Robin Hawke

Cold Front
October 17, 2011, 12:50 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The windchimes signaled the blustery approach of a front from the north. The cold,  good news for the apple crop, would sweeten fruity flesh. Matthew’s trouble: he wanted to fall asleep with the trees, wake in the spring.

October 16, 2011, 11:57 AM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

I hate the stink of alcohol on her breath, so I spend the night watching her snore from the chair. I notice she should dye her roots, that her dress is torn. In the morning, I leave my cushion, jump up to share her pillow, a reminder she needs to feed me.

Sum Total
October 15, 2011, 7:26 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

The writer stared at her keyboard, wrote one hundred words, deleted seventy. The writer took a shower, stared at her notepad, added fifty words, crossed out thirty, rewrote forty. The writer took a nap, crossed out twenty words, rewrote, rewrote, rewrote. The writer made a snack, answered emails, got distracted by her work and went to bed. Then she dreamed. The writer woke, wrote one hundred words, deleted eighty. She took a shower, stared at her keyboard, added sixty words, deleted forty, rewrote twenty. The writer, never satisfied, rewrote the beginning, added thirty words, subtracted fifty, changed twenty, improved forty.

Note: If self-criticism is a red stoplight, keep moving, pay no attention. If it motivates you to improve, then it’s a green light no matter how often you stop.

Read entries to "satisfied" prompt.

October 15, 2011, 3:29 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Selia’s college romance followed her to class, took her into sanctuaries, likened her to a pumpkin, stood beside her at an altar. His dreams took her by surprise. He left behind a book of poems Selia never read and memories she still loved.

Binding Knots
October 14, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

Sammy accompanied his grandfather to the clapboard shelter with two doors. The doorknob on the right was two feet lower than the doorknob on the left. Sammy stood before the right, a pleased smile on his face. Simultaneously, they reached out, opened doors and entered the workroom.

Grandfather picked up a bobbin, Sammy on his lap.

“What should we make?”

“A firefly!”

With precision, Grandfather tied a series of knots. His work was capable of fooling fish.

“You may breathe.”

Sammy’s breath lifted the insect off the table. From the doorways, they watched it phosphoresce, a dance to the setting sun.

Flash Friday

Click to read entries and see photo prompt...

October 14, 2011, 12:01 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Their activities left them hungry. They walked a block, to the diner where they were regulars, ordered hash with funny white cubes, fried eggs and three cups of coffee each. It was a weekly refill.

Another Halloween
October 13, 2011, 6:27 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , ,

The creepy night thrilled with moans and cries. The group of boys ran down the street lined with oaks and poplars.

A woman in strange spectacles doled out candy through the webbing that decorated her doorway. She cheated and gave the little ones a few extra chocolates. She noticed a frail, tall boy hanging back. All he had on was a Nixon mask. She motioned him forward and put some chocolates in his orange plastic bag. He nodded his thanks and turned to run off. Noticing his frayed sneakers and bare corduroys, she wondered if she should have given him more candy. From the looks of it, he was going through one of those growth spurts that swallowed every ounce of fat.

The boys knocked and rang bells, thrust forward pillow cases and plastic pumpkins, dutifully screamed thank you. They took turns with tales of razor blades or of the time they used five rolls of toilet paper. They ranged along five or six more blocks and, one by one, dropped out to head home and count their stash. Dracula went inside the house on the corner of Park and Washington. Hunchback followed Doctor into a house on Locust. Nixon walked Ghost up the path to his home, came back to join Freak, Creature and Mummy to run another block.

Past curfew, only the lanky trickster remained outside. The bag of candy hung on a swing, left in gentle motion.  The rubber mask adorned the black plastic bag of park trash.

Fishing for his jacket under a bush, Nixon congratulated himself that his skeletal body was good for something. He grabbed his keys, skulked near the trees, ran to his car, got away.

The prompt is: …mask….Click to read entries.

October 13, 2011, 2:28 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The den would be an adorable nursery. Meagan spent months leafing through wallpaper patterns and fabric swatches. Her husband looked over her shoulder without passing opinions; the room remained his hideout.


I wrote my first six word story on August 19, 2011:

Love seconds, if I hit redial.

I was cheered, lucky:  a college friend immediately emailed her support for more short short writing. She said something about marathons and sprints–I wish I could recapture her words–the gist was that training for marathons requires intensive, powerful bursts of exercise.

Since August 19th, I’ve written a six word story every day.

Almost one month later, on September 11, I attended an outdoor craft fair in Old Alexandria, Virginia. The streets were closed to traffic. Men in tuxedos walked out of a church, looking for something to eat. I sat down on a four inch stone window ledge and wrote in a spiral bound (notable for all the words I’ve crossed in it) notebook:

The bride kept dancing with Steve.

