ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A Whiter Shade of Pale - First Campaigner Challenge - my EXACTLY 200-word story starting with 'The door swung open...'

The first Campaigner Challenge is to write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open...” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


For details on how to post your story, go here:



A Whiter Shade of Pale




The door swung open and I dived inside, desperate to escape the cold. I tried to tug the monster shut behind me but it refused to budge. The centuries have made it less malleable. I flicked the light switch and giggled - a gas light would be more fitting. I threw my bag onto the ancient stuffed lounge  where it lolled like a broken marionette. I turned back to the door, teeth chattering, fingers frozen inside my woollen gloves. I reached out for the gigantic doorknob, feeling anxious and alone.


Every year the winters in London were getting harder to bear. It felt like the cold had curled up in my bones and refused to be scraped out. My pale body was screaming for sun. I’d locked myself in a prison, a prison of my own making. I was the one who wanted to leave Australia for hip and happening London. But nothing hip and happening had happened to me. Instead I’d found a crowded, aggressive, uncertain land that’d stolen my optimism. As the snow tickled my nose I imagined the sand tickling my feet as I sunbaked by the ocean. One final tug and the door swung shut.



I hope you enjoyed my entry. It is exactly 200 words and I've used challenge words at the beginning and the end. For more entries and to 'Like' the story you think is best, go here






57 comments:

  1. I really hate the cold weather. lol

    Great story, and inner thought. Good luck with the challenge.

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  2. Miranda, that was quick. Thanks very much. D

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  3. This is excellent! The imagery and description made me feel as though I was there experiencing it along with her. Well done!

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  4. This is great. "The grass is always greener..." Good work getting all that reflection in such a short piece.

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  5. Getting used to a new land. I could feel the transition she was going through. Good job!

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  6. I often imagined sandy beaches when stuck in the snow. Great job!

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  7. Oooh, so nice! (Makes me wish it were winter, after all the heat we've had here!)

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  9. I confess I got the idea when one of my London blogger friends was whinging about the cold, ha ha...D

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  10. Isn't it the truth. Country kids always want to get away from the towns they grew up in for the glitz and glamor of the city. Only to find out it's not everything they dreamed. Ah the harsh light of truth and maturity.

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  11. Hey! I'm stopping by from the Literary Fiction campaign group.

    Your story was very refreshing. There's something about winter that seems to resonate with solitude and reflection - just what I needed at the moment!

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  12. I don't want to think about cold. Sun, sand, and beaches! Nice job with your entry.

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  13. She seems like a survivor, and I'm wondering what the full story is here. It feels like it might be a suspence.

    I felt the cold - actually it felt good here in the stiffling heat where even the a/c is overheated.

    Well done Denise.

    .......dhole

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  14. I feel homesick just reading this one, and I'm currently at home! This was beautiful and evocative.

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  15. You described England perfectly! I'm a 'grass-is'greener' gal. I'd love to be in Australia right now :-)

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  16. You've used some great imagery on this; I got cold reading it. lol

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  17. Very vivid. I can see London and the snow :D

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  18. A summer person in a winter land. No wonder she feels her optimism has died. It hasn't. It's only frozen. I have a feeling that love will soon thaw it. Great story, Roland

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  19. As someone who moved from Sunny South Africa to the UK eight years ago, I can so, so relate to this :)

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  20. "nothing hip and happening had happened to me" Love it! I will be feeling this in just a few weeks now that fall is coming to the midwest. Great job!

