Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Short Story--The Clown Killer

Happy Halloween! I'm honored to have this story chosen to be the Halloween story for The 13 Days of Horror. It's called "The Clown Killer." Check it out here. Give it a read, and let me know what you think. And when you finish my story, go give the other 12 stories a read. You won't be disappointed.

New Short Story--The Eye

Happy Halloween! I have a new short story called "The Eye" in the Halloween special of the audio magazine, Dark Movements. You get six great stories in the episode. Check it out here.
(EDIT: Unfortunately, the audio magazine is on longer online. Please enjoy the story below.)

If you'd like to follow along with my story while you listen, here it is:

The Eye
by Eric J. Krause

The eye in the window across the street stared at him. He considered that it might be a poster or picture of some sort, but that wasn't it. He could swear he'd seen it move.

What did it want? Why was it targeting him? And why could no one else see it?

His wife refused to discuss it anymore. The neighbors crossed the street when they saw him coming. Even the mailman rushed to and from the mailbox a bit quicker. All because the eye wouldn't show itself to anyone else.

So now he sat at the window, all hours of the day, and looked at the eye. Which stared back at him. All day every day.

No matter how long he sat there, nothing became clearer. It was still a mystery he couldn't explain. And he needed to know.

Late one night, long after his wife had gone up to bed, he decided it was time. Sure, he could have waited until mid-morning and knocked on the door. He had no clue who lived there, so maybe there was a simple explanation. Yeah, he could do that. But he wasn't going to.

He grabbed the sharpest, meanest-looking knife from the chopping block and headed across the street. He might not need it, or anything of the sort, but better safe than sorry. Maybe the eye would see him coming and hide. Then he really could come back in the morning.

No. It watched him the entire way. Little movements in its iris let him know it saw him. How did no one else notice this thing? It pulsed with life.

Knock or not? He could peek in each window and see what was going on. Maybe he'd find one open, and he could sneak in without anyone any the wiser. Before the decision proved necessary, the front door creaked open a crack.

"Hello?" he called. No answer. He pushed the door open all the way. Damn it was dark in there. "Hello?" he tried again. He almost asked if there were any giant eyeballs home, but that would be absurd. He giggled, and it bordered on deranged, even in his own mind.

Since no one answered, he walked in. Maybe no one lived here at all. He couldn't remember a moving van after that last family (The Joneses? The Smiths?) moved out. He gripped his knife tighter and looked around for the giant eye, though he could barely see past his nose.

The door slammed shut. Something breathed. He could hear it, feel it. He moaned as it slithered past his leg.

And then the pain hit.


The neighbors gathered around outside her house. The police had already left, finding no signs of foul play. Her husband, though, was still a no show. They'd all heard his muffled screams, but no one could quite place where.

With his unhealthy obsession with that abandoned house, she figured he'd be inside, but they'd found no sign of him. He'd be back, and then she'd get him whatever help he needed.

As the talks wound down and neighbors began to disperse, she gave one last look back to that house. She gasped. Had that window winked at her?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween FridayFlash #2--Bloody Mary

This is my second #FridayFlash for the week. You can find my first one, a kid friendly horror tale, here.

Bloody Mary
by Eric J. Krause

Jenni handed Samantha a thumbtack. "Jab your thumb and wipe the blood on your forehead. Then spin around three times and say, 'Bloody Mary,' each time."

"No," Samantha said. "That'll hurt."

"But you said 'dare,'" Melinda said. "If you don't do it, you lose."

"And we tell the whole school you like Gerald Wilcox," Jenni said.

Samantha froze. They would, too. They'd been holding that threat over her head to make her do whatever they wanted ever since Jenni saw her doodles proclaiming her love for Gerald on the inside of her notebook. Fine. What was a few seconds of pain compared to an entire school year of torture?

"What happens after I spin and say her name?"

"Bloody Mary will show up in the mirror over the fireplace," Melinda said.

