#5MinuteFiction Week 67

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre

* You must BEGIN your entry with today’s prompt: I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Jerry Gentry, @JerryLGentry, author of SYN:FIN, will nominate five finalists. (Jerry joined us for a 5MinuteInterview yesterday. If you missed it then, check it out now.)

I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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22 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 67

  1. DL Thurston says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. A man, standing in the middle of the desert, stripped down to just his skivvies and a pair of boots. In the sky he sees a flash of light, and knows that they’re coming, one more time, hunting him down.

    He would run. Panic would flood his veins. In that moment he would think of all the things that brought him to that point, as he crossed the desolated space that was once the I-95 corridor. He would know there was a city behind him, another ahead of him, both years away as the world moved on and left this land as a memory.

    They would know who he was. Where he was going. His entire life would be a fight against their rule, forcing them back, trying to take back some little semblance of humanity on an earth so thoroughly ruined. Finding other survivors, others that were looking to create civilization again.

    It all ran through my head, all coalesced into one as my heart pounded in my chest, as my mind raced, and as my adrenal glands opened up to flood my body with one last push to just run.

    See. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. But it’s not how I would ever expect to start my autobiography.

    DL Thurston recently posted..A Writer Reviews: AbraxasMy Profile

  2. Nicole says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start: me, lying face-down in a pile of my own vomit. That’s how ever good story begins — some catalyst, a horrible event that usually involves alcohol and mooning a convienence store full of cops.

    Of course, I don’t drink.

    I’ve been around the block a few times, though. Two years ago I went down to the garbage dump and spent three hours trying to track down my missing cat. Oh yeah — it was big fun. Try as I might, though, no good plot bunnies jumped out at me. I’m aware the world is a weird and wonderful place, and I just need to find my story.

    The glass is cool in my hand. Just one little drink . . . it can’t hurt a thing.

    Nicole recently posted..Five Minute Fiction: Three-Eyed FishMy Profile

  3. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.

    Not that I’m exactly the novel-writing type. Don’t ya gotta be some sort of pasty-ass pansy to do that sort of smart shit?

    But, yeah, in the story of my life–movie maybe–it would open up with an explosion. Blockbuster-type. Maybe Bruce Willis playing me running away from a big ol’ fireball.

    The fireball would be my neighbors’ house, cause they really piss me off.

    There’s be skydiving too. Not me, cause I get airsick. But there’s a few people I’d like to kick out of a plane at 10,000 feet.

    Motorcycle riding, definitely that. Mom’s got a killer hog. She never lets me ride it, but in the movie, I’d be riding the hell out of it.

    And sex. Lots and lots of dirty sex with those blond-haired bunnies on that show. Ten of them at least. At a time.

    Cause I’m going to have sex one of these days. Promise you that. Thirty-five years is a long time to wait. Serious blue-balls, man.
    Leah Petersen recently posted..#5MinuteInterview: Jerry Gentry & SYN:FINMy Profile

  4. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. Me, at my desk, laptop open, gazing out at the birds in the yard, waiting for just the right inspiration. The cats would laze nearby, offering their warmth and fuzziness to the overall calm mood. My children would be in the playroom, pouring pretend tea for their dolls, eating pretend cupcakes. A ray of light would slant in just the right. I would smile, and the words would begin to flow out of me.

    The cat puked. A bird just attempted suicide by divebombing the window by my desk. And my children… oh my. You just don’t want to know.

    …the horror…

    Oh! Hey I just had an idea for the start of a great story…

    Twitter @US_Nessie

  5. Kaolin Fire says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. Meta, you know? Though you don’t know that for sure—I could be lying, or changing things as I go. To better the narrative, or just to get you thinking. Hell, it could just be to fuck with you, but I can’t let you know that for sure—if I hang a lantern on it, will you nod and move on? The unreliable narrator telling you all his tricks, all his dirty little secrets. There is genius in simplicity; and vice versa.

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. And I’ve written that line a thousand times, wondering what would come after. Seeing what comes after, and starting anew. Reading, you’re only privy to the lines that stayed—or rather, what they became after editing, round and round.

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.

    And this is how it would end.


