Friday, January 12, 2018

On Failure and Flash Fiction (Updated)

So, this post was supposed to be my entry for my Flash Fiction Challenge #5. I received a fantastic prompt from Blue:

A man buys time – literally. What is the cost?

I mean, what a great prompt! And I actually had a story going whose concept I’m quite intrigued by. But then I realized that I was going way over my thousand-word limit and that the story is just too big to condense. So, I switched to a different story. The problem is, this was yesterday. And I had other things I had to do in getting ready to go back to school. So, now I have two unfinished stories in response to this prompt but nothing completed.

And after I gave everyone three weeks instead of two…

I feel really bad about this. I’ve posted my story late before (for my first challenge, I think), but I’ve never not completed it. I just couldn’t fit it in this time, unfortunately. Not the best start to what I am determined will be a better writing year than 2017. However, I’m not giving up. I do want to apologize to my readers and the other participants of this challenge. I will be giving both of you feedback. For the time being, though, I’ve decided to post the beginning of my story, so you can at least see what I was working on. I do intend to finish it, and, if you like it, I’ll post it here when I do.

The other two participants in this challenge, however, did finish their stories. You can find them at the following links:

Blue - The Silversmith
Athelas - Flash Fiction

I am very proud of them both, and you should go check out their stories!

As for my attempt, without further ado:




They were busy today. They always were.

Dylan Forsythe’s lips tightened as he watched the revolving door across the street, always in motion, the last rays of sunlight glinting off its glass. People going in, a look of hope or fear on their faces. People coming back out, those looks generally smoothed into a long line of despair. The lump in Dylan’s stomach grew with each new face.

Of course, there were exceptions. There was the pretty young red-head, her chin held high, a smile on her lips. She had clearly gotten the news she’d come for. Few did.

Dylan studied the soaring stone building, windows staring out like gateways to the depths of hell. There was no sign, but it didn’t need one. This building was the country’s only place to purchase the most precious commodity in the world: time.

Heart beating faster, he leaned against the cool brick beside him and pulled up his sleeve. The counter fit snugly against his wrist, a sleek blue with silver digits: 3 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes, 24 seconds.

23.

22.

21.

His breath caught, and he slid to the ground. Only three days left.

Just over three days and he’d be dead.

He glanced across the street again to the building. The Department for the Regulation and Dispensation of Time. A mirthless smile twitched at his lips. A pretentious name to fit a building full of pretentious bureaucrats.

The harshness of a metal stamp against marble echoed through his head. The doom of the words now etched across his request form. Extension denied.

He pulled the folded paper from his jacket pocket, gaze searching for the official reason he already knew by heart: Essential capacity, easily replaced.

Easily replaced. That was the final judgment on Dylan’s life. After nearly twenty-five years, the government had deemed him worthless.


I actually wrote quite a bit more to this story, but now you’ve got a feel for it. What do you think?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happenings of 2017

Well, I definitely owe you all something of a year-end wrap up, since I didn’t keep you very updated during the year, did I? So much for my grand plans in March. Oh well. Such is life. I’m here now.

Happenings of 2017

Entertainment of the Year:

  • Movies/TV

I’ll be honest: There weren’t any stellar standout movies for me this year. There were good spots, but nothing that I really feel like raving about. I was really excited to see Wonder Woman but found myself kind of disappointed by it. There were certainly parts I enjoyed, but, overall, it fell kind of flat. I’m still not entirely sure why. I did see Dunkirk, which was very different in about every way from what I normally watch. I can’t say I loved it, but it was a different experience, for sure. I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which was hilarious and entertaining, if more crude than I appreciated. I finally saw Thor: Ragnarok a couple of weeks ago and thought it was great. The level of violence was a bit much for me in places, but I really liked what they did with Thor’s character. And the soundtrack… Ugh, so good!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5–Let’s Begin

Yay! It’s time to get writing, everyone. For a quick review, this challenge includes:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with their prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it. Below are your partners. Clicking on the name will lead you to the person’s blog.

No profanity, graphic violence, or sexual scenes in your prompts or stories. Find your partner and give them their prompt, along with a word count of your choice (but no more than 1000 words). Visit your partner’s blog and comment on their most recent post. Assign their prompt before you start work on your own flash fiction.

Because of the holidays, you will have three, instead of the normal two, weeks to write your story. It should be posted on Friday, February 12th, by 3pm Central Time. I will gather the stories and post links to them all as a late post on that Friday. Then you’ll give feedback both to the person who gave you a prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. I’ll remind you about that on the 12th. If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment here or email me at rachelleoneilwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have fun!


We’re back to a small group for this challenge, but that’s okay. We’ll still have fun!

I will give a prompt to Athelas Hale

Athelas will give a prompt to Blue

And Blue will give a prompt to me


I look forward to writing with you!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5

Hello again, everybody! Wow, I’ve missed this blog! So much for keeping up with it, huh? Well, I’ll have more of an update post for you later this month. For now, though, I’ve decided to get back to both blogging and writing with a flash fiction challenge! Can you believe it’s been almost two years since I hosted one? You can see the results from that challenge here.

Flash Fiction Challenge 5

For those of you who haven’t heard about my flash fiction challenges, every so often, I host a challenge that includes three elements:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with his or her prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it.

If you’d like to participate, comment on this post with the name of the blog you would be posting your story on. If you don’t have a blog, you can still take part! You do, however, need a way to comment. If you do have a Google account or some other way of commenting on blogs, comment here and email me at rachelleoneilwriter [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll make sure to put you on the list.  On Friday, December 22, two weeks from today, I will pair you each with your partners and give the official rule list. You may sign up anytime between now and then. For now, remember the following:

1. Your prompt is dependent on someone I assign to you. You do not come up with your own prompt.

2. No profanity, sexual scenes, or excessive violence.

3. If you do sign up, do me a favor and spread the word about the challenge via Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, or some other method. You may use the above image to do so.

If you have any questions at all, please comment or email me. These are always a blast, and  I’d love to have you take part!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happenings of the Month: March 2017

Uff, what happened to March??? It's like I blinked, and now it's over. Maybe that's why I keep having overdue library books…

Happenings of the Month March 2017

Entertainment of the Month:

  • Movies/TV Shows:

Yeah… I got nothin'. As explanation, I refer you to my earlier comments on the ridiculousness pace of March.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Some Thoughts on La La Land

I was disappointed by La La Land.

I know, gasp. Yes, I am going against the critical acclaim of the Academy Awards (not that I actually care) and the opinion of some dear friends (sorry, Katie), but I will say it again.

La La Land disappointed me.

I was extremely excited after seeing the trailers and hearing the buzz. A musical molded in classic Hollywood style? Dancing, singing, and romance? I was so ready for it.

La La Land

Then I saw it. And it was beautiful. And fun. And then utterly terrible. And I left the theater feeling completely empty.

Caution: Spoilers ahead.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Reading Through My Bookshelf:: January and February's Reads

All right, I'm just going to admit it. My reading thus far has been pathetic. I just haven't read much. Or perhaps a more accurate statement is that I haven't finished much. I'm in the midst of a couple of large books that I'm reading slowly on purpose. In addition, I've started researching for a history paper about Ronald Reagan (which I am ecstatic about, by the way), and that's eating up my reading time, too.

Reading Through My Bookshelf Jan and Feb

At any rate, that's why I didn't do a books post for January. Because I only read two books, and that was just a little too pointless to post about. Anyway, here's my combined list from January and February.