Samantha chuckled. "And then she'll grant me my greatest wish, right?"

The other two girls rolled their eyes. "No," Jenni said. "She'll probably do something bloody. Why do you think they call her Bloody Mary?"

Samantha held out her thumb and positioned the tack over it. The two girls squealed in delight and pushed closer. They hadn't thought she'd do it. She nicked her thumb, bringing a quick sting, and fought hard not to jam it in her mouth. Instead, as the rules said, she rubbed the blood on her forehead and spun three times, chanting "Bloody Mary," with each spin. Only then did she suck her thumb to quell the bleeding.

Jenni was the unlucky one who noticed first. She let out a gasp and pointed to the mirror. Blood poured down her face as her eyeballs melted. Melinda screamed and tried to run out of the room, but her yells turned to gags, and she skidded down on the carpet. Her tongue turned to gore, and blood gushed from her mouth.

An evil presence grabbed Samantha by the chin and forced her to look at the mirror. A beautiful woman with alabaster skin, a blood-red dress, and glowing eyes smiled down at her.

"How did you trick them into letting you call me, my daughter?" Bloody Mary asked.

Samantha flashed a wicked grin. "Mind manipulation. These two stupid sluts proved to be no challenge."

"All because of the boy?"

Samantha scoffed and gave her mother a look that said she was getting a bit dull in her old age. "Not any boy. Unwittingly or not, they did almost force out the Anti-Christ before his time. The agents of good would have no doubt intervened and put an end to his wicked ways before we could even start. And where would that leave us?"

A whimper escaped Jenni as she tried to look around the room with holes where her eyes used to be. A strangled moan erupted from Melinda as she reached into her mouth, only to find her tongue obliterated.

"Let me put them out of their miseries, Daughter. I swear, sometimes you surpass even me in your cruelty."

"Don't go soft on me, Mother. We've been planning this for two millennia. These girls mean nothing in the grand scheme of things."

"Fine, fine. Shall I take my leave for now?"

A look of hate flashed across Samantha's face. "Not yet. The blind one's parents are around somewhere. Don't you think their genitals need to be punished for breeding such a stupid bitch?"

Halloween #FridayFlash #1-The Green Faced-Witch

I had a Friday Flash all ready to go, and then this story came available. (Good news/bad news, I guess. Bad news that it didn't win the contest I entered it in, but good news that I can share it here.) So I decided to publish them both this week. Check out my other story here. It's a bit more adult in gore and language, while this one is fine for audiences of all ages. So, without further ado, here's my first Friday Flash for the week.

The Green-Faced Witch
by Eric J. Krause

Jeremy stalked over to the snack table and let out an exaggerated sigh. Why did it have to rain on Halloween night? He had the perfect costume and everything. He would have had a full bag of candy, but instead Mom forbade him from trudging around the neighborhood in the wet weather. Now he was stuck at a party in his school's auditorium.

He scarfed down a few chips and scanned the room for his friends. Before he spotted anyone, a voice came from behind him. "Fun party, huh?"

He turned and found a girl in a witch costume. He didn't recognize her, but she looked pretty cute underneath all the green makeup. "I guess. I'd rather be out Trick or Treating."

"Not me. Parties are way more fun. You get to meet all sorts of people."

He squinted, trying to figure out who she was, but no luck. "Do you go to school here?"

"I used to. I like to come back and visit on Halloween."

Before she could elaborate, Mr. Martin, the assistant principal, spoke up. "Gather around, everyone. It can't be Halloween without a spooky story."

The witch grabbed Jeremy's hand. Her grip was ice cold and clammy, as if she'd just come in from the wet weather. She led him over to the group, and they all formed a circle. The lights shut off, and Mr. Martin held up a flashlight to his face. Everyone giggled, but quieted quickly in anticipation of the story.