That month I submitted the story for a contest…and I won! My story will be published in Fast Forward Press’s next anthology of flash fiction. The prize is beyond thrilling and, like my best friend, provides me with another straw of incentive to continue writing.

Thank you Lys, thank you Fast Forward Press, thank you blog subscribers, thank you anonymous men in tuxes.

October 12, 2011, 1:29 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

One year, an anniversary. Tanya’s smile tugged at her partner’s heart, who reached around with warm arms, loosening more memories.

“You would have liked each other.”

October 11, 2011, 4:22 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

Nancy followed her dream, saved ideas and spare money for years. Did her dream become reality? You decide.

Her fledgling shop offered the best cashmere, the softest silks, the warmest woolens. Her vision was unequivocal. No detail trivial, Nancy chose her products with precision plus an eye for the exquisite. Her displays became small works of art—enticing still lifes—capable of cajoling future customers.

The shop fulfilled her; she was proud of owning her first business. That is, until she locked the doors a final time. She could not ignore the first lesson of retail: A is for advertising.

100 Words for Grown Ups

The prompt this week is: …the alphabet….Click to read entries.

A Week of Six Word Stories, October 4-10
October 11, 2011, 2:02 PM
Filed under: Six Word Stories

She rejoiced in darkness, welcomed light.

She provided his soul a home.

Nolan benefited from remembering her charms.

A lullaby. That’s what it took.

One Great Dane. One Poodle. An accident.

They slept alone, always danced together.

When it became difficult, he stayed.

Link to related posts.

(These stories were posted, one by one, on DIY Romance, where you will find more six word stories. Feel free to submit your own.)

October 11, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Linda put down the six hundred page book in disgust, the one read cover-to-cover in three days. Engaged from the first sentence through the last, by the heroine, with unfolding events,  Linda wanted closure, a temporary wrap-up, a stopping point—while she waited years for the rest of the series to be written. “All that time I spent reading a work in progress…”

October 10, 2011, 3:29 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Jared was pleasant looking, polite if an unexceptional conversationalist, and a considerate date. She could do worse. Invited inside his apartment, she curtailed the third date, summarily dismissed his prospects, when she noticed his dolls.

Deep Sigh (Mine)
October 9, 2011, 5:47 PM
Filed under: Quotations

“Dear Julie:
If I didn’t feel that there is some good in your story, I wouldn’t take the time to write a criticism of it. But there is some good in it, some points that make me feel that if you expend the effort (Look who’s talking about expending the effort, I couldn’t help thinking) you may well achieve your very worthy ambition.

First of all, you have an ear for cadence. Your sentences flow rather smoothly, and the continuity of your paragraphs is quite good.

Secondly, your imagery is sharp and clear-cut. I could smell that dank, rat-infested attic and I was more than a little in love with your pretty heroine by the time she emerged from her third paragraph. Furthermore, you occasionally achieve poetic effects which are pleasing.

But, my darling niece, your villains have nothing but venom in their souls, and your sympathetic characters are ready to step right off into Paradise without one spot to tarnish their purity. People aren’t like that, Julie. Take a look around you.

Again, all your colors, your moods, your nusances, are essentially feminine, and it just doesn’t ring true to be told that a man is responsible for them. No, Julie, it will be a long time before you speak and think and feel like an anguished old German musician of eighty!

And, after all, what do you know about the problems of musical composition, or the life of an impoverised German laborer such as the landlord in his nineteenth-century environment? And how much do you know about sadism and brutality?

I must talk to you about any number of points. When you get home from school tomorrow, I shall have some recommendations to make; also some assignments. I am quite excited. It well may be that I have the making of a future writer in my hands.
Uncle Haskell”

―Irene Hunt, from Up a Road Slowly

October 9, 2011, 3:21 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The salesman on the phone was selling porcelain boxes, no longer made in France.

Sally remained professional as the call lengthened and took a personal tone.

But when he said her voice was beautiful, sexy, like a brook, she accepted a date with the French talker.

October 8, 2011, 1:41 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Niggle, niggle, niggle; the niggling thought returned. Do something about that niggle-niggle thought. If only…concentrate on the niggle and not those other figgle niggles.

The Note
October 7, 2011, 2:52 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

There was a note on the desk. Sonja felt the pinpricks of tears, the swale of feelings that heralded gushing emotions. Trembling fingers opened a grocery list.

School Days
October 6, 2011, 4:23 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

He looked through the window, up at the blue sky and fluffy clouds.  Jacob’s plans to enjoy the last days of summer felt like soap bubbles, ready to pop.

School started Tuesday. His mother wanted to take him shopping. Mom liked new clothes. His father wanted to take him fishing, to teach him a few tricks from his youth in big sky country. Like Jacob wanted to brave the winds.

The unseasonal weather was mucking up everything. Plans for twelve hour school days were in the works, approved. With snow on the ground, no one knew what February would bring.

