katiefoolery: (15_minute_fic - creativity in a hurry)
Right.  So, if I'm planning on writing 200,000 words next year, I should really get some practice in now, shouldn't I?  And what better way to do that than by writing a ficlet based on a prompt word from my [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic comm?

It's strange the way some of my ficlets seem to gravitate towards each other, almost as though they're little snippets of the same world.  This one would definitely fit with at least a couple of my earlier ones.  I hope you all enjoy reading it.

Lie if you don't. :D

Title: Untitled
Fandom: Original
Rating: G
Word count: 561 words
Prompt word: (withheld)

Written for prompt word #90 at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic.

“Go on then.”

Go on then.  Right.  Because it’s that easy.

“Use your influence.”

Nanny Edwards expects me to use my influence.  Nanny Edwards expects me to make scones fly out of their tray.  Nanny Edwards expects me to be a credit to my family.

Nanny Edwards expects the impossible.

Or miracles.  But let’s face it – this is a woman who manages on a daily basis to get my brother to wash his face and scrub his nails.  With that sort of thing happening in her life, she probably has a right to expect miracles.

“I can’t.”

Besides, what’s the point of making scones fly out of their tray?  I’d much rather tip them out gently and then spread them with cream and jam.  And not just because I’m hungry right now.  Flying scones are a waste of the cook’s good time.  Scones on the floor are a waste of the cleaning girl’s time.

I can’t always results in a tsking sound from Nanny Edwards.  Mostly because she thinks I shouldn’t be using horrible, lower-class contractions like that.  Well brought up girls declaim I cannot!  They don’t mutter I can’t like some slattern from the slums.  And while that was irritating enough, it wasn’t as bad as other people who liked to respond with ridiculous statements, my most hated of which was “Can’t means won’t try.”

“You cannot,” Nanny Edwards corrects, “because you are lazy.”

And hungry.

Without even thinking, without even appearing to blink, she makes a scone rise from the tray with a floury, floaty little puff.  And then another.  And another.

Four seems to be her limit though, because they all drop to the floor with sad little pattering sounds the minute she raises a fourth.

“What’s the point of this?”  I can’t help but ask, although my words are distracted.  Four miserable little broken scones on the floor.  They could have been adorned with jam and cream and in my stomach by now…

Nanny Edwards is silent for a second and it’s an educational silence.  It’s the sort of silence that always precedes a lesson.  She’s going to say something now; something of great import.

“What do you think is the point of this?”

To prove we’re rich enough to waste food?

Why, why don’t I dare to say it?  I shrug instead and the silence endures much longer this time – far too long for comfort before it’s broken by the sound of the scone tray banging as it flexes unnaturally.

“Answer me.”

“I don’t know.”  A deliberate, sullen don’t in the place of a do not.  “That’s why I asked.”

There’s a tiny smirk in the corner of her mouth.  I only catch it by chance and it feels like a rare gift.  No-one dares to answer back to Nanny Edwards.  No-one dares give her lip.  No-one speaks unless they’re spoken to and they always, always, give the right answer.

No-one but me.

“Influence is power.”  The smirk’s gone.  Completely gone.  Nothing but cold anger and bland authority.  “Power is strength.  The weak deserve none of those and you are weak, my girl.”

I.  Am.  Not.  Weak.

Nanny Edwards smiles.

One of the fallen scones flutters and drops.  Tiny crumbs move out of its path as it falls again.

The smile becomes a smirk.

And I know I will never be free of Nanny Edwards’ influence.

Tomorrow, I venture forth to finish my Christmas shopping.  Wish me luck.  Or, if not luck, then wish me a very big stick and an air-tight alibi.
katiefoolery: (15_minute_fic - creativity in a hurry)
Hey, look at this shiny, pretteh lovely banner-type thing:

15 Minute Fic - creativity in a hurry

That links directly to the comm I run with [livejournal.com profile] crazedturkey, working tirelessly to provide writers (and sometimes each other) with a prompt word a week.  Oh, how we labour deep into the night, always seeking the perfect word for the upcoming week...

Anyway, moving right along.  Fallen into a writing rut?  Have a spare fifteen minutes?  Then this is the place for you!  We've been running it for over a year now and we have close to three hundred members... but there's plenty of room for more.

And this week, after months of foregoing my writing for beta-ing, I decided to write a ficlet.  I noticed a while back that one of [livejournal.com profile] crazedturkey's words had been incredibly popular, so I made a note to go back and use it for ficletting purposes when I had a chance.  That chance came last night and this ficlet followed shortly after.  Please read and enjoy.

Oh, and feel free to try and guess the prompt word, as always.  (I think it's pretty obvious in this one.)

