Writing prompts come from the strangest places. Usually I am struck by a character, a person I have seen or heard about, and then I place the character in a scene and then watch what happens. Since I am trying to complete my story collection, though, about people in the small Virginia town of Rugglesville, and have written 10 stories so far, I am now working on following some of the characters who appeared in earlier stories. Since most of the stories are meant to "resonate," I am hoping that readers will want to know what happens next as much as I do. So it isn't the characters at this point.
I started a story today, tentatively called In an Uncharted Country because of the automated announcement I received a couple of days ago from Glimmer Train that January 31 is the deadline for submission to the Very Short Fiction Award competition. For GT, "very short" is under 2,000 words. While I have a stable of flash pieces, under 500 words, I didn't have anything nearing 2,000. Time to write something! I can do it by Monday, I know I can!
So the new story follows Walt, the main character from The Clattering of Bones (Spring 2004 issue of Timber Creek Review). When last seen, he has given up hope that his wife, Patsy, will come home, so he gets in his truck and drives away. Where will he go? That's what the new story will reveal.