Posts Tagged ‘story’

After the Rain

Posted: October 2, 2019 by J.A. Prentice in Flash Fiction
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The sky was a miserable grey over the abandoned, rain-drenched pier as she stood on the very edge, looking into the beckoning deep, feeling the damp in her bones.

At the last moment, she took a breath and looked up to see a sky lit up by the shimmering bands of a rainbow.

She walked home, watching how the light played in the puddles and smelling that wonderful after-rain smell.

This for Three Line Tales, Week 192. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Sara Riaño for providing the prompt photo!


Some exciting news: my fantasy short story, “Bright Young Thing,” has been published by Swords and Sorcery Magazine. You can check it out here.


Hi. I liked The Last Jedi.

If you did not like The Last Jedi, that’s cool. It’s got its issues. There’s issues with pacing and scenes that don’t need as much screentime, and I’m undecided about the character of Rose and that, uh, thing she does to Finn which made him angry. I’m not gonna stand here and tell you it’s a flawless movie impervious to any and all criticism.

But it’s impervious to some of the criticisms lobbed at it.


There are legitimate arguments to be made about the failures of The Last Jedi, and then there is the pseudo-intellectual nonsense encouraged by profesional nitpicks like Cinemasins and the Plinkett reviews. These lines of thinking make no logical sense as criticism, and those who believe them often attempt to intellectualize the nonsense by ascribing what they see as a fancy literary term: Plot hole.

A number of “plot holes” I have seen people claim The Last Jedi has include:

Why didn’t the Resistance or First Order think of kamikaze attacks before?

Poe’s rogue mission failed so it had no purpose in the plot!

Bombs wouldn’t fall out of ships because there’s no gravity in space!

How did the codebreaker know the shuttles were fleeing to Crait?

How did Poe figure out how to kill a Dreadnought?

A plot hole, as defined by TV Tropes is this:

Plot Holes are those gaps in a story where things happen without a logical reason.

And the different kinds of plot holes are:

  • Characters suddenly having knowledge that was never passed to them, or vice versa; characters not knowing something they knew last week, or something that anyone in their position must know.
  • An event does not logically follow from what has gone before.
  • An event occurring that other events in the work simply do not allow.

So plot holes are a problem in the internal logic of the story.

Physics/science inconsistencies are not plot holes. Or else Alderaan exploding with sound despite no sound existing in space is a plot hole.

A hanging plot thread is not a plot hole. Regardless, Poe’s rogue mission failing is critical to the story The Last Jedi is telling. It’s not a hanging thread as people seem to think, it’s the whole point of the movie that Poe fails.

Holdo ramming her ship into Snoke’s is the logical conclusion to her arc given the situation she was in. The internal logic of the story flows perfectly. Asking why no one did it before is as unproductive as asking why no one thought to trip an AT-AT before Hoth.

After I saw the movie, I thought the Codebreaker knowing the shuttles had escaped to Crait was a plot hole. It fulfills the first bullet point, with the “hole” in the story’s logic being that he had no way of knowing that plan was happening. J.A. Prentice then reminded me that the codebreaker heard the conversation between Finn and Poe where Poe relayed Holdo’s escape plan, and that’s how he figured it out.

Poe knowing how to kill a Dreadnought may seem to fall under that first bullet point, but it was never established that he did not know. On the contrary, it’s safe to say a veteran pilot and Resistance soldier would know the weaknesses and strengths of the opponent’s fleet. Again, plot holes are about the story’s internal logic. Fighter pilot + war veteran probably equals knowledge on the enemy’s biggest ships. I mean, how the hell did the Rebels in IV get the plans to the Death Star? That was never explained! Plot hole! Plot hole! Give us a god-awful snoozefest movie to explain, we’re too dumb to understand!





The sea surged against the rocks, pummeling cliffs into cascades of stone and dust. Wind whipped against the villagers’ skins as they pulled themselves onto the roofs, watching streets become rivers and rivers become oceans, murky water flooding the low ground. Cries rang out over the hard drumming of rain against earth and the wolf howls of the storm.

Little Tabitha perched on the roof’s edge, fingers running through puddles on the terra-cotta tiles, soaked strands of black hair stuck to her brow. She looked at the white crests and brown waves beneath.

There were shadows in the waters. All around the dim of the storm rang out, but Tabitha could not take her eyes away from them.

