I am currently continuing to enter the Ad Hoc Weekly Flash Fiction competition. Entries are limited to 150 words and whilst this may sound like something you can dash off in a few minutes, I am finding it takes me considerably longer. A day usually, which either goes to show I am very slow, or it really is true: Less is more. It takes longer to write short.

My entry for week of 18 April was published in the ebook, and here’s a link to the piece, Fish and Chips. 

Another thing I am finding, characters sometimes take on a life of their own.

When I read through the other entries too, it is interesting to see all the different takes on the prompt word. Interesting too, how similar themes and situations reoccur and these are not always the obvious ones.

This micro story was a case in point. I had a very clear image of a young woman, battling with eating disorders (when I think of the word “fast” I think, amongst other things, of diets, the juice diet, 5/2, other fads, then for some reason, Benedictine monks). My character’s  life has moved on. In many ways, she is successful now. But she looks back, to a younger self. She is a child, standing with her mother in a City, which is not home now. It’s raining. It’s grey. I think of Manchester, then Belfast. And she is waiting, expectant for fish and chips. (Perhaps the fast theme is making me hungry). Looking back, there is regret and sadness as well as something lost. Perhaps it’s the fasting theme again, but I think of Bobby Sands and then I know, in some way (I’m not sure how) she’s been touched by the Troubles. She’s looking back to when she used to go to Frizzell’s Fish and Chip shop on the Shankill Road, where a bomb blast in 1993 killed ten people and injured 57.

In some ways, the 150 word limit is frustrating. It is certainly teaching me to write “tight.” On the other hand, it sometimes leaves me with random characters rattling around inside my head. At least, I’ve “parked” this lady toying with her food on a sunny bistro terrace somewhere in W8 or W11.

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