  6. Wendy Strain says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. It would be a dark, stormy night … or maybe that’s too cheesy. It would be in bright daylight, but then there’s no suspense. What do writer’s do when they’re starting out? The pressure of the white page, the insistent black cursor just blinking at you, waiting for you to do something, the voices in your head all clamoring to be the first one out, the rules of writing that these first words have to be absolutely captivating coupled with the realization that anything worth saying has already been said thousands of times before now and always by people already famous.

    Now what? My novel isn’t even started and already I’m defeated. There’s nothing more to say. Why write? Well, because when we popped into her bedroom, we overheard her talking on the phone. She was talking with her mother.

    “Because it’s the only way to protect my baby,” she was saying.

    Baby? There weren’t any signs of baby in the house.

    “He wants me to have an abortion,” she said.

    Oh! That baby – the one that isn’t showing yet.

    “I’m not going to put up with his bullying anymore. It isn’t about me this time, Mom, it’s about my baby. I want to keep it.”

    Bullying? Baby? Abortion? Pregnant and alone and maybe fighting against someone who means her harm? What is she going to do now? Now we have a story.


  7. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start, with an explosion.
    Holding tightly to the harness that kept me strapped to my mount, we banked hard to the left, pressing new bruises over those long old. I’d been flying under MeerDacts for a decade and was used to their patterns, but I could feel the girl’s panic at the sudden fire in her sky.
    “Shhh, it’s alright, Nessie. You’re okay. Bert is okay.” I referred to her mate, also in the sky with a small woman like me strapped to her belly. We were scouts, we didn’t carry artillery and we weren’t supposed to be targets. Nothing was supposed to be able to hit us reliably this far off the ground.
    That had changed, the rules had changed. That made a good concept for the novel. I had been toying with the idea of retirement and writing for a few seasons now. My bones and joints, still crying from the hard turn, would make the decision for me soon.
    Nessie pulled in alongside Bert, giving her mate a cry of recognition and was answered in kind. Gail was fine as well.
    “What in the hell was that?” she asked, shouting over the wind our MeerDacts wings made.
    I shook my head. I had no idea. I just wanted to get on the ground and tell the brass about it.
    Another fireball flared in our vision. Retirement might not wait.

    Kimberly Gould recently posted..Second signingMy Profile

  8. M. A. Fink says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.

    A massive booming sound, as if it were erupting from a bottomless pit, filled my head from my scalp to my neck, the latter beginning to twist in an odd, increasingly alarming angle. Bits of sparkling matter soared like glass seagulls before my eyes.

    My body was floating, slowly yet inexorably, past the now-shattered windshield. A drawn out tone now overwhelmed the fading boom; it took me long moments to figure out it was the treacle-slow sound of a car’s horn, along with the cat-wail of tires still skidding on blacktop.

    My form, now finally free of the little subcompact car, glided in what was probably a graceful arc if my 45-degree neck would have allowed me to see it. As it was, I saw a little boy holding his mother’s hand, both of their faces nearly frozen in morphing expressions of shock.

    And that’s all I remember.

    “You’re right,” said the surgeon as he placed the mask over my face. “That would make a great book.”


  9. MMMReader says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. However, I thought my heroine would be thirteen not thirty. In truth, living through something like this is just way too surreal. So how can this be? And how is it that I did not know before now? It makes no since at all, but this morning, my mom calls from the emergency room. She’s had a car accident and its just now dawned on her that she might want to tell me that my father is not who I thought he was. The wonderful man who raised me was just a stand in for some sort of a wizard? She must be high. They gave her pain killers. That is the only possible explanation.

    Then again, if I am half wizard, that would explain so much.


  10. Jen DeSantis says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. The only difference would have been that it would be happening to fictional characters instead of me and my husband.
    The hero, strong and brave, would step in front of the tough as nails, though fragile, heroine when the antagonist pulled the gun.

    The thing is, I didn’t want my husband, currently playing the hero, in front of a gun. Nor did I, the not so tough as nails heroine, want to be looking down the black hole of a revolver. I knew it was a revolver from the research I did for my erstwhile novel. Who the fuck thinks these things during a mugging?

    Oh right, I do.

    “Give me your damn wallet,” our pimpled assailant squeaked.

    Wait, what? Squeaked? Yes. I was being held at gunpoint by a barely legal boy whose voice hadn’t fully gone through puberty. This stuff was only supposed to happen in stories. In a story, however, this wouldn’t be believable.