A woman’s face rose from the swell. Her eyes were shimmering saltwater, her a hair a tumbling waterfall. She raised a finger to her lips and then vanished into the swell.

Tabitha’s mother pulled her back from the edge.

The winds died and the sea crept away like a wounded lion, leaving destruction in its wake. The storm had done its worst and the village yet stood.

And in the very heart of the devastation, Tabitha had seen something beautiful.

For Sunday Photo Fiction. Photo is thanks to A Mixed Bag.

Origami Escapism

Posted: August 31, 2017 by J.A. Prentice in Flash Fiction
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Paper folds easily in her fingers, shapes forming from orange, blue, yellow, green. She makes boats and birds and swords and cars and aeroplanes, putting them in a little row under the shadows of the barred window.

She wishes more than anything she could make a key.

This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Dev Benjamin for providing the prompt photo!

Oscar nominations are in, and we like a lot of what the Academy has chosen to honor. Eight nominations for Arrival?  Love it. Kubo and the Two Strings with a nomination for visual effects? Unprecedented. Fantastic. Finding Dory not given a cursory nomination just because it’s Pixar? Great.

And then we get to the original screenplay award…

The Lobster has been nominated.

This one nomination is so confounding, so absolutely nonsensical, so objectively incorrect, that it’s enough for us (well, me) to say “fuck it, the Oscars have lost their minds! We’ll do our own one! With Blackjack! and Hookers!”

If you haven’t seen this pathetic film-equivalent of canine excrement then here’s a basic summary of the “script.”

The first half is an absurdist black comedy loosely satirizing modern dating culture. It’s not particularly funny or witty, but it at least has a clear focus and tone.

Half way through, it turns into a dystopian guerilla war story, completely forgetting its own premise, plot, and purpose.

What goes into a story? Particularly something you could classify as genre fiction?

You need a premise, for one. The premise of The Lobster is that in the future single men and women go to a sort of resort where they must find a suitable mate in the most objective, emotionless way possible. This premise ends up having nothing to do with the way the plot unfolds.

A story needs to have stakes. In The Lobster, if you don’t find a suitable mate, you are turned into an animal. However this fate is never shown after the opening minutes and, again, the second half of the movie forgets about the stakes it previously set. When stories ignore the stakes that they’ve set up like this they lose any sense of tension, because the audience doesn’t feel a threat.

A story needs an arc. The Lobster has two halves that are entirely incongruent with each other in tone, plot, and purpose. The (thin, weak, unfunny) satire of the first half disappears and the movie is no longer about what it thinks its about. There’s multiple themes that are set up and dropped. It’s really about nothing, actually. And you can make stories about nothing as long as the characters are good (Seinfeld anyone?) but that brings me to…

The characters are all purposely dull. In some pretentious delusion, the writers thought that having none of the characters of the story showing any emotion was some sort of genius satirization giving insight into the modern dating world. Newsflash: Ask any young person and they’ll tell you the issue with dating is that it’s all feeling, no thinking. Maybe  the writers of The Lobster thought it would be hilarious to satirize something by doing the opposite? In which case isn’t that not satire?

A script so objectively horrendous, one that obeys no convention of writing and does nothing to justify why it broke them, getting nominated for best screenplay only has one explanation. This script is so bad that the Academy must’ve thought that they were just missing something, too dumb and simple to comprehend the certain genius they’ve just sat through. Therefore, in a desperate effort to appear like the high-brow snobs they want to be, they nominated this horseshit. They might even let it win.

Your opinion is invalid! I reject your ceremony, and substitute my own!


Audhyld looked out at the horses, waiting in the windswept white.

“How long are you staying?” asked the tavern-keeper, looking from Audhyld to her four companions.

“Just an hour or so,” Audhyld replied. “Enough time to eat, to get warm…” She adjusted the sword hanging from her belt. “Then we’ll be on our way.”

“Off to your war,” the tavern-keeper said. “Fighting the Winter Queen.”


“Are you afraid?”

“I’ve been in battles before.”

“But are you afraid?”

“Terrified,” Audhyld whispered, watching the skeletal limbs of the tree be blown back and forth by winter winds. “Every time, I’m terrified.”

Word Count: 100

This is for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for both running the challenge and providing the prompt photo!