"Thirty years ago tonight," Mr. Martin said in his creepiest voice, "a student from this very school went out Trick or Treating with her friends. She dressed up as a witch, complete with green makeup covering her face. She had a great time, and pulled in a sack-full of candy, but when they got to the large house right across the street from the school, they stopped."

One of the kids called out, "But there's no house across the street. It's a mini-mall."

Mr. Martin nodded. "It is now, but back then, it was a rickety old mansion. Most kids, and even many adults, kept their distance because they said it was haunted. And no one could dispute that, especially on dark Halloween nights.

"The young witch's group of friends crossed the street to stay as far away from the house as possible. But not her. She saw a light on and guessed whoever lived there probably had the best candy. What better place to Trick or Treat than at a haunted house? None of her friends would go up there with her. Instead, they watched as she approached the front of the house alone.

"As she stepped up to the door, it creaked open, but no one was there. She pushed it all the way open and called out, "Is anyone here?" She received no answer. Just as she started to turn away to go back to her friends, a small sign in the middle of the floor caught her eye. "This way for candy," it read. How could she pass that up? She stepped inside, and the door slammed shut.

"Her friends hollered at her to come back out, but the door remained closed. One friend ran to a pay phone in front of the school--remember, this was before people carried cell phones--and called the police. When an officer showed up a few minutes later and walked through the house, no one was there. The girl was never seen again.

"People say on dark Halloween nights, just like this one, a strange girl in a witch costume can be seen wandering around the area looking for her friends."

Mr. Martin gave a sinister laugh, and the auditorium lights flashed back on. No one said anything for a few seconds, but then the room filled with laughs and applause. Jeremy turned to the girl in the witch costume to ask if she liked the story, especially since she was dressed the same as the ghost, but she was gone.

Darren, a kid he knew from his math class, was sitting a few feet away. "Hey, did you see where the girl that was here went?"

Darren gave him a funny look. "What are you talking about? There was no girl sitting here. You walked over here alone."

Jeremy's blood froze, and he pulled out his cell phone to call his parents. It was time to go home and hide under the covers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Initial Construction of Characters

Today I want to discuss how I create my characters for my novels. As silly as it seems, I don't spend a huge amount of pre-writing time getting to know my characters. Believable characters are a huge part of what makes a story successful, so it would stand to reason that I should, but I don't. Here's why and what I do at this stage.

I find my characters come to life while I write, which is the opposite of my plot, which is lifeless if I don't map it out. For the most part, I flesh out their characteristics and personalities on the fly. That's not to say I ignore them before I actually start writing, however.

I need a name for a character before I start. I can't begin giving them life before a name is attached. Usually for an important character, if a name doesn't jump out at me, I'll brainstorm a bunch of different names and look them over. I gather these names from baby name books, character naming books, and my own imagination. It's not an exact science, but almost always two or three will jump out at me. Of these few remaining names, one will sound best for the story and situation of the character. (I go through the same process when picking names for places and anything else that needs a name.)

Once named, based on what the story is about and the character's place in said story, I'll give a couple of key characteristics, be it physical, psychological, or whatever. I do this for all the important characters. The reason I tailor the characters to the story is because the characters are tools to make the plot work (and be entertaining). My job as an author during the first draft and subsequent revisions is to make it seem like the story is a character-driven one instead of how I constructed it. The readers can't see the characters as mere tools that move the plot along, so I need to be wary of that as I write since that's exactly how I created them!

At this point in constructing the novel, that's all I do with characters. I simply decide how many are considered main characters, name them, and give them a couple of key traits. As I continue plotting, I'll write down ideas to flesh them out, but the bulk of it happens during the first draft. When I revise, the first few chapters are usually heaviest with changes and tweaks because I need to fix up where I didn't yet have a handle on the characters. I need them to match up with how they act later in the book.

