View Full Version : Does anyone mind if I post a very short story?

08-14-2009, 07:56 AM
This is just something that I wrote very quickly, as it's surely obvious, for no apparent reason other than I have been trying to start a novel, or at least something lengthy and "serious", numerous times and each time failed miserably. It's kind of a joke. Enjoy. Or not.


“I want to write a novel.”
“Is that so? Well, that’s certainly commendable. Have you written anything before?”
“Not really, no.”
“Then how do you know you could write a novel?”
“I feel like I could. I have all these ideas.”
“Oh, yeah? Which ones, for example?”
“Well, I’m not too sure. Just images.”
“I see. That may be a good start for a short story, but do you really feel you could take on writing a whole novel? After all, a typical novel should at least be in the neighborhood of fifty thousand words. Do you have that many words in you to describe these images you’re talking about?”
“Fifty thousand sounds like a lot, sure, but how hard can it be?”
“It depends. I have been a professional writer for over a quarter of a century and have to my credit only a handful of novels, eight I think. Yes. And at times it was not very simple indeed.”
“Why was that?”
“There were various reasons for that. Writer’s block, I guess. And other things.”
“I see. Well, I’m pretty motivated.”
“That’s a good start. What are your influences?”
“I mean, what are some of the authors that you like?”
“Melville? Faulkner? Joyce? Nabokov? Updike?”
“What are your favorite books?”
“Well, I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school.”
“It’s part of the curriculum, isn’t it?”
“I guess. Most kids hated it, I remember, but I really enjoyed it. There was lots of swearing.”
“Yes. Was that the first novel you had ever read?”
“Maybe. I’m not sure. I may have read other stuff when I was younger.”
“So reading Salinger made you want to write your own novel?”
“Oh no, that was years ago. It just sort of came to me one day that I wanted to do this. I think it could turn out okay. Maybe they’ll even make a movie out of it, who knows...”
“An adaptation? Well, what is your novel about?”
“It’s hard to say. I have many different ideas that I’m not sure could actually be combined into a single novel. I’m thinking ahead here. Not a series, no. That’s so overdone. I mean like an oeuvre, you know?”
“Sure. A complete works.”
“Right. I’m imagining these sleek hardcover spines lined up on the shelves of people with my name running vertically down. Or, if the novel should be pretty thick, horizontally. You said you wrote eight novels?”
“And a couple of collections of short stories, yes.”
“So ten books?”
“Give or take.”
“And you’ve been a published author for thirty years?”
“Thereabouts, yes.”
“So that’s like a book every three years, right?”
“Well, on average, yes, but once I had two books out within the same calendar year. There was a long novel that was followed by my first collection.”
“So you published two books in a row and then what?”
“I was writing a very difficult new novel and it took me several years to get it right. I didn’t publish anything else in the meantime.”
“I see. Well, I have tons of ideas floating around my head. Should be enough for ten books, if I portion them out right.”
“Let me hear some of them, your ideas. Do you mind?”
“Well, it would be unprofessional of me to share potential New York Times bestseller-quality ideas with a published author. Conflict of interest. Or something.”
“I understand, of course.”
“Well, I can tell you one.”
“This would take place in the future, in the year 2012 or so. It would be about this crazy totalitarian government’s surveillance system and a guy working for the government and realizing how bad it is and trying to destroy it or escape from it.”
“That sounds a little like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
“I’m pretty sure.”
“Okay, here’s another. This is a lot better, I think. It’s set during a war. There’s all this carnage. A soldier gets captured, but all of a sudden he begins to involuntarily travel though time. Adventures ensue.”
“Hmm, this one sounds sort of like Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut.”
“It does?”
“That’s weird. Well, here’s definitely something original and new. I just came up with this idea a couple of days ago. There is an accident at a secret facility and a deadly disease is released into the atmosphere. Almost everybody on the planet dies, except just a few people, who try to survive and fight against another band of people who are against them.”
“You know, it’s been said that there really aren’t any new ideas anymore. Everything is derivative of everything else that came before it. I bet this conversation we’re having now, there has been a version of it once or twice. I’m sure if you wanted to write a novel, and really set your mind to it, you could. Best of luck.”
“Thanks. I was also thinking about this—”
“It was a pleasure to talk.”

August 14, 2009


08-14-2009, 11:19 AM
That was not altogether unamusing, pablo. Clearly, you do a pretty good job with dialogue.

May I ask, have you written down the ideas...the images in your head? Ok, so you don't have the details. You might not have any beginnings or ends in mind. (or maybe you have only beginnings and ends) But if you sit down and just flesh out some of the scenes in your mind you could find yourself connecting the dots and before you know it you could have a decent outline...maybe even the 1st draft of your novel.

Now, if I could just follow my own advice. :lol:

08-14-2009, 01:01 PM
“Right. I’m imagining these sleek hardcover spines lined up on the shelves of people with my name running vertically down. Or, if the novel should be pretty thick, horizontally."


08-14-2009, 03:13 PM
very clever:P

08-14-2009, 09:17 PM
I'm glad you guys got a few chuckles out of it.