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  21. Shattered illusions of youth...sigh. lol
    Okay, to be serious, I think this is terrific! Being away from home - far away - lonliness - down on his/her luck - all powerful emotion draws. Nice job. ~ Nadja

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  22. Hi,

    Hee hee, the cold chill of this piece is kind of familiar! Great way to go through character musings: says so much and reveals lots! ;)

    best
    F

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  23. This piece of flash fiction is PERFECT, Denise! Sheer brilliance the way you begin and end with "the door swung" open then shut.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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  24. Thank you readers. Glad you like my chilly tale. Yay, thanks Julie for liking the title. Procol Harlem spin off just came to me. =D

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  25. I really enjoyed this, especially as I am sweltering here in sunny southern California. Mine is #72

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  26. Great, tactile writing; I enjoyed this!--Even though I'm a bit of a snow bunny myself, lol

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  27. Wow! Awesome story. I want to read more. I love your writing style.

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  28. This story really reminds me of an article I just read about a woman returning from London to Australia. Especially the bit about cold in bones unable to be scraped out. Nice work!

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  29. I really enjoyed your story - great use of the prompt 'the door swung open/shut' - makes me feel cold reading it!

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  30. Very nice story, lovely descriptive prose. I've been to London many times, I can picture it perfectly.

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  31. Lovely entry...mine goes up in a few hours.

    Stopping by not only for the challenge but also to tell you that The Rule of Three Blogfest will now accept posts on Thursdays, keeping in mind writers like you who have their Wednesdays otherwise engaged.

    It'll be a month-long extravaganza in the fictional town of Renaissance this October, with some great prizes, comment love, and of course, a lot of exposure for your writing. Did I mention chocolate?...are you signing up yet? ;)

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  32. Nicely written, but I would have loved to know where she was... what kind of building?

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  33. I like this, it's short and to the point, and feels like there's more story to it. I especially like this line: 'nothing hip and happening had happened to me.' because it's both ironic and actually pretty sad.

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  34. Hey - yes you definitely did make it your own. I really enjoyed this read!

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  35. Bummer! I hope she gets to go back home:) Very nicely done!

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  36. Man, I hate the cold, and your descriptions perfectly captured everything I hate about it. Although right now when it feels like a billion degrees outside, reading this was very refreshing! :-)

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  37. You certainly captured the sensations of the cold. Nice writing. And ironic story problem. A variation on "you get what you ask for . . ." :-)

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  38. Well, now you've gone and ruined London for me. And made me really want to go to Australia. :P I come from a warm climate, too, and I can't imagine what it would be like living where there are actual winters.

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  39. Thanks to all! Yep, you're feeling the cold!

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  40. Great job! Right now in Texas, I'd love some of that cold!

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  41. Brr! I despise the cold...but love the clothes. ;) Lol! I really enjoyed this, I felt pulled into the atmosphere and connected with the protagonist quickly. Good job! :)

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  42. A case of the grass always being greener it seems. Great descriptive piece. Even though it's summer here now, I could feel the cold.

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  43. Loved how you used the door in this. Great job! :D

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  44. I could feel the cold the way you described it. Nicely written, Denise! I liked it!

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  45. Hee hee. And just to pay me back Queensland is having a cold snap off the snows down south and it's Spring! Unheard of! I must have channelled London.

    Denise

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  46. Love your descriptions, Denise!

    By the way, you've been shortlisted for round two!

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  47. Oh how sweet! Shortlisted for Round two. Awesome.

    Denise

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  48. I really enjoyed your take on this challenge. I love the picture you chose and I adored the line where the bag lolled like a broken marionette. A unique (non-cliched) comparison. And it's hot and steamy here today, reading this really cooled me off. :) Well done.

    Hugs,
    Lola

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  49. I feel for your MC, shivering in the cold when she'd rather be sunning herself on the beaches. Very nice writing! Good luck with your entry. :)

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  50. Ooh, I just shivered a little! Especially after the line "It felt like the cold had curled up in my bones..."

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  51. Tina: Thanks, I'm sure she feels sorry for herself too.

    Rachel: Affects you that way, right?

    Denise

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  52. I would give almost anything for cold weather right now! We've been surviving 96+ degree weather with no air conditioner in the house! YIKES.

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  53. Wow I loved the cold [description] not real cold...good job!!

    http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

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