Title: Untitled
Fandom: Original
Rating: PG (language)
Word count: 397 words
Prompt word: spell

Written for prompt word #37 at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic.

It wasn’t a spell, it was more of an…


No, that word was pointless.  Useless.  As empty and faded as it sounded in the dark air around her.  So she reconsidered.

“A fucking irritation.”

Yeah.  That sounded much better.  Swearing always made things seem more real and less like that cultured, sugar-sweet world in which she’d grown up.  The same one she’d run away from just a month ago.  Just a month, and she was already swearing in the darkness and loving the sound of it.

Give up.

The walls whispered the words to her.  The ground.  The dank roof above her.

Hell, even the air taunted her to give in.

Come to me.

“No,” she whispered back.

You’ll die.

But she knew it already.  That sort of thing was inevitable.  In her old life, people died in giant beds, resting on the softest of mattresses and shrouded by the finest of eiderdowns.  Surrounded by their loving families.  Sometimes they died tragically in the arms of a lover, usually in some kind of faultless sacrifice that lived through the ages.

As though that somehow made up for it.

She knew she was going to die; it just wasn’t going to be here and now.  Any second now, she’d work out how to move again.  She’d remember how to breathe.  How to see.  How to live.  She’d dismiss that feeling of cold creeping over her as though it were nothing.

Give up.

The mantra again.

Come to me.

How many times had she heard it now?

You’ll die.

Give up and live – that was the deal and she knew it.  She wanted to.  Every fibre of her being screamed out to give in.  Surrender.


Her lungs were burning, and yet the rasping heat only made her feel more alive.  She couldn’t breathe and she was blind in this darkness, yet she was living more and seeing more than she’d ever seen in her entire sheltered life.  If this was death then it bore more meaning than life itself.

The mantra came again – words that had long since lost meaning to her.  Nothing meant more than the burning in her chest and the tingling chill in her fingertips.  So alive.  No orderly dance or choreographed banquet had ever held as much appeal as this moment of hopelessness.

Give up.


Come to me.

Make me…

You’ll die.

katiefoolery: (15_minute_fic - creativity in a hurry)
Wow, I haven't done one of these for ages.  Or even written anything at all.  I'm relieved that I still know how to do this whole writing thing.  At least, I think I do.

Read and enjoy!

Oh, and feel free to try and guess the prompt word, as always.

Title: “One Second”
Fandom: Original
Rating: PG (language)
Word count: 438 words
Prompt word: pawn

Written for prompt word #22 at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic.

Shit, it’s happened again, hasn’t it?  And he’s just looking at me as though there’s nothing wrong here at all.  Nothing strange.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

Which is true enough, but I still don’t like it.

I want to say no.  I should say no, shouldn’t I?

Problem is, I’ve always said yes in the past.  Always agreed.  Always followed along quietly.  Always been good.

So when did I decide I didn’t want to be good any more?

“Um... I’m waiting,” he says.  He’s looking at the clock now.  No, glaring.  As though the clock’s somehow responsible for my lack of response.

The clock’s pretty impassive about this, of course.  And it’s been stuck at quarter to seven for the past week or so, despite repeated requests for someone to clamber up on a chair and change the battery.  It puts in a token effort now and then – a sort of tired sounding tick that gets it nowhere.

“The clock’s stopped,” he says.

I suppose...  I suppose you could say that’s the last straw.  Or maybe the second last.  I feel as though I still have some remnants of endurance left to my name.

“It stopped a week ago,” I say, although it feels as though my words are swallowed up by the plump couch and the ludicrously floral wallpaper of our front room.

He turns the glare onto me now.  “Why didn’t you do anything about it?”

Silly me.  I thought asking him to replace the battery was ‘doing something about it’.

“I asked you to fix it.”  My voice is still sounding muffled, as though I’m in one of those dreams where I need to scream but can barely even manage a whisper.  I’m trapped in the front room of an ordinary house with a miserably broken clock and a completely oblivious man.  I do need to scream.  “I asked you dozens of times.”

“I don’t remember.”

You never do.

“You ignored me.”  Why is my voice even quieter now?

“It’s not important, anyway,” he says, dismissing me and the clock as one.  “You still haven’t answered my question.”

I haven’t, have I?  And he’s standing there, as though it’s a mere formality.  I’m going to say yes.  I’m going to go along with it.  I’m going to be good.

The clock gives one of its pathetic intermittent ticks, doing its best to move the fragile second hand along just one second…

“No,” I whisper.  No I won’t.  No, I’m not going to be good any more.

What did you say?”

“I said no,” I tell him.

