Friday 29 July 2011

Flash Fiction: Something to Eat

Red pesto, green pesto, black olive tapenade. Filigree sauce trails spiralled in from the edge, surrounding three halved cherry tomatoes standing guard around three razor slices of mozzarella di buffalla. Across the plate was a scatter of ground pepper, a rumour of truffle oil. Elegant. Suggestive. Insubstantial. Wilbur tried to focus on his starter.

"That'll be four fifty."

Three courses and as many calories later Wilbur found himself across the road. This was worth paying for. Orders of magnitude separated the guilt-drenched doner kebab now in his hands from the drawn-out bemuse bouche skulking in a corner of his stomach.

"Something to Eat" was first published on Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure. More background here.

Wednesday 27 July 2011


In the last month I've had two light-hearted pieces published online at Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure.

The first, "Something to Eat", is a 100-worder, a drabble. I wrote it earlier this year for a competition. I was not sure it would find a useful home anywhere else, until Dr. Hurley's happened to have a call specifically for micro-fiction within 100 words.

The second, "Two Weeks in Spain", is somewhat longer at just under 1300 words. I wrote the story last year and it went through a few minor revisions over the year that improved it but did little to alter its basic form. I decided recently to revisit it and overhaul it, restructuring the opening and shearing a couple of hundred words off it. The result was much improved and is the version you can read now.

Debate rages as to what word length distinguishes a piece of flash fiction from a more conventional short story, but the cut-off is generally considered to be in the hundreds — and certainly no more than a thousand. So, I guess this almost makes "Two Weeks in Spain" my first published short story! Almost. "Remembrance of Things Past" is over a thousand words, but is available in spoken form rather than text. I also had a piece, "Patterns at Work", published on IASA's site a few years ago when they created a library of articles on software architecture skills. I decided to tackle my topic, design patterns, with fiction, which makes it more interesting from a technical perspective, but obviously makes it slightly contrived from the perspective of story writing. In contradiction to what I said about "Afterglow" here, "Patterns at Work" was actually the first time I was paid for fiction.

In the coming weeks I will repost both pieces on this blog.