Next week I'll get into more of the heart of how I plot. I'll show how I organize my outline (and what I mean by outline). Until next time, keep writing and/or reading.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Writing Prompt #38

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as horror this week, but take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

You awake sealed in a coffin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

#FridayFlash--Mom's Phone

Mom's Phone
by Eric J. Krause

Jessica's cell phone rang, and she frowned as she looked at the display. It read, "Mom's Phone." But that was impossible. Not only had they cancelled the service, but they'd buried the phone with her in the coffin. Mom's last request.


No one spoke, but Jessica could hear raspy breathing.

"Who is this? How did you get that phone?"

The breathing continued, but no answer came.

"Listen, I don't know who this is, but you're sick. I don't even want to know how you got my mother's phone, but rest assured I will be calling the police."


Jessica gasped and tried not to cry. That garbled voice came from her mother. She'd held Mom's hand when she passed. It'd been an open casket funeral. This couldn't be her mother. Mom was dead.

"Jessie? Help me. It hurts. I can't breathe."

Jessica hung up. What else could she do? She wouldn't give the sicko on the other end of the line any more satisfaction, and she wouldn't begin to guess how it sounded so much like her mother. She waited, fully expecting a quick callback, but none came. She thought about calling the police like she'd threatened, but it took her a minute to clear her head. She wasn't quite sure what to think, so she decided to forget about it.

A few days later she'd largely succeeded in knocking the incident from her memory. She'd chalked it up to post-funeral stress and a daydream nightmare. So when her phone rang and the display again read, "Mom's Phone," she didn't know what to think. She answered the phone, but didn't say anything.

Her mom's voice bled out of the earpiece stronger than before. "How could you? You should have saved me." And then the connection went dead.

Jessica dropped her phone, fell to her knees, and sobbed. That wasn't her mom, but her own guilt. Not that it wasn't any less real.

How often in the last few years had Mom complained about her insides hurting? When Jessica asked for specifics, Mom couldn't give any, so Jessica refused to take her to the doctors, citing Mom's notorious hypochondria. Only three months ago, when it was time for a regular check-up, did she finally take Mom to the doctor. Of course they found cancer; of course it could have been treated had it been caught earlier; of course Mom went down quick when she heard.

And of course Jessica blamed herself.

Once all of this ran through her mind, she felt better. It all made sense. No one had dug into her mother's grave to steal the phone. And Mom hadn't risen from the dead to haunt her on a cellular level. Life could go on, and though she might still feel guilty, at least the strange phone calls would stop.

That was the theory, anyway.

The next night, moments after she shut off the lights, her phone rang, and the display read, "Mom's Phone." Crap. Maybe she had a brain tumor. She shouldn't wait too long; she'd make a doctor's appointment in the morning. But in the meantime, she answered the phone and decided to tell off her subconscious.

"Listen here, Mom. I'm sorry I didn't take you to get checked out sooner, but you could have spoken up about it. You could have insisted. But you let yourself die more than I did. I'm at fault, but not as much as you."

Silence on the other end. Jessica took the phone away from her ear to see if it had hung up. It hadn't. Mom's voice sounded out, but not through the earpiece.

"I escaped, Jessie. I've come for you."

Jessica turned, her heart in her throat. Mom stood in the doorway. Dirt matted her skin, hair, and burial clothes, which were ripped and torn. Dull white bones jutted out of her fingertips where flesh and nails should be. And the nauseating stench of embalming fluid wafted through the air.

"Fair is fair, Jessie. You let me die."

She hobbled forward, and Jessica bellowed out a scream. It had to be a brain tumor. She clenched her eyes shut. Mom would be gone when she opened them, and then maybe she'd take herself to the emergency room. No way should she wait to make an appointment tomorrow.

Her eyes flickered open, and Mom continued forward. The smell of fresh dirt joined the embalming fluid. Murder shone from her mother's dead eyes.

Jessica let out her loudest scream yet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Novel Writing: Pre-First Draft Pt. 1

Once I have an idea for a novel, I can't simply start writing my first draft. I know many authors like to take an idea and run with it to see where they get, but I can't write that way. I need structure. Over these next few weeks, I'll show you what I do to get that structure.

