Flash Fiction Friday: Reading the Bones

I really enjoyed the 100 word challenge on Madison’s blog a couple of weeks ago. For that I produced a story about mushroom love – and hate. It worked out far better than I thought it would. Inspiration hit at the right moment, and I made it into three sets of 100 words, which rounded off a neat piece of very short fiction.

Normally, you see, I write extremely long stories, which can psyche me out slightly.

Sadly I didn’t get around to trying last week’s challenge, but I am submitting my 100 words quite early this time. It feels great! I’m hoping that these short challenges will become severely habit-forming as  they are a perfect mental break from working on longer pieces. I find it refreshing to do them and it’s enormous fun to read other people’s interpretations of the same image or writing prompt.

I love the way a complete story can be cribbed from such a concise number of words. If you like them can depend on how much you like open-ended narratives, although I personally prefer some resolution.

This is Madison’s entry for this week, Grave Digger. It’s great, so do take a look and  leave lovely comments there as well.

My own 100 words really feels like the opener for something much bigger. I’ve stuck to 100 words this time but I find it fascinating how the mind comes up with narrative – and restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise) often only aid this sort of creativity.

Anyway, please check it out below. I hope you like it. I’m looking forward to reading what you make of ‘Reading the Bones’:

Reading the Bones

Rattling the cup in her hands, the young seer tipped the cluster of ancient bones out onto the rock’s flattest surface and traced their outlines briskly with her fingertips.

“Very interesting,” she said. “It says that you are destined for great and amazing triumphs. That the world will bow at your feet. That the changes you wreak will be felt for eons to come. Your name will go down in history. And, also, something incredibly strange.”

“Strange how?” the witch’s guest enquired nervously.

“Well, according to this – these are your bones.”

The young otter looked at her in astonishment.

Flash Fiction Friday: Reading the Bones

32 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Friday: Reading the Bones

    1. I must say reviews don’t get any better than this either!

      Thank you, Doug, I think you just made my frankly lacklustre Friday start to shine again. Really appreciate it. 🙂
      I’m off to check out your story right now, and many thanks for reading my effort this week.

      Have a great day, & all the best,



  1. I absolutely loved the line that “these are your bones” – what a great twist to the tale and a set up for something great. Personally, the revelation that it was an otter didn’t add anything for me – I thought you’d pitched this perfectly and that line jarred a little.
    But that’s just my take – I can see already that I am outnumbered by the otter’s fans!

    Mine is here: http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/friday-fiction-14/


    1. Thank you, the feedback is still appreciated! I think I steered towards an otter at the end because the bones in the inspiration picture are so tiny, and the word ‘otter’ clicked the twist from ‘whoa’ to ‘ohh?’ grin. But I’m very happy you liked the story up to there, and yep, the otter fans are definitely going with it :-)!


  2. I love creative interpretations of these photo prompts and yours was just that. My only suggestion is to alter the last line. Describe her look rather than using the word “astonishment.” Subtlety can often be more powerful than using the word itself. Very nicely done, overall.


  3. Madison Woods says:

    I liked your story and loved the use of bones as oracle. The only thing that jarred me was the last minute revelation that the narrator was an otter, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps if you very vaguely foreshadowed it a little it might help. But people love stories from animal POV, so it might not matter at all if you intended to make a longer piece out of it. It could also have been because I knew more about the actual bones (some of them are human but they’re all very old). Overall it was a great scene!


  4. Great writing. So true…I want to know what happens next. I feel inspired! Thank you for posting and visiting my blog, which is how I found you. I’d be very interested in getting in with these 100 word challenges. You are so right, and I feel exactly the same with getting bogged down with longer pieces. It is refreshing to take a break. I also have a goal of getting my novel finished, polished and out there in ’12. This is the year is my mantra. Thanks again for the visit!


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