The Lepidopterist – Flash Fiction

I wrote a flash fiction story yesterday, for  a writing prompt that was shared on my writing group.

I wanted to experiment with a new style of writing. As an editor, I hear a lot about how less is more, and descriptions are overdone, but I love words.

The way they twist, and twine and draw you into their weave with sounds and shapes.

I really wanted to evoke a strong sense of emotion and the feel of the world that I saw in my head with this story. So I was deliberately descriptive. I pulled synonyms for every possible word, and played with symbolism and metaphors.

And then I analysed and edited the heck out of it.

This is the result. I would love to know your thoughts on it.

Steampunk Butterfly

The Lepidopterist

The rain sheeted down in pounding waves, drumming on the steel roof in a relentless rhythm.

His heart raced in time with the beat, skipping each time lightning flashed through the window, illuminating the depths of his room with stark brilliance.

His fingers, old and gnarled, fumbled with his greatest creation, waiting for the after image of the glare to abate before continuing their work by the softer glow of candlelight.

The broken wings were tussah, shimmering with a lustre that left powder on his thin skin as he worked.

The copper gears and cogs were paper thin, the wires that linked them, nearly invisible.

The fragile insect fluttered forlornly and he cooed gentle reassurances to keep it still while he hunched over it as though to protect it from the wrath of the storm.

Finally, the thunder calmed, the rain slowed, and a smoky dawn crept through the window.

The wizened man creaked from his chair, hands cupped carefully round his prize.

Slowly, painfully, he hobbled down the stairs, chimes and tinkles from hundreds of clocks greeting him exactly on the hour.

His door eased open onto a city laid bare, beggars raised weary eyes and empty hands, while children, old before their time, wandered aimlessly past.

The horologist beckoned, and a small crowd gathered, half-remembered curiosity sparking in their eyes.

“In another life,” his voice tremulous, “before the age of mechanical invention led to destruction and decay, I was a lepidopterist.”

He shook his head to still their question.

“I studied the most delicate, magnificent creature you could envision, and I never dreamed I would see another one live in my time.

“Today, I set free, possibly the last  surviving member of its kind, blown to me in the storm last night.

“Today, I set free hope for our world.”

His cocooned hands opened and the insect nestled within shimmered gold in the hazy light of the morning.

Its repaired wings quivered, testing their strength.

Minute wheels gyred, it danced through the air; and the old man smiled as the gaping mouths of the crowd around him expressed their wonder in watching a butterfly take wing.

Monday Writing Prompt – 18 December 2017 & Winners of 27 November Prompt

This announcement is terribly delayed because: LIFE!*

I had a lot of research to do in order to do credit to judging this entry from Greg Cooper. It took me quite a while and several reads to make sense of what was happening (I’m still not sure I got it right!), but on reflection, I really thoroughly enjoyed it because it broke all the rules of conventional writing. I also love that I’ve been introduced to some beautiful old-new music thanks to Greg’s entry.

Entry 27 November 2017

 

The Winning Entry for MWP 27 November 2017:

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of John Cordial’s writing, and this very short entry of his illustrates why. His style is simple and direct, but the story speaks right to the heart.Winner 27 November 2017

Two very different entries for that prompt, and both very much appreciated! Thank you both!

This week’s prompt is a bit different. With Christmas only a week away, I’m looking for unconventional Christmas/Holiday stories. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or not, share your holiday stories in the comments or on your blog.

27 November 2017

 

Your story can be any genre. Word limit is a maximum, there is no minimum.

Stories can be posted directly in the comments, or with a link to the post on your own blog. If you’re using the latter method, please include the title of your story.

Due to the holidays, you have two weeks to write your story. Deadline for submission is Friday, 29 December 2017 at midnight, GMT+2. Winning stories will be announced on the following Monday. Bragging rights to the winners.

Have fun!

 

*If you want to know the full story of the delay: I was gifted a trip down to Cape Town to visit family, and travelling happened to take place over the last two Mondays. Also, I kicked into holiday mode full force when I arrived and zero productivity happened. I have less than zero regrets about that. I needed the break more than I’d realised.

Monday Writing Prompt – 27 November 2017

27 November 2017

 

The prompt should be included in your story which can be any genre. Word limit is a maximum, there is no minimum.

Stories can be posted directly in the comments, or with a link to the post on your own blog. If you’re using the latter method, please include the title of your story.

Deadline for submission is Friday, 1 December 2017 at midnight, GMT+2. Winning stories will be announced on the following Monday. Bragging rights to the winners.