My process is a mish-mash of many I've read about throughout the years (in writing books, magazine articles, and Internet sites). I've taken my favorite parts of many of these and mixed them into my own style. I believe this is the best way to go about writing anything--find different sources and use the parts that work best for you.

I begin with story. I know many experts say you should begin with character, but I don't think this is necessary. Don't get me wrong, characters are an extremely important part of the story, but I find I prefer constructing them and fleshing them out after I see what they'll be required to do.

The first thing I do is write a single sentence that summarizes the main idea of the story. This might sound like a huge task at the very beginning--not much of the story is known at this point--but remember it's nothing more than a jumping off point. As I continue through the process, this single sentence might still be the best indicator of what the story is about, or it might be a shadow of what the novel turns into. It doesn't matter. As long as this sentence gets me thinking and plotting, it's done its job. I sometimes take an entire day or more with this step. I find that as I tinker with different wordings and phrases, new and better ideas pop into my brain. Sometimes the first sentence I construct turns out to be the best, but I find the story as a whole is better because I've played around with the sentence for so long.

After I have my single sentence summary, I expand that into a paragraph. I do my best to keep it to four or five sentences: the first for how the story starts, the next two or three for key events in the middle, and the last for how the story ends. This gives me a great starting point for plotting the novel. I may come up with better ideas for all of these points, but I need them to get ideas to flesh out the story. Like with the one sentence summary, I don't take the first idea that pops into my mind, but I play with many different ideas. These first two steps alone could take me a few days to a week, but they lay the groundwork for everything that is to come.

The last step before I move onto characters is to discover the hook of the story. This is what draws readers in, what distinguishes the book from others of the same genre. By this point I usually have a pretty good idea of what the hook for this particular story is, but I like to write it down anyway. This hook should be a strength of the story, so I want to occasionally look back at it to keep it firmly in my mind as I plot and later write.

Now I'm ready to start thinking about who populates this story. Next week I'll show you how much characterization I do at this point of the process. Until then, keep writing and/or reading!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Writing Prompt #37

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as horror this week, but take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

Subliminal messages in a popular song infect the world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Flash Deathmatch

I just found out I'm in a Friday Flash Deathmatch this week. Head on over to ShadowCast Audio Anthology and vote. My Friday Flash story for this week, "The Black and White Photograph," is up against this week's Friday Flash story from the always excellent Laurita Miller. Go read both stories and vote for your favorite. And while you're there, why not listen to the Masters of Horror podcast? It'll be well worth your time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

#fridayflash-The Black and White Photograph

The Black and White Photograph
by Eric J. Krause

Andrea sat at her desk with her lukewarm coffee and glanced at the clock. A half-hour until first-grade recess. In years past, these oral reports usually took about that long, but this class never made anything easy. No doubt they'd do everything they could to stall the process, so she figured on another half-hour after recess. But she'd put a button on this project, even if it took the rest of the school day.

The first few students did a great job. She had to prompt them to give their first and last names--they found it silly since everyone already knew who they were--but otherwise it went quick and smooth. They showed an old family photograph, briefly explained what the picture was about, and said why they liked it. Instead of having each student take five minutes to allow everyone to scrutinize the picture (and, yes, this group would drag it out to a full five minutes or more), she'd promised they could get up and look at all the photos at the end. That would be a horribly noisy unorganized chunk of time, but it was better than wasting that same amount with each presentation.

Though a few of her usual suspects mucked up the process a bit with feet dragging and excess questions, she was pleased with the kids. They might hit recess with only a few left to complete. But up next was one of her wildcards. Maude (such a strange name for a child nowadays) could give the best report of the day, or she'd forget about her photo altogether and perform a song and dance. To Andrea's relief, the girl clutched a black and white photograph on her way to the front of the class.

