FSF / 100WCGU: “Storm Warning”

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100 Word Challenge for Grown-UpsI’m doing another double-up of writing prompts this week (because I’m not-so-secretly a masochist, I guess): for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt (“RINGING“), and Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups prompt (…the extreme weather meant…., week 74). Since we’re to incorporate this specific phrase in Julia’s prompt, we’re allowed to go to 104 words, as opposed to the usual 100; Lillie’s guideline, as always, is to write the story in five sentences.

We’re suffering from some extreme weather of our own out here, with temperatures dropping well into the teens (that’s c-c-c-cold, for us), so my head went instantly to winter storm conditions, of which I have my fair share of personal experience. Of course, there are all kinds of storms….

“Storm Warning”

Robert Salmon - Storm at sea

Robert Salmon (1775-circa 1851), via Wikimedia Commons [public domain]

Fixing his hair, he tested some looks in the mirror (charming, serious, sly), finally settling on simple hopefulness, appropriate for the occasion.

Any moment, now, she’d stagger in, drenched and pale from fatigue, then become delightfully surprised by his quaint, candlelit effort…even if those candles were swiftly burning away. The extreme weather meant the whole lifeboat squad was out tonight, but they’d be back soon, and he’d have her to himself, tonight, and forever.

A knock; it wasn’t her, but her captain, looking drenched, pale: “You’d best sit down, son….”

He stumbled, the rest of the words drowning in the ringing in his head.

***

Sorry to go so dark, here. I wrote several versions of this post, and they were all similarly grim. I suppose the prompts just led me down that road.

Incidentally, does anyone else write multiple efforts for these prompts, until the “right one” clicks? If not (or if so), how did the extreme weather affect you, this week? Did you ring another kind of bell? Feel free to let me know!

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35 thoughts on “FSF / 100WCGU: “Storm Warning”

  1. Love what you wrote, really captured a moment. I don’t write multiple efforts for the prompts, I just pick something and go with it, and then just tweak it a bit till I’m happy. I only ever do the 100 word one through Limebird, haven’t tried any others.

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    • Thanks, Vanessa. It doesn’t compare to yours, of course, but I couldn’t let the week go by without at least giving it a shot. 🙂

      I don’t often write multiple efforts, but sometimes I’m just not happy with what’s on the page, so I start again. I must have tried this one at least four times! (And, now, looking over this one, I’m not certain I’m crazy about it, either! LOL!)

      I hope you continue to do the 100WCGU through Limebird. I always like seeing all the different interpretations. 🙂

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  2. This one sent chills through me. It’s one that you just know isn’t going to end happily, and you almost want to stop reading so the bad thing doesn’t happen, but your quality of writing makes you read on to the end.

    On writing… I never write and discard efforts – I’m too lazy for that! I sometimes write them in my head first, and then I can reject anything I don’t like before I commit to paper 🙂

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    • Thanks for the kind words, Sally-Jayne. I rather wish I had been able to do something nicer. Maybe next week. 🙂

      I have to write everything down, even if I know I’m going to scrap it later. I’m just a hoard, that way. 😀

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  3. An excellent combining of the two prompt requirements. You set this bittersweet scene up well, and our hearts fell with disappointment just as his was crushed. Well done!

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  4. That was so sad. When you described the lifeboat squad, my heart sank because I suspected what was coming. But as Sally-Jayne said, the quality of your writing keeps the reader going. I normally stay away from sad endings (too many in the real world), so a writer who can keep me with such a story like you did is doing a great job. 🙂

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    • Thanks, JM!

      I usually don’t go dark in this way; more often than not, I go for silly. It’s surprising how much this one has resonated with commenters. I briefly considered going dark more often, for the hits…but that would go against my nature, eventually. 🙂

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  5. Oh, I wasn’t prepared for the sad ending. Mainly because mostly what I read of yours is upbeat.

    What I really like about the challenges is that they force me to write something I normally wouldn’t. I have tried all kinds of genres, and it felt safe to do it in 100 words or less, rather than attempting a full-blown novel.

    I had to take some time off from the challenges though. I may have mentioned it before. But I like seeing what everyone else is doing with them. I especially look forward to yours, because I can tell you really put heart, mind, and soul into each one. Yours aren’t thrown together like some that I have read!

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    • Thank you, Kate. 🙂

      I do prefer staying light, and I tried a couple of different perspectives and plots. They were all dark, though. It’s one reason I’m glad to click around to see what others do, how we can all make different stories from a single prompt.

      I completely understand about stepping back from the challenges. As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I think they’re designed more for people who enjoy writing but need an impetus to put pen to paper, not so much for those of us working on larger projects. They’re fun (the challenges), but they can distract me from my other stories. The main reason I keep doing them is so I don’t lose touch with my brevity skills. 😀

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  6. Nothing wrong with dark. If there were, I’d be out a long time ago.
    While it’s not something you do very often I don’t think, you still do it very well, and this is a prime example. The utter crushing of the protagonist’s (whom sounds like Ross, in a variation of the storyline) ideas for the night is very well done, as is the overhanging sense of fear and even dread about what has just happened. It feels very real and very powerful.

    Awesome work, Mayumi!

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    • Thanks, Shade.

      There’s a place for dark, certainly. I mentioned to someone else, maybe it’s because, as readers, we feel safer dealing with tragedy on a page than we do in real life. My head has definitely been in that “loss” mindset, recently.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Thank you, Laura.

      I’m surprised the reaction this one has received, since it is so sad. Maybe tragedy is easier (safer?) to identify with on a page than it is in real life?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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