Have fun!

Monday Writing Prompt – 20 November 2017

 

 

20 November 2017

 

The prompt should be included in your story which can be any genre. Word limit is a maximum, there is no minimum.

Stories can be posted directly in the comments, or with a link to the post on your own blog. If you’re using the latter method, please include the title of your story.

Deadline for submission is Friday, 24 November 2017 at midnight, GMT+2. Winning stories will be announced on the following Monday. Bragging rights to the winners.

Have fun!

Monday Writing Prompt – 13 November 2017 & TWO beautiful stories from Jozi Flash contributors!

Last week’s prompt got two entries into the competition – both from Jozi Flash 2017 contributing authors! It makes me deliriously happy when I get to read stories inspired by the prompts I put up, but even more so when they’re from authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with on an anthology.

Nicola Tapson entered her piece in the comments section of the prompt, and it was a bittersweet tribute to life and death:

Entry 6 November 2017

The Winning Entry for MWP 6 November 2017:

Nthato Morakabi – whose writing is flamboyantly elegant, and whose use of language to describe scenes consistently floors me with its power.

Winner 6 November 2017

Both entries were a gorgeous take on the prompt, and I’d like to thank both of you for taking the time out of your hectic schedules to enter! I hope it will be the first of many. 🙂

 

This week’s prompt:

13 November 2017

The prompt should be included in your story which can be any genre. Word limit is a maximum, there is no minimum.

Stories can be posted directly in the comments, or with a link to the post on your own blog. If you’re using the latter method, please include the title of your story.

Deadline for submission is Friday, 20 October 2017 at midnight, GMT+2. Winning stories will be announced on the following Monday. Bragging rights to the winners.

Have fun!

#FindJoziFlash17 Winner, #200WT & Monday Writing Prompt!

I’m so thrilled to announce that the winner of the #FindJoziFlash17 was drawn just after midnight last night, and it was none other than Faye Kirwin over at Writerology!

Winners FindJoziFlash17

I’m also thrilled to let you know that because of his AMAZING support of both the competition, and Faye’s #storycrafter sessions on Twitter, we decided John Cordial needed some sort of runner’s up prize. Luckily, Faye has just released her #StoryCrafter Collection workbook and she very kindly agreed to send John a copy! (I’m going to be working through the collection in the next couple weeks, as I work on my NaNoWriMo project, so stay tuned for daily reviews of how it’s going!)

The support and encouragement from everyone across all our social media platforms has been absolutely incredible and I cannot thank you all enough!

For those who couldn’t enter the competition, we’re sorry you missed out, but don’t worry! Jozi Flash 2017 will be releasing soon, and it’s a free download!

Jozi Flash 2017 web

It’s not quite the Gummi Bears, but it certainly bounces around a lot.

Jozi Flash 2017 combines the talents of ten brilliant authors with one gifted artist, to bring you a collection of 80 flash fiction stories across eight different genres.

From a children’s story about the folly of summoning dragons, to the horrors held in deliciously treacherous ice cream, the authors take you on journeys that weave fantasy and folklore together alongside practical detectives and everyday tragedy.

With stunning artwork prompts by Nico Venter, these South African authors have created an anthology that will leave you breathless.

I’m also excited to let you know that a few of the Jozi Flash 2017 authors have teamed up with Musae Mosaic to contribute to their #200WT this month! This is the perfect opportunity for you to get a sneak peak at the talent that awaits you in the anthology!

Now, without further ado, here is this week’s writing prompt:

6 November 2017

Hopefully we’ll see a host of entries this week!

Monday Writing Prompt – 16 October 2017 & Announcing the first MWP Winner!

 

Winner 9 October 2017

I’m so excited that last week saw the first entry into the MWP challenge! John Falconer over at Pilgrim of Eormen entered his story “Old And New” for the prompt, and it was gorgeous!

His style of writing is beautifully rich and I’m ecstatic that he decided to kick off the challenge so spectacularly!

Thanks for your entry, John, I hope it’s the first of many!

And without further ado, here’s this week’s prompt:

16 October 2017

The prompt should be included in your story which can be any genre. Word limit is a maximum, there is no minimum.

Stories can be posted directly in the comments, or with a link to the post on your own blog. If you’re using the latter method, please include the title of your story.

Deadline for submission is Friday, 20 October 2017 at midnight, GMT+2. Winning stories will be announced on the following Monday. Bragging rights to the winners.

Have fun!