Two of my friends from my writer’s group attend the New England Crime Bake every year, and have met with great success with the Flashwords contest. The contest asks writers to create a 150-word story about a crime using ten out twenty words selected from featured novels. I’ve been impressed and inspired by their work, so I decided to try the exercise. (Who are these two friends, you might ask? One is Margo Carey, on Twitter @novatrek, author of The Haunted Pen, and the other is Dianne Herlihy author of Dianne’s Place)
I’m not really a crime writer (or not right now, anyway…who knows what I might one day write?), so I decided to choose words from the book I’ve been using to ease myself into my writing sessions lately: The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. The result of my experiment is below:
Assignment: 150-word story using at least 10 of the 20 words chosen from The Poetry of Robert Frost
20 words: kitchen, dusty, rough, undergrowth, burned, witchcraft, strand, stirred, violin, conspire, lure, flattened, preach, constellation, stroke, prey, ancient, expand, parasite, curves
The Song in the Night
The lure of the violin was strong, especially on a night so like that other, when her father had disappeared. The fluid notes sang brilliantly through the sky, calling to Hester. Unresisting, she entered the dark forest.
Each stroke of bow on strings conspired to bring Hester deeper. Constellations gazed down, blinking a warning, but their ancient wisdom did not reach Hester.
Finally, the source was straight ahead. Light burned through the curves of the branches. She crept forward to look.
Her father’s face stared at her across the wooden body of the glowing instrument. What witchcraft was this? The bow paused. He beckoned. Hester advanced, then saw the unnatural gleam in the eyes, the gaunt shadows of the face. This was a parasite. She was prey. Hester broke her gaze from his and turned away.
Behind her, the music resumed.
Hester’s will was flattened. She swayed toward her doom.
What do you think? I’d love to see other stories using these words, or stories based on your own words, taken from a different text. If you try this experiment, I hope you’ll post your story below!
Special thanks to Margo and Dianne for the inspiration. You’ll be hearing more from them one day soon!