And the clock ticks over one final second.

katiefoolery: (15 minute ficlets)
Need... more... sleep...  And I need to spend much more time glaring at cats for being partially responsible for said sleepiness.  Huzzah for them causing crashes that wake me up at quarter to six!  And huzzah for the fact that I probably only managed another ten minutes of sleep before the alarm so kindly woke me up at six thirty!  Heh - I say “woke me up” out of habit, because I was already wide awake.

Anyway, ’tis ficlet time again.  If you have a spare fifteen minutes and an urge to write, why not head over to [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic and pick up your prompt word?

Before I stand aside for the ficlet, I think this is worth saying: I’m after all kinds of feedback.  If you read and like my ficlet, then of course I’m delighted to know.  If you read it and think it’s awful or that there’s something I really need to address in my writing, then I’m just as eager to know that.  So don’t be afraid to send concrit my way - if I can give it, I can take it too. :)

Title: Close to Insanity
Fandom: Original
Rating: G
Word count: 427 words
Prompt word: solitude

I absolutely hate it.  I’m serious.  For a while there, I thought that maybe I’d get used to it and it wouldn’t seem so bad after all.

I was so very wrong.

Now, the best I can hope for is that I’ll go completely insane and start talking to those pretty, shiny rocks in the stream over there.  At least if I’m talking to rocks, I wouldn’t be thinking about where I am or what I’m doing.

Or the fact that I’m completely alone.  Take a look around - there’s no-one to be seen for miles.  Yesterday… well, I think it was yesterday.  It’s hard to keep track of days sometimes.  So, possibly yesterday, I spent an afternoon on top of that peak there, watching some hikers travelling across the plains.  I literally watched them for hours, until they turned into black specks on the horizon.  And then I watched those black specks until they vanished.

So maybe I’m pretty close to insanity already.

I hate it all.  I hate the stupid hut.  I hate the view.  I hate the fresh air.  I hate the way the clouds look so beautiful against the deep blue sky.  I hate the soothing sound the stupid stream makes in the night.

And I hate the way I have to go and pick up my basket of food every two days, because I also hate the way I can’t bring myself to break her rules and get there early enough to “accidentally” meet her.

I’ve imagined it a hundred times.  Maybe a thousand.

Oh, I’m so sorry, I’d say.  I didn’t meant to get here so early - I still can’t get the hang of telling the TIME WITHOUT A WATCH.  Sometimes I swear there, but usually not because if there’s one thing I know I wouldn’t do (even by accident), it’s swear in front of my grandmother.

And the reason I’ll never actually go there early and say those things?  Because I can picture that look of disappointment I’d receive all too clearly.  I saw it once just a few months ago and it still hurts to think of it.

So I’m just going to stay here and either go steadily insane and begin to understand the quiet and most likely non-existent language of river-rocks… or learn whatever it is I’m supposed to be learning.  No-one said I had to be happy about the whole situation.

I’ll tell you one thing, though: if I ever start thinking, Oh, this isn’t so bad after all, then I’m heading straight home.

Comments and criticisms are most appreciated. :D
katiefoolery: (15 minute ficlets)
This is based on last week’s word from the [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic comm.  I meant to do it last week, but my brain was stolen by a summary of doom.  There should be a lot more “o”s in that doom but I’ll leave them out for now.

It’s a week late, but here’s the ficlet.  Feel free to have a guess at the word - it might just be possible to work out what it is. :D

Title: Untitled
Fandom: Original
Rating: PG
Word count: 464 words
Prompt word: power

I’ve never felt like this before.  Never.  Never even knew I could.

Lost.  Alone.  Cold.


Never knew the night could be this dark.  Never knew I could run this hard and fast.

My breathing’s loud in the night now.  Loud and harsh and desperate and I can’t stop it, no matter how hard I try.  I know he can hear it, just as I know he’s waiting beyond my sight, such as it is in the darkness.

He’s out there, slinking behind the trees with a graceful silence I can only dream of.  Waiting, watching, wanting.


Hunting me.

On my knees now.  The grass is damp; my knees are caked with mud.  My hands, too.  What an image I must present: kneeling on the forest floor, head hanging down in despair.  My clothes stick to me with my own sweat.  It’s disgusting.  And when will I see a shower again?

Was that a sound in the darkness?  Amazing how I can suddenly go from desperation to panicked awareness.  I’m sitting here, peering into a darkness I can never hope to penetrate, trying to work out if that’s just the trees rustling... or if it’s him, playing with me.

My heart shouldn’t beat that fast.

Do I dare move?  Do I dare run into the darkness and hope it’s just that?  Blissful, empty darkness.  Or do I stay here?  Knowing he’s watching.  Knowing he’s out there.  Knowing it’s just a matter of time.