When Maude held up the picture, everyone in class, even her most rowdy boys, went silent. Andrea perked up because this never happened. Jared and Hector would whisper and giggle even if she brought in their favorite animated feature to watch.

"This is my great-great-great Grandma Maude. She's relaxing in her favorite sofa on a warm day. I love this picture because she's me."

"You mean she looks like you, Maude?" Andrea asked. She couldn't see the picture clear enough from back at her desk to tell. Or was Maude simply confused because she shared her ancestor's name?

Maude looked up and flashed a wicked grin, unlike any a six year old should possess. "No, Mrs. Billups. Watch."

Some sort of energy pulsed out of the photo, and every student slumped down in their desk. A few face-planted hard on the surface. How was she going to explain broken and bloodied noses to the parents?

"And now I have seventeen more souls stored up next time I need to be young again. But I can always use another."

Before Andrea could do anything, Maude stepped forward and held up the photo. The woman in the picture really did look like the girl. The eyes glowed silver, and she couldn't look away.

"It's true about photography and the stealing of souls. It's not the camera that does it, but properly prepared photographs. Don't worry, Mrs. Billups. You won't remember this until you die."

The glowing eyes flashed, and Andrea found herself sitting at her desk. Maude walked back to her seat, her photo in hand. Had she given a presentation? Andrea couldn't remember. She glanced around the room and saw four or five of the kids sporting bloody noses. The entire class noticed at that same moment, and all hell broke loose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Novel Ideas

Coming up with ideas for a novel is different than coming up with them for short stories. Sure, the basic process is the same--ideas are all around us, and any can make a captivating story. Ideas for novels, however, need to be bigger. They need to be grand. That's not to say they necessarily need to be better than short story ideas (short story ideas can be just as good), but they need to be able to carry a story much further.

When I begin to choose which idea I want to use for my next novel project, I think through two things. First, is the idea enough to take me through 60,000 or so words if I'm writing a young adult novel (or 75,000 to 100,000 words if I'm tackling one tailored for adults)? Second, and possibly more important, is this an idea that I'm excited about and will still be excited about months down the road?

Let's look at that second question first. You will be working on this project for quite a while. The process usually takes me a minimum of six months (times will, of course, vary by author, but the entire process takes awhile). If the idea doesn't excite you at the beginning, chances are it will downright bore you before you even get halfway through your first draft. And that speaks nothing of the revision process, which, in my opinion, is the biggest part of writing a novel. If that original idea is not strong enough, you will probably rather tear your hear out than read through for revision again, and your story will no doubt suffer because of it.

Now back to the first point: picking an idea that is big enough for a novel-length work. At this point in the process, I don't write anything down. I take an idea that excites and intrigues me, and I think about things I can do with it. When I discover a neat thread that will make a good story, instead of jumping right into the process like I would with a short story, I continue expanding and dissecting the idea. Is there potential for great conflict? Is this a problem that will not have a simple solution (or if it does, will that simple solution be well guarded)? Is there enough potential emotion to fire up not only a protagonist, but an antagonist and various minor characters as well? Does this main idea lend itself to believable subplots? If I can answer yes to these questions, I know I have the makings of a novel, and I can take the first few baby steps in creating this story.

Next time I'll go through what those first steps are. Some people can dive right in once they have that initial workable idea, but I need to go through a bunch of pre-first draft exercises. Until then, keep writing and/or reading.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Writing Prompt #36

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as horror this week, but take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

You awake to find yourself strapped down in a torture chamber.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#fridayflash--Dear Lover

Dear Lover
by Eric J. Krause

Dear Lover,

You don't know me. Not really. Not yet. But you've been on my mind, in my sight, for so long that I can't help but feel how intimate we should be. I've seen it in your eyes even when you don't see me. You don't love me, but you will.