    My brave husband squared his shoulders and I wondered if he’d talk back to the poor excuse for a hood. But no, he did the smart thing and threw his wallet at the kid. It bounced of his chest and landed, open, on the ground in front of the gunman.

    The kid was so excited to see the money sticking out, he let the gun fall to his side and bent down to pick up the wallet. That’s when my heroine alter-ego decided to kick into high gear. I kicked him full force between the eyes with my steel-toed Doc Martin. Pimple-face dropped to the ground, blood spurting out of his nose and gun forgotten. My daring husband grabbed the gun and I grabbed my cell phone.

    As I hung up with the police, my foot square in the teenager’s back, my husband turned to me with a smile on his face. “You’ve got to write this someday, babe.”


  11. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start, a down and out detective, a sexy blonde in trouble and a fist full of cliches. This was noir. This wasn’t a novel though, this was real, you see a down and out writer needs a day job and there are always cheating husbands and jealouse jealous wives (or vise versa) and there was always a scumbag needing a few bucks willing to find said cheating husbands or wives doing the deeds and take lurid photos of them. That’s me, well, it’s not who I am, just what I do. It’s a means to an end. Now it appeared as if my day job and my night job were coming crashing together. This blonde, buxom, and dripping with sex appeared at my door, if she was any closer to a character from one of my stories she would be wrapped in words and adorned with letters. It was time for a drink.
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  12. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. There would be some big bang of something exploding or something incredible that would hook the reader in. However, when I looked at this … this crap on my desk, I realized the only thing it would hook would be a nap.

    Angrily, I crumbled up the few pages of crap I wrote and threw them into the metal trash can next to my desk. The can was starting to get full from all of the other bits of garbage I had tried to write.

    There were so many distractions. First the kids ran in, assuming that if I was home, that meant I was available to them. Then someone would call me or text me … or the time suck of all, someone would mention me on Twitter. If I logged onto my twitter account, an hour would pass before I realized what happened. Once that happened, it was just a free pass to any kind of distraction … blog posts I just HAD to read, the news would be on, my husband would be home from work, the list was never-ending.

    Methinks I needed to unplug my computer, grab my notebook, and go to the park to free myself of my home distractions … maybe I could write there and make something blow up … or something worth reading.

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  13. Killian says:

    “I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.”

    Chester rolled his eyes. “Stop that.”


    He put down his fork and glared at Maude. “For the hundredth time, I’m begging you, do not use our life as material.”

    Maude seemed perplexed. Which, quite frankly, was her default mode. “The writer must write what she knows. What else do you expect me to write about?”

    “In this whole, wide world the only thing you know is your stupidity, my frustration, and the comedic irony that is our relationship?” He renewed homage to his eggs. “What about quilting? I thought you liked quilting?”

    Now it was Maude’s turn to roll her eyes. “No one wants to read a heated romance or a heart-stopping thriller about tapestry arts.”

    “What about ‘How to Make an American Quilt?'”

    Mauve put down her notepad and huffed. “An exception, and besides, I think that one book probably sated the entire audience of people asking for stitching fiction.”

    Chester nodded. “I guess. But I still stand by my statement. Don’t use this or me for material. No one wants to read about it.”

    Chester returned to his eggs, Maude to her scribbling. After a few minutes, Chester looked up again.

    “Maude, where’s the vial of poison?”

    She grinned. “How are those eggs tasting?”


  14. John Hancock says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.
    I used to think a lot of things. At least, I used to think a lot of things in conscious world.
    None of those thoughts really help me now.

    I live in a lemon-colored world of mist and jagged peaks of pain. I live there alone.
    Thoughts come to visit, stay a while, much too short, and then shred themselves back into the mist.
    I try to make them stay, but I’m not strong enough. I have no hands, and I’ve forgotten how to hold things that are important to me.

    The only thought that keeps me company is the short “oh damn” I remember leaving my lips as I looked up and saw the building as it collapsed on top of me. I remember thinking how decorative the cornice was as it slewed towards my head.

    That thought is on permanent replay. I can see the street, oily and smelly with the ambience of NYC under constant construction. I feel the scaffolding tunnel around me before the building falls.
    I remember holding my novel, double-spaced with precise margins.

    My suit was herringbone. My hair was touched with blue dye. I had spats that were the type of affectation an aspiring artist surrounds himself in to be different, to be noticed, to be iconclast and misanthropic.