That’s what my body screams.  My mind, my heart... every instinct I have.  It’s just one great big shout of RUN.  And who am I to ignore that?

I run.  Again.  And he follows.

He doesn’t run.  I can run as far and fast as I can and he will always find me.  We both know this and yet I still run.  Despite the darkness, despite the times I fall, despite the branches that snatch at my face and leave brands of blood on my skin.

I can’t just give in.  I have to run.

I have to.

“Stop running,” he whispers, catching me so suddenly I don’t even have time to be shocked.


“I am not giving you an option,” he says, smiling as I claw my way free of his grip.

I trip and fall.  I always lose my grace around him.  Scrambling backwards, hands scratching at the dirt.  I can’t bring myself to stand up somehow.

He is persistent in his smile and I can’t look away.  He looks so gentle and so dangerous all at once.  I have to get away.  I have to run.

And he reaches a hand down to me.  Like a choice.  As though I’m drowning and only he can save me.

I’ve never felt so powerless.

Comments and criticisms are most appreciated. :D
katiefoolery: (15 minute ficlets)
My first ficlet in a very long time!  And my first ficlet for the new comm, too.  The good Gill ([livejournal.com profile] crazedturkey) kindly volunteered to post the first word so I could write a ficlet.  And she even more kindly emailed the word to me, as I can’t get to LJ while at work.  Thank-you muchly!

Extra bonus points (or an icon, whichever you prefer) for anyone who can guess the word here.  I honestly believe it’s impossible to guess.  I know I’ve said that twice before and been proven wrong... but I mean it this time.  In fact, I can’t even work out how this story came from the prompt word in question.

Title: Strange
Fandom: Original
Rating: PG (language)
Word count: 424 words
Prompt word: garble

Strange, how my mind stops working properly when he touches me like this.  How the world seems to vanish and everything contracts to here and now and him.  How can a simple touch be responsible for losing the ability to think clearly?

Or to remember that there’s still a pot on the stove?

“Oh, shit!” I yell, leaping up from the couch and my comfortable seat on his lap.

Strange, how I can go from shyly wondering if I should kiss him to just desperately wanting to switch the smoke alarm off.

Wasn’t there a broom in this cupboard?  I’m sure there was a broom in this cupboard.  It was just the right length for jabbing at the stupid smoke alarm and I know I always kept it here.  All I can find now are towels.  Who the hell switched the broom cupboard for a towel cupboard without telling me?

I can hear him laughing, still on the couch.  It’s that low laugh I love; the one that usually fills me with warmth and sometimes makes my skin shiver with delight.

Strange, how I can go from thinking of something so pleasant to simply wondering why the hell he isn’t helping.

“The kitchen’s that way,” I snap.  You want to turn the stove off before the house burns down?  Or is that too much to ask?

I hear him moving towards the kitchen, stifled laughter following him as he goes.  It’s not funny.  It’s not funny at all.  Dinner’s ruined; I’m going insane from having to listen to this stupid smoke alarm; and now my perfect-length broom has vanished from the face of the earth.

“Relax.”  He’s right behind me, his breath on the back on my neck, followed quickly by a kiss.

“I'll relax when this is sorted out.”

Strange, how I tried to sound really stern and serious there but my words came out as breathy and distracted instead.

“Found a broom in the kitchen,” he says, holding it in front of me like it’s some sort of trophy.  He jabs it upwards and finally silences the smoke alarm.

I mutter my thanks, feeling foolish.  Why do I turn into a jerk over the smallest things?

“Is... is dinner OK?” I ask, almost afraid of the answer.

He places his right hand on his left shoulder with a solemn look to his face.  “Rest in peace, little dinner,” he says.  “We will honour your sacrifice by ordering pizza.”

Strange, how I can go from the depths of despair to smiling helplessly.

Comments and feedback are most appreciated. :D
katiefoolery: (15_minute_fic - creativity in a hurry)
15 Minute Fic: creativity in a hurry

The original [livejournal.com profile] 15minuteficlets community will be closing in May and the maintainers will not be handing it over to anyone once they’re done.  However, they did encourage other people to start anew... and that’s just what I’m doing, with the help of the good [livejournal.com profile] crazedturkey.  We’ll be posting our first prompt word at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic on Monday and making an effort to get into a good weekly habit.  I just love the concept of the fifteen minute ficlet too much to let it die.

Please feel free to join up and join in.  It’s great fun, whether you’ve been writing for years or have just toyed with the idea of jotting a story down.  You never know what you’ll discover about yourself.

April 2011

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