See*Photo*Write Challenge Response

Click here for this week’s See*Photo*Write Challenge at 1st Writes.


Boo Boos and Band-aids

Luke gently washed Lily’s scraped knee with a washcloth before carefully applying a band-aid. Sitting back on his heels and digging in the pocket of his jeans, he rummaged through quarters, a couple of rocks, and pocket lint until he finally dug out a strawberry Jolly Rancher, which he handed to his sister. “Take this and call me in the morning if you don’t feel better.”

Lily giggled and popped the hot, sticky sweet into her mouth. “Thank you, Doctor Luke.”

This was a familiar routine as Lily accumulated scrapes and cuts like most little girls seemed to accumulate hair barrettes.

Luke stood up from the floor and washed his hands in the kitchen sink. Just as he pulled open the back door, he heard Lily ask, “Where you goin’?

Sighing, Luke said, “Out,” and slammed the door. He didn’t need to see Lily to know her lower lip was trembling and her eyes were filling with tears that had nothing to do with her bloody knee.  By the time he reached his bike at the edge of the driveway, Luke had managed to block all thoughts of his little sister from his mind. A boy needed time alone.


I liked Luke and Lily so much after writing their story for the 1st Campaigner Challenge that I decided to write about them again for the See*Photo*Write Challenge.

Campaign Challenge #1

The first Platform Building Campaign Challenge is to write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open”.

The Escape

The door swung open, bounced off the rubber door stopper, and swung back, hitting the little girl in the face. “Oww!” she cried, rubbing the center of her forehead where the doorknob struck.

The boy stretched out on the bottom bunk gave no reaction and kept reading his book.



“You promised to play a game with me.”

“I’m busy.”

Stepping into the room, Lily asked, “What are you doing?”

Raising one dark eyebrow, Luke replied without looking up. “Duh! I’m reading.”

“Watcha’ reading?”

“A book.”

“Duh! What book?”

“You wouldn’t know it.”

“Maybe I would.” Lily sat lightly at the foot of Luke’s bed.

“It’s for big kids.”

“You’re not so big.”

Luke sighed. “I meant older kids.”

Footsteps stomped overhead. Looking up, Lily swallowed. “Hank’s home.”

“Yeah,” Luke said, finally glancing up from his book.

The children listened to the muffled sounds of slamming cabinets and swearing through the ceiling.

Luke moved over on his bed. “Come here, Lily.”

Lily crawled eagerly up the bed to lie beside her brother, who opened his book and read aloud, drowning out the noise from above.

Comforted by each other’s warmth, the children escaped into the world of Harry Potter.


Here is this week’s response to 1st Write’s See*Photo*Write Challenge:


Why didn’t I listen to my mother? She always told me: “Whatever you do, no matter how tragic your dating life seems, promise me you will not go on a reality dating show.”

Yet here I am at the north pole of a planet called Earth for a picnic at sunset –my prize for winning 1st place on Stardate. The temperature is freezing and there is nothing interesting in sight. The picture the producers showed us promised a remarkable sunset, but there is nothing remarkable about this place.

Ironically, there is nothing remarkable about my date either. During the show, Troy seemed intelligent and fun, but apparently nothing on Stardate is as it appears.

“Can you believe this?” I asked Troy. “They completely tricked us with a phony photo.”

“Yeah.” Troy agreed. “I mean, like, where are the reindeer and elves, man?”

Ah! A mother’s revenge is sweet.

Brother John

Here is my response to this week’s See*Photo*Write Challenge at 1st Writes:

John’s words startled the serenity surrounding the Sieur de Monts Spring. “Now that Mother is gone, I can finally put you where you belong.”

Elizabeth’s attention was elsewhere as it usually was. John had spent a lifetime dealing with his sister’s flights of fancy. For years John had suffocated under the weight of caring for his mentally ill sister. In a few hours, he’d be free; he’d finally be able to breathe.

Bull frogs along the bank croaked; crickets chirped; insects buzzed. A luminous fog veiled the water’s surface. John had been waiting for the opportunity to commit his sister to a mental institution. Now that the moment had arrived, he felt no reservations.

“Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, brother John? Brother John,” Elizabeth’s childlike voice singsonged.

Despite the heat of the day, John felt chills creep down his spine. Before he knew what was happening, Elizabeth swung her parasol at him, knocking him into the water. Sputtering and choking, he rose above the surface only to be pushed back down by his sister’s surprisingly strong hand.

“Morning bells are ringing; morning bells are ringing…” Were the last words John heard before his lungs filled with water.

Rained Out

The following is my (late) response to the See Photo Write Challenge hosted weekly by 1st Writes:

“This sucks! Can we go home now?” The rain had been pouring for at least an hour. Not that I minded getting wet while running and splashing through puddles. But the stupid thunder and lightening made that impossible.

