs, the toddler, had been waiting at the window all afternoon for daddy to come home, so they could tell him the eggs had hatched, nearly all of them.

“She was pretty excited,” Frank said. His eyes never left Bonnie’s face.

Bonnie, crying, was something he didn’t have words to deal with. In six years of married life there had been nothing to hint that it was possible for Bonnie to cry. Even in the darkest days, after the last baby, Bonnie had stayed strong. Stronger than him, truth be told. There were crops coming in now that he was astonished to reflect had been watered by his own tears for the tiny transparent creature he had buried behind the barn, protected– God knows why– by a big flat stone he had dug out of the fallow field.

Bonnie was sitting now, wiping her face with her ever-present handkerchief. She sat, poker-straight, and stared at her shoes, not at her husband.

“It’s so stupid,” she said. “I’m Secretary of the 4H Club, for crying out loud. I been raising and slaughtering animals since I was Maggie’s age!”

She shook her head again.

Frank opened his mouth to speak and then, unaccountably, closed it again. He waited. Bonnie stood up and moved to the mirror. She picked up her large, silver-backed hairbrush and began to smooth out the curls that had sprung up on her head while she lay on the bed; a lifelong battle. Her eyes in the reflection met Frank’s gaze for just a moment and then flicked back to her hair.

“It was the darned fourth egg,” she said. “It was peeping all morning and its big brothers all gathered around, poking at it and watching it the way they do.”

Bonnie set her brush down on the oak dresser.

“It was weak, but it punched through, all the way around in a circle. We were waiting for it to burst through.” She turned sharply towards the bed again, still not looking at Frank.

“And it just gave up.”

Bonnie started fluffing pillows as she talked, tugging blankets straight, shooing Frank off the bed with a one-two flap of the hand.

“It just stopped!” Tug.

“And it never came out!” Tuck.

“It just quit on us!” Punch.

Bonnie stroked the neatened blankets one more time.

“It caught me sideways,” she said, risking a quick glance at Frank.

“It don’t mean nothing,” he said from across the high, wooden bed.

“I know it,” she said.

“It don’t mean a goddamn thing!”

“I know it,” she repeated, softer now.

“I’ll get rid of it,” Frank said. He turned and left their room.

Bonnie’s hand touched her belly for  a moment before she snatched it away.

From the window at the top of the stairs she saw Frank, something cradled in his strong, farmer’s hands, stride across the yard and turn the corner to the space behind the big barn.

A Week of Stories From One (Stolen) Idea

Is your story refusing to sing? Are you sick of the sound of your own prose?

There are times when every (good) writer feels this way. It could be a moment of great despair, but it could also be an opportunity to try something new.

Continue reading

Creative Writing Mentors

There are books that I enjoy and there are books that I love.

The ones that I love tend to be the onest that make me impatient to put down the book and pick up a pen. (Then I’m torn because I don’twant to stop reading…)

When I want to do some creative writing I tend to dip into a piece by one of my favourite authors (sometimes that can be a TV show or a movie) to get that fix, before I start.

My “Get Jazzed About Writing” superstars are 1:

Douglas Adams – his mind is so brilliant an dhis bvoice so unique that it could seem intimidating. But reading his writing (fiction or non-fiction) makes me so happy that I want to do the same for other readers.

Joss Whedon – (TV/movie writer) because of his storytelling skills and unique voice. He creates worlds that feel real, characters that you can love, puts funny and unexpected lines in their mouths, and then creates storylines that stay absolutely true to themselves, even if it means sacrificing a beloved character or a happy ending. Everytime I find myself sobbing “Damn you, Wedon, I HATE you!” I know that I want to be able to tell stories as well as he does.

Neil Gaiman – For language and heroes and uniqueness, and a bright shining optimism about human nature, lurking amidst the demons and horror, the creepiness and the gore.

Terry Pratchett – for biting satire and observation of humanity and for a way with language for which I would gladly gnaw off my own legs below the knee (but no higher).

Elizabeth Peters – for sheer fun, heroic characters, historical situations and suspense.

Agatha Christie – for writing skill, language and absolute integrity between characters: everyone speaks, moves and acts as an individual.

John O’Hara – his short stories about life in a fictional Pennsylvania town really appeal to me; and seem like a great blueprint for turning your own life experiences into fiction (one story simply follows a boy as he walks to his fatehr’s office to show him his new riding clothes, but it is absolutely gripping, and we learn a ton about the boy, his father, the town, the era; all in one very short, very tight scene.)

Ray Bradbury – the master of the “what if?” What if you grew up in a town where rocketrs to the moon were as common as airliners are to us? What if the Loch Ness Monster was real? What if your husband piloted spaceships for a living, and it was a dangerous job? What if books were banned?

What are your ‘get jazzed about writing’ inspirations?

  1. The links on this page are links to my affiliate account at Amazon

What Are Your Creative Writing Inspiration Sources

I’m going to write A Story A Day in May. Dare to join me?

There are books that I enjoy and there are books that I love.

The ones that I love tend to be the ones that make me impatient to put down the book and pick up a pen. (Then I’m torn because I don’t want to stop reading…)

When I want to do some creative writing I tend to dip into a piece by one of my favourite authors (sometimes that can be a TV show or a movie) to get that fix, before I start.

My “Get Jazzed About Writing” superstars are 1:

Douglas Adams – his mind is so brilliant and his voice so unique that it could seem intimidating. But reading his writing (fiction or non-fiction) makes me so happy that I want to do the same for other readers.

Joss Whedon – (TV/movie writer) because of his storytelling skills and unique voice. He creates worlds that feel real, characters that you can love, puts funny and unexpected lines in their mouths, and then creates story-lines that stay absolutely true to themselves, even if it means sacrificing a beloved character or a happy ending. Every time I find myself sobbing “Damn you, Whedon, I HATE you!” I know that I want to be able to tell stories as well as he does.

Neil Gaiman – For language and heroes and uniqueness, and a bright shining optimism about human nature, lurking amidst the demons and horror, the creepiness and the gore.

Terry Pratchett – for biting satire and observation of humanity and for a way with language for which I would gladly gnaw off my own legs below the knee (but no higher).

Elizabeth Peters – for sheer fun, heroic characters, historical situations and suspense.

Agatha Christie – for writing skill, language and absolute integrity between characters: everyone speaks, moves and acts as an individual.

John O’Hara – his short stories about life in a fictional Pennsylvania town really appeal to me; and seem like a great blueprint for turning your own life experiences into fiction (one story simply follows a boy as he walks to his father’s office to show him his new riding clothes, but it is absolutely gripping, and we learn a ton about the boy, his father, the town, the era; all in one very short, very tight scene.)

Ray Bradbury – the master of the “what if?” What if you grew up in a town where rockets to the moon were as common as airliners are to us? What if the Loch Ness Monster was real? What if your husband piloted spaceships for a living, and it was a dangerous job? What if books were banned?

What are your ‘get jazzed about writing’ inspirations?

  1. The links on this page are links to my affiliate account at Amazon