The past six months, I've finished two shorter and three fairly longish stories. In the order in which they were finished, the longer stories tallied 6500, 7000, and 8500 words.

While I was writing the last two stories, I would often write some flash fictions as little warm-ups for the day's work. When I was really not wanting to face what I had to write on a particular day--because it involved some summary I did not know how or want to write--I would spend quite a bit of time working on little stories. Specifically, I was trying to write something to submit to Opium Magazine's latest Shya Scanlon Seven-Line Story Contest. I wrote about seven or eight seven-line stories, and eventually submitted one, though I'm still not sure I like it all that much. What follows below is one of my throwaway attempts, though I've added some paragraph breaks, because I like it better that way.
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Our Move to the Suburbs

The neighbors said tomato plants were an impossibility. “Don’t even try,” they said.

Our hands twitched for a spade and some seeds. An impossibility? Go to hell.

They must have read the defiance on our faces. “Seriously,” they said. “An impossibility.”

They’d tried. They’d planted seeds, and those seeds had grown into vines, and those vines had sprouted tomatoes—enormous, red, and perfect. And then the rats had come.

“You’ve never seen so many rats,” they said.

We decided we would plant our seeds at night, and water them at night, all summer long. We would watch the plants grow, bit by leafy bit, until the tomatoes hung plump from the vines. We would wait for whatever might come to come.


Lisa said...

I like it, but what do I know?!

Scott Garson said...

i did a few of those too, 7 liners. i never did send one to opium, but i've been having good luck w/ them anyway. I like the idea that you can sit down to write and story and just write one, no matter what's in your head...

Donna said...

I like it, but...

do tomato plants really attract rats? Please, I have to know.

Chad Simpson said...

Donna--My friend and his wife had pretty much this exact conversation when they moved into a new house in Indianapolis. I think rats going after tomato plants is something of an anomaly, but it apparently wasn't in this particular neighborhood. The warning not to plant tomatoes was one of the first things the neighbors said to them. Weird, no?

Donna said...

Boy, am I ever glad I got out of Indianapolis before I planted tomatoes.

Weird indeed!