I hope you realize this isn't about your looks. I could go on and on about those (and I have--the voices in my head know as much about you as me), but they're only skin deep. Not that that's a bad thing. I can and do watch you for hours--watch you change, watch you shower, watch you masturbate (that's my favorite), watch you sleep--but I enjoy myself much more when I listen to you. Your phone conversations perk up my day, and in person you always turn up the charm.

The only times I hate listening to you is when pain permeates your voice. It breaks my heart, especially since I know I'm the source of so much of it. But it's for your own good. Those guys never call you back, true, but not by their choice. Some of them even seem really nice. Those were the ones it hurt the most to dispose of. You'll be happy to know that I made their deaths as painless and quick as I could. I thought I owed you that.

So you can see you're not so unlucky in love. None of those guys were right for you, and plus you have me. Don't fret. One day I'll step forward. I'll treat you like the princess you truly are. I just ask that you never betray me, never disrespect me, never laugh at me, and never leave me. If you do, I'll still love you, but it will be your corpse I'm loving.

Then again, I may just pursue your corpse anyway. That way I'll never disappoint you, and you'll never disappoint me. We'll see how it works out.

Until then, know you're my everything. I'll be watching, listening. Always. You are my everything. My everything. And one day I'll be yours.

Eternally yours,

Your beloved

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Friday Flash

Almost every week I participate in a group called Friday Flash. If you are unfamiliar with this, in a nutshell, authors post a piece of flash fiction on their personal blog or website and promote it on Twitter (type in #fridayflash in the search bar at Twitter if you'd like to join in the fun). Through Friday Flash, there are a good number (usually 70 or more) stories to read each weekend. Not only is this a way to find entertaining reads, but it also promotes the authors involved.

This week I want to share how I participate in Friday Flash. I'm sure this is not a lot of variation out there in how authors participate, but since I often wonder how others handle the little things each week, I thought I'd show how my Friday Flash weekends typically progress. (If you're curious about how I write the flash fiction I use for Friday Flash, click here for that article.)

There are basically three stages to a Friday Flash weekend that I'd like to discuss: posting (and publicizing) a story, reading stories by other authors, and retweeting links to stories by other authors. I publish my story on Thursday night. This means I don't have to rush and worry about getting it done first thing in the morning, and I can catch those who read earlier than I get up on Friday morning. To publicize my story, on Friday I use Twitter three times--once when I wake up, once around lunch time, and once in the late afternoon or early evening. I cut it back to twice on Saturday--once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. On Sunday, I cut it back again to a single tweet in the morning. I also tweet it once on Monday, but that is more a thank you to everyone who commented on my story. I also post a thank you in the comment section of the story on my blog. (I love comments!)

When it comes to reading other stories, I make a point of reading and commenting on all stories by people who have commented on mine. If you've ever left me a comment without me doing the same for you, I sincerely apologize. Chances are I wasn't able to find your story via the Google bios on Blogger or on the weekly recap. Feel free to hit me with a reminder with a link if the weekend passes and I still haven't gotten to your story. I find most of my links to other writers stories through Twitter or Google Reader. I will always bring up that story and bookmark it, getting to as many as I can that weekend. Sometimes I get through all that I've bookmarked, and other times I don't. Depends on how much time I have to devote to the process each weekend.

The final part of the Friday Flash weekend that I'd like to discuss is retweeting links to other authors' stories. I have pretty strict rules for myself to both not clog up the Twitter feeds of my followers, and to not play favorites. I will retweet a story only after I've read it. I retweet it if I see the author tweeting their own story (I rarely, if ever, retweet retweets of others). I do my best to only retweet stories once. If I retweet a story twice, it means I couldn't remember if I've already done so, and I'm playing it on the safe side. I also do my best to add a comment to each one I retweet.

There you have it. That's how I participate in Friday Flash. It can be a lot of work to stay on top of so may stories each weekend, but it's worth it. The participants each week are not only great writers, but better people. I'm honored I've been accepted into the community. Until next time, keep writing and/or reading.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Writing Prompt #35

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

No one remembers who you are.