    Where was I born? My name? There had to be a life before that 2 minute film clip in my head. I can’t reach it. It seems beyond my horizon.

    In the mist, I try to draw memories and thoughts to me. They flee, they wither, they die.

    Am I dead? Is this heaven or hell?

    I would cry, but I have no eyes.

    So l look up at the building as it tumbles towards me. It feels like the beginning of a novel. But it’s the end of me.
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  15. @aftergadget

    “I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start,” Leah said, twining her hair around her finger. “There would be a girl, an orphan, and she’d be living with her wicked step-mother and her wicked step-sisters, and the only one who was nice to her would be her dad, but he’d die in a car wreck, and she’d be all alone-”

    “Omigod, that is so stupid,” Charlene rolled her eyes. “Every story is about an orphan. And if it’s a girl, she’s always motherless, and her father is the good guy until he dies. I mean, didn’t you ever even read any of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales? That’s how they all go. It’s like, back when they wrote them, nobody ever had a living set of parents or anything.”

    “Well, maybe they didn’t!” Leah was sitting up in bed now, her cheeks were splotchy. She tossed back her dirty brown hair. “You know, there was probably a lot of mortality back then from the Plague and things. Even if they didn’t have divorce, people were probably dropping left and right from having sewage in the streets and not washing their hands and … and … you know, syphillis or something!”

    She hoped saying the name of a sex disease would shut up Charlene, but it didn’t.

    “Well, okay, fine. So, people dropped like flies. But then, would ALL the kids be orphans, huh? I mean, wouldn’t the kids die, too, if the Plague were killing everyone? How come the girls were all still beautiful and snowy-white and all that shit, with perfect complexions, if everyone had TB and leprosy and stuff? Why don’t any of these brilliant, gorgeous orphans have missing limbs? Why don’t any of them have neurological issues? Like tremors or ADD?”

    “Omigod!” This time it was Leah’s turn to be disgusted. “It’s a NOVEL, OK? It’s supposed to be FUN. It’s supposed to be an ESCAPE. Nobody wants to read about kids with two living parents who just don’t want them! Nobody wants to read about kids with CP living in, you know,” she gestured around her at the thin metal beds with their bedrails, the wheelchairs lined up against the wall. “Nobody wants to read about people like us.”

    “Some day somebody will,” Charlene said. “Some day there will be novels about kids in hospital schools. About heroes with CP and princesses with MD. What’s so different about that than a princess trapped in a tower with ultra-long hair. We’re just a different kind of Rapunzel.”
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  16. Reesa Brown says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start, with hands shaking and tears running down my face. It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, and I always hated “once upon a time.” After all, time isn’t something you ride off into the sunset, and for something to be really interesting enough to sustain an entire novel, I certainly wanted it to happen more than once.

    So when I finally had the time to write, it was with an ironic bitter laugh – though one I made sure to keep deep inside. After all, from what I’d heard from other authors, writing a novel did feel often feel like there was a force pulling it out of you. I’d just never expected someone like little mousy accountant me to have that force be a literal gun pointed to my head, filling me with a mix of fear and excitement and trepidation so full that I had to beg to go to the bathroom before I could even think how to begin.
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  17. Tony Noland says:

    I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. Just me and the computer and all those jokes I tell and the scenes I imagine. The words would flow and they’d be pretty good. Not perfect, of course, not right away, but with a little polishing, I’d have a novel. What’s a novel? It’s like a story, only longer. I’ve read lots of them. How hard could it be?

    So, anyway, what I’m trying to say is, thanks for the present. I know you had to shop around to get it, and to get it pre-loaded with all this software. The dictionaries and thesauri and Liquid Story Binder and Scrivener and this blogging program, whatever it is. I’ve always wanted a top of the line laptop.

    But the problem was never my crappy, homebrew, bottom of the barrel machine. It wasn’t the fault of Windows 95 or Windows 98 or Windows XP that my novels, all of them, withered away at the twenty thousand word mark.

    And when you laughed and said that you’d expect my novel by the end of the year, as a Christmas present for you, did you know that you tore open the wounds that I’ve been picking at since I was 23?

    Now I’m back at the beginning, just as i always thought it would start. Except now I have you waiting for me and for it.

    Just a friendly deadline, a little motivation, something for me to work towards…

    … if I were really a writer.