There obviously wasn’t going to be a cookout today, so why were all the grown-ups standing around like a bunch of weathermen talking about whether it would clear up or get worse.

Well, things couldn’t get worse for me! I’d only come along with my parents so I could go swimming. Now that was definitely out of the question. I paced back and forth under the pavilion kicking little stones out of my way with the front of my flip-flop and sending dirty looks at my mom’s back.

When that failed to get any attention, I sighed loudly and plopped down at a wooden table. Propping my chin in my hands, I watched the rain and imagined having cool parents who went to yacht parties instead of picnics. I bet when it rained at a yacht party, they still served food. And fancy food too, like caviar and pate.

Finally my mom came over to tell me we were leaving. “It’s about time!” I stood up fast and took off running to the car, not giving her a chance to say ‘one more minute’ and not caring when the rain drenched me from hair to toes. It felt awesome!


A Flash of Fiction

Dear Mama,

The explosion made the ground shake and blinded me like the fireworks on the 4th of July, but do not worry, Mama. I am not in pain. My chest is tight and it’s hard to breathe, but I feel no fear. The light on my helmet still works; though I can barely make out my hand and the paper I write on.

I don’t know if Father managed to make it to the outside. I cannot see or hear anyone else around me. Perhaps they perished under the crushing rock. I was spared, but it’s some powerful bad air in here now, Mama.

Tell Miss Rosemary that I’m sorry for causing a ruckus in Sunday school. Putting that snake on her chair was stupid. I didn’t figure she’d faint dead away or that Felix Miller would pick the snake up and chase all the girls with it. Tell her she was right all along. There is a God and he is with me now. When the stone is rolled away from my grave, do not grieve – for I have risen like Jesus. Someday Mama we will be together again in Heaven.

Air is running out, Mama. I think I should panic, but I feel only peace. Soon I will be free from this cold, dark tomb. No more laboring for hours underground. No more days shoveling coal. No more working for the Company. Do not mourn for me, dearest mother, celebrate instead. For today is my Independence Day.

Your boy,


Date with Dialogue

I’m still working on getting to know my character. Today is an exercise on character development through dialogue, which provides a writer with a way to reveal character and relationships without telling the reader anything in the narration. Characters need to have a distinct appearance and personality and this unique personality can be conveyed to the reader through the character’s words.


Some grammar to remember when writing dialogue:

  • Commas, periods, question marks and exclamation points go inside the close speech mark.
  • If dialogue is broken at the end of a sentence, then resumed, the restarted speech will begin with a capital letter but the dialogue tag will begin with a lowercase letter. (“Hi,” she said. “How are you?”)
  • If the speech is interrupted mid-sentence, it resumes with a lower case letter. (“How have you,” she questioned, “been feeling lately.”)

Prompt – Your main character has invited you to lunch.  Where does he/she meet you?  What is ordered?  What do you talk about?**

**My main character did not invite me to lunch; she invited a supporting character from the story.

My Exercise –

“Welcome to Red Robin! Would you like to order drinks or do you need a moment?” The bubbly waitress asked.

“Orange smoothie,” the young girl crossed her arms against her chest.

“I’ll have water with lemon,” her companion smiled politely.

The waitress nodded and bounced off to get their drinks. The young girl slumped down in the booth with a pout.

“Look, I know…” the woman on the opposite side of the table started.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” the girl interrupted sullenly.

“Fine,” the woman sighed in resignation.

The two locked eyes across the table. The woman broke the stare first and the girl smiled as if a huge victory had been won.

The waitress returned with a plain glass of water, lemon perched on the side and a much fancier glass  filled to the brim with orange-tinted vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream and a slice of orange for decoration.

“Are you ready to order?” The waitress asked after placing the drinks on the paper coasters in front of her customers.

“Cheeseburger,” the girl dramatically rolled her eyes before continuing, “but I have to substitute a veggie burger.” She stared pointedly across the table.

“Make that two,” the woman replied unfazed and handed her menu to the waitress.

With a puzzled look, the waitress took the menus and left to submit their order.

“I didn’t know you were so eager to eat real meat, dear.”

“Ewww!” Her nose wrinkled and her body twitched. “I’m just so mad.” Her rigid, belligerent posture deflated like a balloon.

“I am sorry, you know.” Leaning over and reaching her hand across the table, the woman brushed a strand of silky brown hair behind the girl’s ear.

Leaning into the touch, the girl frowned. “If you were really sorry, we wouldn’t have to move.”

Slowly pulling her hand away, the woman sat back heavily. “I’m sorry that it’s going to be hard on you, but I’m not sorry that we are moving. It’s final and no amount of pouting or smarting off is going to change that.”

The waitress returned with a basket of steak fries, placing it in the center of the table and slicing through the thick tension of the moment.

Leave a comment if you decide to try this exercise on your blog!