Posts Tagged ‘story’


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
Tags: , , , , , ,


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!


Pulsing green light surrounded him inside the angular chrysalis. Even when he closed his eyes, he could still see it, sun-bright upon his retinas. It felt like it was trying to burn straight through him.

He had volunteered and now the chrysalis was unmaking him and remaking him, pulling him apart and stitching him together. There were nights when he wondered if there would be anything left of the old him when he was done. He wondered if he would be able to tell.

When the green shone so bright he thought he could see it with his bones, he thought of butterflies and wondered if they thought about when they were caterpillars or if they thought of themselves as newborn things.

His eyes flickered open for a moment and he saw new colours he’d never imagined before.

He would be ready soon. Ready to be born.

Word Count: 147

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Jade Wong for providing the prompt photo!


Orange light splits the evening sky, dancing through the shadows of dark clouds.The sun is falling, drawn gradually down beneath the horizon. He stands upon a high hill, watching it all: the waters sparkling with soft orange, the black silhouettes of the trees, the sky glowing like a world on fire.

You have until sunset.

That is what they told him. This is his last hour. The moment the sun passes beneath the horizon, heading into the unknown dark, he will go with it.

He is not afraid.

There’s no point in fear. Being afraid won’t stop it. It won’t even slow it.

Nobody can stop the sun from setting.

All he can do is watch the burning sky and marvel at its beauty.

And as the dim light fades, he lies back, a smile lingering on his lips as the first of the stars flashes in the cold night.

Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Footy and Foodie for providing the prompt photo!


Grey columns and grey tile: a hall of grey stretches on, its length to be measured in years.

Through this she marches on: scarred with winding scarlet, battered but unbowed, wrists bound in iron chains, eyes blazing bright.

She keeps her eyes fixed ever upon the light.

This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Jace Grandinetti for providing the prompt picture!