    Tony Noland recently posted..Just Enough Power – 15My Profile

  18. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. And this is how it would end.

    The transformation only hurt the first time. At least that is what they told me. But over the years; all the many millennia of years, it still hurt. Every time. And every time I died it only hurt more.

    But that isn’t why he was here. He was here to replace me. The same dance, the same game.

    The tall shadowy figure with a lance stepped forward, futher into the light of the low-burning fire. The smoke swirled around the armour as if it were morning mist in a breeze.

    “Hello, dragon.”

    I swung my head around to better see him, scales scraping along the cave roof. In the enclosed space it was difficult to tell who was more menacing, the knight or the wyrm. I’d like to think that the dull glint reflection on my scales, and sharp shining eyes was the winner but then again. Neither of us ever wins.

    I breathed a gout of flame at him, more out of habit rather than any real attack. The knight ducked beneath the flickering orange and drove the point of the lance home.

    Who it hurt more is a matter of philosophical thought as he fell to his knees, clutching his own heart as the transformation began. As the change occurred and as we once again changed roles.

    Dancers with no end to the dance. The magic of myth. Or is it the magic in murder. It doesn’t really matter.

    “Goodnight, dragon.” He whispers as his eyes close.

    I sigh, a heavy gust of last breath that rattles as it leaves my throat, “Goodnight, St. George.”

    Day Al-Mohamed

  19. Monocle says:

    “I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start.”

    This, out of the blue, from John, who does ‘out of the blue’ every fucking day. But I’m game.

    “Ok, how?”


    “What ‘This’?”

    “That line. I would start it with that line.”

    “What, you mean you were planning on writing a novel about planning to write a novel?”

    “Well, no, but that’s how it would _start_.”

    “Aw, John.”

    Sometimes I wonder why I hang out with him. But this kind of explains exactly why. I looked over at him, leaning against the wall, hands in his jean pockets, staring off into space, seeing things nobody else does. Or at least I don’t.

    “It’s very meta, John.”

    “Yeahhh, something like that.”

    “And what would the rest of it be about?

    “Dunno. Doesn’t matter yet. But I have the beginning, and that’s something.”

    “That is something all right.”

    John had raised his ‘scope to his eye for another scan.

    “Hey, I got ‘im.”

    “You sure?”

    “Yeah. Marked him.”

    “Fireteam three. Target acquired and painted. Take him out.”

    *”Roger, Team 3″*

    “Let’s go to the mess, man. If I was going to have my own waffle house, I’d make the waffles look like bull’s-eyes instead of grids.”

    “Sure, John.”

    Monocle recently posted..6/9/11 – anastomosisMy Profile

  20. I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start:

    “My name is Peter De La Cruz. And this is the story of how I died.”

    Instead, I’m writing about myself and my daily life with my wife and son and cat on a blog. My freaking cat, of all things. Well, actually, it’s my wife’s cat, but still. The damn cat.

    Meanwhile, Ol’ Pete there is still waiting for me to tell the world the story of his death. For the most part, I’ve been able to ignore him. I mean, I’m pretty happy with my life. I write short stories and articles that get published often enough that I still feel accomplished. So I just push him down to the back of my brain and ignore him.

    Lately, however, he’s been getting… persistent. And I don’t mean that in the way that other authors do when they talk about their characters coming to life. I mean, I’ve woken up with whole chapters about Peter De La Cruz all written down. Some of it in Spanish, even. I don’t even speak Spanish.

    The scariest part was yesterday, when I found myself getting off a plain in Madrid. Freaking Spain! It was where Peter was born, and the first four chapters of his story take place. And people there knew me. Or, I should say, they know Peter. They’re talking to me as if I were him.

    And now, I sit here, in my house, and my wife and son are missing. Even the cat is nowhere to be seen.

    So, I’m asking you:

    Am I me? Or is the real me Peter De La Cruz?

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  21. Time’s up, boys and girls! Be back at 3:00 to find out who this week’s finalists are!
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  22. Christie Fremon says:

    “I always thought that if I were going to write a novel, this is how it would start. Heated. Lots of skin. Fingers against thighs and hips. The scent of bodies. The taste of sweat.” I sighed. “It’s not that it isn’t a nice vision. It’s just not how I envision it now that I’ve met you.”

    Running my finger down the cold, metallic surface of my lover, I said, “This is how I’d start my novel now.”

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