Friday Fictioneers – Say it with flowers

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

Say it with flowers, they urged—if you don’t have the words to speak your heart, use the language of blooms. But I lack the insight to begin this conversation of coded blossom.

A hyacinth, apparently, means “Your loveliness is charming”, and a red tulip, “I declare my love”. If she sent back a poppy, it would warn “I am not free”, while a pink would signal “Yes”.

The florist is dumbfounded when I ask how to code, “I’d enjoy a dalliance but am frightened by commitment.”

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Sure and Certain Hope

PHOTO PROMPT © John Nixon

She was just so achingly beautiful, standing in the window wearing bridal white. And I’d been so alone since Martha died. You can understand what happened.

Purchase proved unaffordable, so I rented her by the night. Of course, I fell in love and couldn’t bear to be without her. Perhaps you’ll say I’m  a foolish old man, but I believe she loved me too.

Before dawn, I bundled my darling into the car and headed north. Headed where? Gretna Green maybe? This was never going to work—at start of business, she deactivated.

Perhaps, a hacker?

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Fireworks

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The fireworks stopped, the last silver starburst fading over the water. And then there was blackness. She wanted the display to continue. It was pretty, and she didn’t like the nothingness.

“Go on,” she ordered. “Don’t stop. I want more.”

The darkness and the silence continued.

Now came anger. “Stupid. Unnecessary. Do more.”

And next, contrition. “I’m sorry. Really, I can be better. Tell me what you want.”

At last, she said. “I am alone. Show me please, how do I get to shore?”

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Smoke That Thunders

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

She was about to make one of her observations. “So cute! They call this the Smoke That Thunders, instead of waterfall. Primitive people are closer to the spirits.”

Nothing cowed her. Not even the river guide who’d asked if we were local. “No, silly,” she’d said, laughing. “We travelled here many hours in the great silver bird. Don’t you know your neighbours? Zimbabwe? Botswana?”

With great dignity, he’d reached down, pulled out a fish, and asked her the name. “No? Tigerfish. And this? Tilapia. Perhaps we all have our areas of ignorance.”

Atop the falls, I contemplated a little shove.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Belinda’s Window

PHOTO PROMPT © Lisa Fox

“But someone will notice.” Harvey’s tremolo betrayed his agitation.

Tim waved a dismissive hand. Nobody, he explained, ever went into the overgrown back courtyard.

This is how it had been between them since they were boys, Tim bold and buccaneering, Harvey practical and cautious.

They brought the giant periscope in pieces, assembling it in the courtyard until it reached Belinda’s window. Harvey took first peek.

“Curtains,” he moaned. “We didn’t reckon on those.”

Tim beamed. “Moths,” he said. “We’re going to need moths.”

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Worm i’ the Bud

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

There’s a dot coming up the valley path, wobbling as it travels. No wait, two dots very close together. That will be Miss Maisy, leaning on her granddaughter. I can tell everyone in the world by their walk, that’s how well I know them. And love them.

Miss Maisy will be wanting pineapple, sweet and juicy, and mine are the best—never a woody bit. She’ll have rubber to trade—I see the burden under which the young girl struggles. Maybe it would be a kindness to introduce them to cash money.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Post-It

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It wasn’t very good. The glue stuck, but came loose again. In frustration, Spencer slapped the test paper to his forehead and slumped. After five minutes, the paper fluttered to his desk.

Hal laughed, but not unkindly. “Not exactly the super-adhesive we’re after, is it, Spencer? Back to the drawing board, eh?”

Spencer smacked the paper against the wall. And it stuck again. Hmm: a low-tack, pressure-activated, reusable glue.

He had a solution. Now he just needed to find the problem.

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I’ve taken a leaf out of Rochelle’s book this week. For more on Spencer Silver, the inventor of the Post-It Note, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-it_Note,  Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Smartarse

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

She was so seductively erudite, my skin prickled. The ferry pitched and buffeted through the waves as we sank deeper under each other’s spell.

The thing had begun leaning over the rail and watching the dolphins—I’d made a casual comment about the island to my neighbour. Of course, she knew its entire history. And everything about dolphins.

By the time we reached anthropology, I was in love.

“Are you interested in anthropology?” she asked, “I have 1.5 metres of anthropology on my bookshelf.”

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Slight

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

It was a slight—he recognised that. And this merited anger, even reprisal. 

The afternoon continued lazy—wind ruffling the grass like a stroked dog, the insects’ bass and the birds’ trill stitching a pattern into the dome of the sky.

Wrath filled his glass, and he drank. Was her offence sufficient for an hour’s rejection? Or a screeching, door-slamming walkout? In the drowse and the piercing sunshine, it felt hard to calibrate. A slick bead of sweat licked his chest.

He couldn’t afford to lose her. That much was certain. So, a bit of a sulk, probably, then flowers.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

165. How to write sexual attraction

Writing sex is hard, as I said in a previous post, because the palette of actions is so limited. But writing attraction (the emotions and behaviours that precede sex) is easy because you have a wide range of choices, most of which allow you to fill out the reader’s sense of the character and push the plot forward.

  • Naïve or unreliable responses. Your character may be unaware of what is happening to her, though you can make the reader aware. Other characters may also clearly see the attraction, including jealous partners.
  • Fighting the attraction. Related to the first, your character may fight the sensations and thoughts that come with her attraction. She may deny or be disgusted by the attraction (attraction needn’t be experienced by a character as a positive thing).
  • Dangerous things threaten. Again, related to the point before, there may be strong plot consequences of the attraction that lead your characters to fight against it
  • Fast or slow. The attraction may be something that builds slowly during the course of the story or it may become a tension that threatens to  boil over.

So how do you write it?

Attraction manifests both physically and mentally:

  • Physical sensations may include a heightened awareness of the other person, including eyes lingering on them (especially on mouth and lips, as well as breasts and pecs, buttocks and bulges) and responses to their scent. There will also be a strong reaction to any physical contact. There will be wetness and erections. And, of course, the old standby of romantic fiction, the palpitating heart
  • Mental and emotional responses include day-dreaming about the other person, a sense of being intensely in the present when with the desired one (time stops), and bringing up the other person in conversation without any appropriate reason (obsession). Your characters may feel a sense of having always known each other. They may feel a sense of being perfectly matched. In the fighting the attraction scenario, there may also be anxiety or fear.

Here are some tricks:

  • Make the attraction immediate and powerful when the characters first meet.
  • Tease your reader. Vary the tension
  • Make the chemistry stronger each time the characters are together.
  • Use descriptive details (such as awareness of the texture of things touched) that show the character’s heightened awareness
  • You can have one or both characters deny and fight the attraction, especially where there are dangerous consequences.
  • The old romantic trope of something tearing the characters apart before consummation always works well.
  • Ensure your characters behave differently with each other than they do with other people