Silly Flash Fiction

Done for a twitter contest I stumbled across, and a lighter tone than most of my novel writing (more MG-flavored, which much of my more humorous writing is), but a fun detour for half an hour. Enjoy.

I may delete later, if I wake up tomorrow and wonder what the hell I was thinking. 🙂


It’s a Flash Fiction with a cool photo prompt, an old house waist deep in sand (inside the house), as if a desert flowed through.

The story (237 words):

The Hour Glass House.

My sister has powers. So do I.

My parents left us at home alone and told us to be good. They’re optimists.

When my sister wouldn’t pass the remote, I made the TV screen show her face smudged on a fat man’s butt. She glued the couch to my ass. Scratchy. And harder to accomplish than you might think. I unlocked her diary to figure out how she’d done it. She caught me, and wasn’t happy. Like I care about Dreamy Jeremy’s eyebrows?

She slammed me into my bedroom wall and jammed the door behind. Which pissed me off. I had places to be.

But it’s okay. I’m sneaky, and still one ahead. She’s probably just now realizing that I slipped a snake into her braids, which has been chewing her hair. All day. He he. What’ll Dreamy Jeremy think about that?

Woom. Tinkle.

I think she just flipped the house upside down. There’s sand coming through the windows, like a tipped-over hour glass. Um, that’s probably not good. I’m not sure she’s joking anymore.


I’m going to puke spiced meatballs. Flipped again.

My sister has powers. But so do I. And chest deep in sand or not, I’m clutching her diary, reading like a madman. Double pinky lift? Interesting. A smile hurts my sand-scratched face, but I don’t care. Ring the bell. Time for the next round.

I’m not finished yet.

Overlapping Circles, I’m Enamored!

I remember a post once that said you can’t break down all the pieces of a story and line them back up again, like you would the building blocks of a castle (can you tell I have young boys who like Lego?). The reason is that the elements of a story overlap. Each scene accomplishes multiple goals. The first scene especially. Let’s look at a sample first line:

The man in the torn coat strode toward the army checkpoint.

A single line, but it helps develop plot, character, and tension all at the same time. To tackle each element, for example with a single sentence each, would be too clunky. You need to multi-task (please don’t tell my wife I’m capable of such! It would shatter her world view…).

So in the last few days, based on some new word processing skills, I have to admit to loving overlapping circles, as shown below. So I thought I’d help use them to make this point. And also do some work on my new short story at the same time. The circles are the elements that I want to incorporate in my first scene, to make the story start off well. See the image below to see how I worked through the exercise:

overlapping circles w website


Just filling in circles won’t give you the answers on how to accomplish all the things you want, but it will certainly point out things you’re missing, and get the good old hind brain working on how to fix it.

I have found that it’s good to put some thought into what you want to achieve before you start the first draft of a scene. Partly because those words, once written, seem to solidify on the page, at least for me, becoming brittle and harder to change with each day that passes. It’s easier to get it right the first time. Or at least try.

And let’s face it, those circles are pretty. Aren’t they? 🙂


…really, please don’t tell my wife I can multi-task.


As always, images are copyright. Please link to, but don’t steal them…



Personal Randomness

A short personal update (there’s been lots of craft posts lately).

I have to admit that I’m a bit overwhelmed with the free time that I’ve suddenly got in the last couple of days, as my Black Diamonds edits are done, the manuscript as ready as I can get it at this point, and nothing else major started yet. Aside, of course, from sick kids (do they ever get healthy?), a crazy job, and keeping the wife happy (in other words, cleaning the house). That’s just normal, right? 🙂 Anyway, given the significant time investment most of my projects take, I wanted to take a couple of days before committing to anything big, despite this unfamiliar spare time.

So, after some thought, I decided that I would:

  • Take part in #PitMad, a twitter pitch contest (look at me, all social media active all of a sudden! He he, find me @AdrianCross15. If I stay active, I may put the link on the site more permanently). I think this will be fun, although my work schedule on Sept 9 is starting to look so hectic that I may not be checking in to the event much while it’s actually on.
  • Waiting for my Black Diamonds synopsis comments to come back, from the recent Writer’s Digest webinar event, which included a critique. Once I have that, I’ll start putting Black Diamonds out into the world. I think it’s ready, but still a daunting thought. Hopefully it’s well received! (if not, oh well, there’s always the next one.)
  • Create a cover image for my shelved manuscript, Broken Detective (probably not the final title), which I think is the next major writing project I’ll tackle. It’s a manuscript with a lot of good stuff in it, but some serious wounds to patch up as well, particularly in the opening scenes. As I’ve mentioned before, my current intention is to re-work it and then send it out into the world as an ebook (unless some agent wants to take a look at it, but the query letter has already made the rounds). As a result, cover art will come in handy when it’s finished. I’m not expecting to start a completely new novel until 2015, although there are lots of ideas in the hopper for when that time comes.
  • Write a fantasy short story (I’ve already got the ‘cool idea’ and am sketching out the rest of it), for submission to OWW (the Online Writer’s Workshop) and maybe to a wider audience, although we’ll see how well received it is at OWW first. I think that a new short story will make a nice change of pace for me, exercising some creative muscles before settling down to hardcore editing again, as I try to patch up Broken Detective.
  • I would also like to do some more site images, but we’ll see how the time goes. I’ve also decided to work on a non-fantasy art project on the side, so any large and polished art projects may stall until that’s finished (ok, I’ll cave and tell, it’s a cool picture book idea that I’ve mulled over for years and finally think is ready to take to the next level, but I don’t do picture book stuff under this site, so you’ll have to hunt elsewhere for that!) 🙂

And that’s the plan. And I have to smile. Because as I’m typing this, I’m also listening to Wiggle Wiggle (Jason Derulo and Snoop Dog) on my headphones and it reminded me of yesterday when I drove the two Hooligans home from daycare. The 2yr old was enthusiastically singing along to this song on the radio:

“Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.”

So inappropriate. And funny.  🙂

The image here is just a cropped version of one I’ve shown earlier. But it reminded me a lot of my two year old, so there you go. 🙂