As far as my real ideas, I started writing two different stories within the last year or so and neither time got very far. My goal was to make a science fiction story and yet it not be science fiction. If that makes sense. I wanted them to be surreal if anything. For example, my latest idea was to have American journalists stranded in war-torn Afghanistan. Sort of a pedestrian plot nowadays but my twist on it was that all this takes place in the summer and out of nowhere they get hit with a huge snow storm (a desert storm, haha), a blizzard that turns the desert into the North Pole. And the rest of the story is about them trying to survive.

I realized early on (page two) that I needed to do much more research then I had (none). So for now it's in this state still...

08-15-2009, 03:39 AM
I really liked the story! :D

Too cool! :cool:

08-15-2009, 05:34 AM
I liked the story, but shouldn't there be a poll attached to the thread considering how you named it? :P

08-15-2009, 08:01 AM
my twist on it was that all this takes place in the summer and out of nowhere they get hit with a huge snow storm (a desert storm, haha), a blizzard that turns the desert into the North Pole. And the rest of the story is about them trying to survive. Hey thats a good idea. The fact that they would have to figure out how to survive winter conditions with desert gear could provide a whole lot of drama alone. I'm sure survivors' accounts of Napoleon and Hitler's invasions of Russia could provide some good material for that. How were you going to explain the weather change?

08-15-2009, 09:24 AM
How were you going to explain the weather change?

I wasn't :evil:

08-15-2009, 01:36 PM
A freon bomb?

08-17-2009, 04:58 AM
How were you going to explain the weather change?

I wasn't :evil: Ahhhh...I see. Slippery slope you're treading, pablo. But you might just make up to the top if you do it right.

08-25-2009, 11:04 PM
bears have enjoyed the story immensely! http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/bear4bis.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/bear4bis.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/bear4bis.gif

we have preciously little humour/satire here, everybody is so deadly serious most of the time

pablo: I hope you will post more stories in the future, how about changing the title of this thread?

08-27-2009, 09:18 AM
Glad you enjoyed it, Jean. I'm honored that it's earned three pandas. I haven't written anything in ages, and this was very spur of the moment. Just opened Word and started typing. Hopefully I can post something else. As far as the thread title, I don't think that's up to me anymore; one would have to be a mod, I think.

08-27-2009, 11:44 PM
yes, but it's entirely up to you to suggest a new title

you see, bears are cunning, they plan for the future... they hope you will post more stories, and if the title of this thread suggests that it might contain more than one, it will put you under some obligation to write more, and more, and more...

(like: "Does anyone mind if I post a lot of short, long and medium-size stories?" - or any other title that comes to mind. But really, "a very short story" sounds way too final)


08-28-2009, 01:01 PM
FWIW - I find dialogue some of the hardest stuff to write and you've just done an entire piece with nothing but :) I second the comments above - there's definitely some humour there and it feels easy and natural which is perfect.

On the subject of writing something longer, I always found it really difficult and recently a friend set me a challenge: she gave me three words and told me to go for it. Weirdly (and no-one was more surprised than me) an idea popped into my head pretty much complete, ok it was only a couple of pages but for me that was a lot! Two challenges later and the current result is sat at just over 5000 words with maybe another 1000 to go to finish it :rock:

So you just need someone to set you a challenge and see what happens :D

08-31-2009, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the kind words, smcicr, and Jean, I promise to post something new sometime in the not too distant future.

03-18-2010, 02:50 PM
Well I know I promised to post something, and a long time ago, but the truth is I haven't felt like writing anything. However, while going through my old files, I did stumble upon several short stories that I wrote in mid-1990s when I was between fifteen and seventeen or so. I just re-read a few and here's one that's not too bad, I feel, but it is very short, more like a scene or a sketch. Enjoy!


“The Devil’s boots don’t creak.” —Scottish proverb

Alice woke up from her colorful dreams—the lightning woke her up—and now she just lay on her bed with the blanket on the side, listening to the heavy rainfall. She turned her head over to her night table that was crowded with stuffed animals, and looked at the digital clock that shone red light in the dark. The time was 1:17 AM. If she wouldn’t be sleeping soon, she’d be cranky getting up in the morning to school.

But she couldn’t sleep. She thought about counting sheep, but when the sheep appeared in her mind, Alice thought, This is silly... I’ll never be able to sleep now. Another bolt of lightning struck the air and it sounded as if the rain had doubled its speed of falling. Alice thought she was dozing off, but she returned to reality with another terrifying sound of the lightning and thunder.

She was scared. She didn’t know why, but she was. “I can’t be afraid of the lightning,” Alice said aloud, as if there was another person in the room to listen to her. “Come on, Alice, you’re not a little baby, you’re fifteen. Get a hold of yourself. There’s nothing to be scared of... it’s just rain and lightning and thunder. No big deal. So, sleep... You have to wake up early tomorrow.” But those words of encouragement easily disintegrated with another strike of the lightning.

The sound of the rain was horrifying. It had that ominous tone and Alice’s heart was racing now. “It’s just rain... It’s just rain...” she kept on whispering, trying to calm herself down, but doing a poor job of that.