100 Words for Grown Ups

The prompt this week is: …the unseasonal weather….Click to read entries.

Punctuation Rant (em dash)
October 6, 2011, 3:37 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Oh, the em dash!

It’s not a hyphen; it’s not a dash, or the length of the letter ‘n’.

It’s longer, twice ‘n’, one ‘m’.

I want an em dash on my keyboard.

Used properly, there is no space before, no space after, like xox, not x o x.

It’s absent from comment boxes—I’m forced to use a dash dash or space dash space, or rewrite. Don’t tell me there’s a number code or html snippet I can use. Have you seen them? Can you remember them? Do they ever work, except when coding?

Devil take the empty box that signifies unknown character; I want the em dash to appear in emails with all its linear beauty.

The em dash is a long jump. Its length communicates the distance between phrases: positioned to tickle the word before it, to scratch the word that comes.

Oh, the em dash!

October 6, 2011, 1:47 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

She found bliss in her garden, tending beans, peppers and other vegetables. She found comfort cooking stews full of vitamins and natural goodness. Her sorrow came after her stews were eaten, their aftertaste gone—the dream of hearth and home a shell of togetherness.

October 5, 2011, 1:19 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The cat scratched at the window making resonant thumps. He wanted out. Finally free, Twinkles pounced, missed the stunned bird by a thwack.

A Week of Six Word Stories, September 27-October 3
October 4, 2011, 3:56 PM
Filed under: Six Word Stories

They kissed, forgot hour, minute, second.

A chalky pallor turned to roses.

A house, six children, two cultures.

Jonathon handed me sunflowers, forgetting allergies.

The scandal came home, a shadow.

He kept horizontal, her daily yoke.

“We’ll be friends?” Then the lie.

Link to related posts.

(These stories were posted, one by one, on DIY Romance, where you will find more six word stories. Feel free to submit your own.)

Tagging Award
October 4, 2011, 3:41 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Liebster Award is given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Thank you Liz Shaw of The Writing Reader. It took me a while to respond–I’m trying to write!

As part of the honor, I choose five more blogs that deserve kudos and more readers. I didn’t look far, these kind writers (in no particular order) have commented frequently on my blog giving me support and incentive:



The Wild Pomegranate

Out of Woods

Thin Spiral Notebook

Liebster Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that gave you the award AND create a link back to their blog.
  2. Leave a comment on the blogs you have chosen.
  3. Post the award on your own blog.

Gift Giver
October 4, 2011, 2:15 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

Everyday there were gifts on her desk: a plastic toy, a rainbow sticker, a wilted leaf. Heady with his attention, Doris allowed him to dampen her sheets. The next gift was a knife in her heart.

Voice Week Recap
October 3, 2011, 10:02 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , ,

I debated participating in Voice Week 2011. Worried it would push publication of my next book, Recommending Honey, back by a week, which it did, I almost clicked away from the site.

But, the opportunity was too alluring. It was a challenge; it would lead me to discovery; there was certain surprise (I had no idea what to write about, the voices I’d want to explore); the voyage included other like-minded writers.

I learned by writing, by reading, by analyzing, by commiserating and by constraint. Always, mistakes teach me more than successes. I learned punctuation is a variable–some characters prefer commas to semicolons and I agonized over a period and also a colon; I learned to distrust the words that came naturally; I learned syntax will nail a voice more surely than vocabulary words.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to comment on my five voices and a special thank you for bekindrewrite who constructed the necessary restraints to let these voices out.

In order (opposite of blog order):

Voice 1
Voice 2
Voice 3
Voice 4
Voice 5

October 3, 2011, 9:31 PM
Filed under: Quotations

Love—massively destructive to hatred, selfishness and greed. Use liberally.

—Cathryn Louis

October 3, 2011, 1:49 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

An inconvenient thought led him to say, “It’s late.”

Marley stood up, brushed her dress.

The guiltless evening over, Sam returned home to hear, “What have you been doing, you cur?”

October 2, 2011, 2:11 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

I felt like a spider: I wove my web, caught my prey, devoured the goodness. If I could have discarded the husk I would have, but it stuck to me.

October 1, 2011, 3:17 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: ,

There was no boy happier with summer. Matt slept until noon, ate bowls of peanut buttery nuggets and napped by the pool. While Mom sunbathed and Dad played golf, he explored the woods with a slingshot.

“Cool.” Matt scraped his back on the way in, but the cave soon widened into a round chamber. An overhead crack admitted a fan of light. Blinking, rubbing his eyes, he saw sleeping dragons. Hundreds of them.

“Whoa.” Whoops, they woke and flew away, exiting through the crack. Matt clambered out—to see them in brilliant flight—but found bats catching bugs at dusk.

Read entries to "widened" prompt.