If you are participating in the 12 Short Stories Challenge, today is the day to submit your 12th short story for 2019, using the prompt: Not My Type.
And that’s it. 2019 is done. We have written 12 Short Stories in 12 months. I am so proud of everyone who stayed committed to the goal and earned #12/12. Your #braggingrights will be arriving shortly.
I will accept and approve posts for Not my type (Word count: 1200 words) from 4 December 2019, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00), until 5 December 2019, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00) on www.deadlinesforwriters.com
Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world.
Please submit your story on www.deadlinesforwriters.com
- Log in.
- Submit(on the left menu).
- Complete the form.
- Select the correct category: Prompt 12: Not my type
- Do not select any other category.
- Your story must be 1200 words. I won’t approve stories under 1150 or over 1250 words.
- Submit for approval.
- Read and comment on four other stories. Please spread the love. Look for stories that haven’t been read, instead of everyone reading and commenting on the same stories. If you want tips on how to comment, read this post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story.
- This is an exercise in discipline. The comments are a bonus. There is no prize because I want you to focus on writing for yourself and to try and take more risks.
- Be kind when you comment. Start with a positive comment, suggest an improvement, and end with something positive. We are here to learn.
- Our next prompt is at the end of this post.
A few more points:
- I will try to read as many posts as possible, but I do have a day job that I would like to keep.
- NO hate speech. None. If you see something nasty that I should be made aware of, please send me a message.
- Be careful of profanity.
- I need to approve every post. Please be patient with me. I am teaching during the day and I will approve them as quickly as I can. They will all go up.
Can I join?
Yes, our new challenge starts 8 January 2020. Our first deadline is 29 January 2020.
- This is a free challenge. You post one story and comment on four.
- You can join as a Level 2 member for US$50. This includes 1 short story appraisal and entry into the 2020 short story competition.
- Level 3 is an intensive short story mentorship. It includes 12 short story appraisals and 12 coaching sessions, the Write the Crap Out of It eBook and entry into the 2020 short story competition. The mentorship is an investment of US$450.
- Join the Write the Crap Out of It level. You can buy the eBook at Amazon (Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice for US$11.45). This gives you access to the eBook Level (Coming Soon) where you can post your exercises from the craft book and give and receive feedback.
Here is my short story:
One of Many by Mia Botha Prompt: Not my type | Word count: 1200 words exactly | Genre: Drama Warning: horrible, disturbing subject matter, rape, profanity. The heart monitor beeps and he hesitates. She looks so small, a skeletal bundle under a stiffly tucked sheet. Rejected jello sits, dispirited and forlorn, on the overhanging table. The nurse bustles past. “Come along.” She waves him closer, “she’s awake. Aren’t you, my dear?” She fluffs the pillows behind her pushing her up. He wants to stop her. To ask the nurse to please let her rest, but her eyelids flutter. Pale lashes brushing the dark purple stains around her eyes. She looks even younger when she is awake. “Where are her parents?” he asks. “I think her momma just stepped out to get coffee, but she knows you are coming. She said to keep an eye out.” She tugs the sheets again. “You alright, sweetie?” She gives the sheets another decisive tug and steps away from the bed. He panics and fumbles for his notepad, ”I can’t talk to her alone. Someone must be here.” She tsks, “Her momma will be right back and I’ll stay here ‘til she is.” She pats the girl’s hand. The girl looks at him. Her skin has a grey undertone and her hair lies flat against her scalp. Not the vibrant shiny young person in the pictures. He wants to tell her it’s going to be ok. He wants to tell her to go back to sleep. He wants to open the curtains and let sunlight pour onto her and take away her hurt, but it’s her eyes that warn him against any of it. Her eyes are dead. There is nothing there. He clears his throat. He tries to say her name. His name. He can’t. He keeps seeing the report. The notes of what happened to her. The door creaks open. A Styrofoam cup emerges, followed by an arm, a shoulder, and finally, what he hopes, her mother. “Missus Crenshaw?” he takes a step towards her. The woman gasps, her eyes widen and she spins towards the bed. She sighs when she sees the girl unharmed. “This is the detective, ma’am. Remember they said he’d come round for the statement.” The nurse intervenes. “Of course. Forgive me.” Coffee, purse, keys land among the standard-issue hospital flowers. She holds out her