As the storm quieted for a moment, Alice thought she heard something in the rain, someone’s voice. She concentrated, but all she heard was rain hitting her window. It could have been her parents upstairs. No, there it is again... It’s definitely coming from the outside, from the rain.

Alice got out of the bed and looked into the window. All she could see was absolute blackness. She saw the black drops on her window constructing intricate images, and she could hear the sound of rain... but that was all. Outside it was like a black hole.

When the lightning ripped the air again, Alice thought she saw something just by her window move. Something small. She waited for another bolt of lightning to look at that something in the light of the flash.

The lightning did strike again, and Alice saw the something by her window. It was a kitten. She was sure of that. “The poor thing’s probably cold and lost and it’s crying for help,” Alice said to the window.

Now she heard clearly the kitten’s meow. It sounded so miserable, so pitiful, and frightened, that it made Alice feel like she had to rescue the little pet.

She looked back at the night table’s clock. It was 2:47 AM. Time flies, Alice thought, and looked back to the window. As the lightning struck again, Alice saw the kitten had moved away from the window a little, but still was calling her. The kitten’s voice was very piteous.

Alice opened her window and called out into the storm, “Kitty-kitty! Come here!” Alice’s nightgown got wet the moment she looked out the window. The rain was heavy.

Another meow came from the darkness; the little kitten mustn’t have heard her. Alice yelled for the kitten again, but got a meow in response, which sounded just a little bit more away. Why is it moving away? Alice thought. It must be scared...

She looked at the open window, felt the carpet by the window was soaked, and looked again into the darkness of the night. The storm was getting heavier.

“Hey, kitty?”


Since Alice’s bedroom was on the ground level, she just got out of the room through the window and into the cold, wet, and dark night. It was extremely windy, and all Alice had on was her nightgown and panties. She was wet and cold, her feet were covered with mud now, and she was looking for the kitten.

When the lightning brightened the night again, Alice saw the kitten sitting a couple of feet away from her.

“Oh, you poor, little thing...” Alice said, and moved toward the kitten, but as she was nearing it, the kitten stood up, and started to walk away. “Where are you going?” Alice said, but the kitten did not seem to hear her, and kept on walking. Then it stopped and looked at her.

Meow, it said.

“I’m not going to run after you just to save you from dying, you know,” Alice told the kitten as if it understood her. “Are you afraid of me? There’s nothing to be afraid of, I won’t hurt you.” Alice walked over to the little kitten, and it moved away from her. “Is it the rain? I know it’s scary and all, but you have to let me take you inside.”

Alice was all wet now, but hadn’t noticed. She was concerned about the poor, little kitten. As the thunder growled again, Alice went after the kitten, which was still running away from her, and did not let Alice approach itself.

“Come here, kitty! You’re going to freeze to death, don’t you understand?” Alice cried out through the blaring of rain and lightning.

It was after three in the morning now, but for Alice (who didn’t have a dry spot on her body, with her feet covered in mud) the time did not matter as much as saving the kitten. The kitten called from the storm once more, and Alice saw it walk away. Stupid cat’s going to get itself killed in this kind of weather... Alice thought, and started out for the kitten.

In five or so minutes, Alice was far from her house, still chasing the little kitten. The storm had gotten worse.

At about four o’clock in the morning Alice and the kitten came near the end of the town, and the kitten walked into the deep woods that went on for miles, as far as Alice knew. But that did not bother her. On the contrary, she thought it’d be easier to catch the kitten in the forest. She walked into the dark woods after the kitten, absolutely unaware of the time, and her being wet and cold and covered up to the knees in mud.

Alice looked for the kitten in the woods, but it wasn’t there. She went in deeper and called it, but got no meow. She was calling it and looking for it, going deeper into the endless rows of trees, but the kitten did not respond.

Then, the storm quieted down. The rain stopped, and there was only a vague sound of the thunder coming from far away. The sun was starting to rise at the horizon; at first it was just a blood-red stain in the East, then the sun itself got out from the horizon, sending its rays over to the earth. A rainbow, just a small piece of it, was in the middle of the sky, and the water on the trees and the grass and everything else looked like little, beautiful diamonds.

And Alice never came home.

03-22-2010, 10:09 AM
That was dark and twisted and sad. It made me wonder if the kitten was luring Alice somewhere. It could certainly be something you could expound on if you wanted to, pablo.

03-22-2010, 11:03 AM
Well, that was the idea, Hannah, thus the proverb at the beginning :evil:

03-24-2010, 02:17 PM
very nice. I didn't even notice until you pointed it out.

05-16-2010, 11:52 PM
that was great. it clearly illustrates a point that King made in "On Writing". If you haven't read enough, you won't know what's already been written and you can't avoid writing something that someone else has probably already written better.

05-26-2010, 03:01 PM
I'm commenting on the first story. I haven't read the second one yet. The dialog was great. it was very realistic. It gave me a sense that this conversation was real. It conveys it's point very well, I think. If you don't read enough, how can your write work that's original? It was also a point that King made in "On Writing". Thanks for posting.

08-25-2010, 07:43 AM
I'd forgotten all about this thread. Thanks for the kind words, woodpryan.