hand. “I’m Jenna. Ashley’s mom.” She turns to the bed and takes hold of her daughter’s hand. “And this is, of course, Ashley, but you know that already.” She deflates a little and sinks into the chair next to the bed. “You know that already.” She mumbles again. “Sorry.” He clears his throat again. “I do know that, Missus Crenshaw. You are right, but there is a lot that I don’t know. I was hoping Ashley would be willing to tell me what happened to her. She told the responding officers a bit, but we hope that now, after some rest, she’d be able to tell us more. Maybe she has remembered something else.” The woman looks at him, taking him in for the first time. “Aren’t you a little young to be a detective?” “I am young, ma’am, but I think in this case it may help Ashley to speak to someone a little younger and not some old-timer with no idea how a dating app works.” Her mother nods and turns to Ashley, “What do you think, Ash? You up for it?” Ashley shudders. She turns to the window and blinks. A tear trails down her cheek. She nods. It is a small gesture. They both would have missed it if they hadn’t been staring at her. He steps forward and pulls the second chair closer to the foot of the bed. He settles down and flips his notebook to a new page. “Can you start at the beginning? Just tell me what you can remember.” It’s quiet for the longest time. She doesn’t move, doesn’t say anything. He waits. Eventually, she turns to him. Opening her eyes fully for the first time. The hollowness drowns him and then she starts. The app she tried for the first time. It was safe. There were no adults. It was just for teenagers. A reluctant date, but “I was a little excited too,” she says in a dull tone. His profile was awesome. He was supposed to be my age. She shakes her head, but he was older, like way older, too old for the app. She wanted to leave. He grew angry, but she insisted he wasn’t her type. He laughed when she said that. She got up to leave and he let her. She was waiting for the taxi when she realised he had followed her. He pulled her away from the curb, there was another car. She lists the next series of events as if she was reading a grocery list. No inflection. The pain. The repetition. The mind-numbing details. The mole on his calf. The cigarettes on his breath. He wishes she would stop, but the list is long. She pauses finally and she looks around the room coming back to them. “And then you woke up?” he nudges her along. They knew all this already. Her voice is hoarse and her mother holds a straw to lips and she drinks water. He watches the delicate veins in her throat dance as she swallows. The red ring of new scabs pull and stretch and seep as she starts talking again. “I woke up and it was dark again. We were in a harbour. They were loading a container. It was pitch black. I think they drugged me. I was groggy.” “How did you escape?” “I made myself throw up. I already looked pretty bad, I was bleeding pretty much everywhere and making them think I was dying was easy. One of the men was furious with the guy. He kept screaming about not sampling the merchandise and how he had fucked up the shipment. I just kept pretending to die. He kicked me off the dock then. I fell forever until I hit the water. It was cold, but I managed to reach one of those big metal rings in the wall and I hung there until they found me the next morning.” He was struck by how inadequate the word hypothermia was. How insufficient the word rape was. The word lucky kept jumping up in his head. It was the wrong word. She was also exhausted. She closed her eyes and disappeared into sleep. It was her mother’s turn to stare at him with dead eyes. She hadn’t known all of this. She thought her daughter was meeting a nice boy for coffee. He gathered his coat, his notebook. The words of comfort wouldn’t come. He cleared his throat instead, nodded once and made for the door. His fingers wrapped around the cold knob when the sheets rustled. “Detective?” Ashley whispered. “Yes?” “Are you going to fetch them?” “Who?” Dread flared in his gut. “Fetch who?” “The other children, the ones in the container.” Other children. She hadn’t remembered it before, but they suspected she wasn’t only one. One of many.
You can join the 12 Short Story Challenge in any month.
So, if you start in September 2019, that will be month one for you and then August 2020 will be month 12. Level 3 also works for any 12 consecutive months. Sign up on www.deadlinesforwriters.com
Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a short story, sign up for our online course.
by Mia Botha
Buy Mia’s book on short stores: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice
If you enjoyed Mia’s post, read:
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- Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Villanelle
- Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Limerick
- Love Is Never The Goal – Even When You Write Romance
- Should Men Write Romance?
Short Story Challenge: Click here to read the short stories.