The Right Container | StoryADay 2024 Day 30

Sometimes function follows form

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The Prompt

Create a story that is a mashup of everything you’ve learned about your writing tastes, this month. Your character has a run-in with their nemesis.

Things To Consider

What have you learned over this month about the voices, tones, genres, characters, and length that come most easily to you?

What kinds of characters did you like to write about (fish out of water? Someone in a particular profession? Someone at a particular kind of crossroads?).

Pick your favorite type of character today. Don’t worry that you’ve written about them before.

This is about strengthening your skills.

What kind of tone did you most enjoy writing it? Satire? Heartfelt and romantic? Upbeat? Dark? Dreamy? Clipped and spare? None of these are the ‘right’ choice in any objective sense.

There is no ‘best’ tone to write a story in, only the tone that fills you with glee.

What genre did you find yourself coming back to over and over again? Mystery? Speculative? Historical? Romance? Literary? A blend of genres? (Literary Horror? Paranormal Romance? Romance Fantasy?)

Let yourself run wild in that genre today.

What length of story came most naturally to you? 100 words? 1200? 2000?

Aim for that today and spend a few minutes thinking about how much space that gives you for setting the scene, describing characters, introducing plot complications and side characters, description, and all the other details.

It should become clear to you why the common writing advice is ‘get your characters into trouble as quickly as possible’.

Spend a little time thinking before you write, so you don’t have to do it on the page.

(Or, you know, if you’re like me and you think best on the page, write it all out, then cherry pick the ‘real’ start of your story)

Leave a comment and let us know how it went!

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11 thoughts on “The Right Container | StoryADay 2024 Day 30”

  1. Today, before I even looked through the stories I’d written this month I wrote one about a wife getting even with her husband. Then after looking at my past stories, I realize this is a common theme for me; either I write about that or use other relatives of the main character in the plot. Some of them are really annoying but even with their problems, some (but not all) turn out to have good qualities. Btw, the wife is not perfect.
    The story I wrote today is about a wife with a husband who makes oodles of money and then leaves her without any support. They have three children. Of course, she hasn’t been working and doesn’t want to really, so she forges a check every month with his signature until she gets caught. The story goes on and on and I still need a way to simplify it. I see now that I can cut a lot out of my stories in order to make them better.

  2. I had to think about this one for a while, but the “conflict with their nemesis” gave me a way in. Flash is my usually preferred form, and the draft came in about 800 words. First person narrative, by someone who doesn’t realize something important about himself/his attitude. And I indulged my sentimentality: former friends, long become enemies, reconcile when one of them (not the narrator) initiates a joking contest. Next thing you know I’ll be writing for Hallmark.

  3. It’s my day off today so I indulged in a longer story, about 2500 words. I returned to a mad scientist / rebellious apprentice dynamic that has been popping up throughout the month. It was really good to dig into a slightly more complex story and stay with it until the draft was complete!

  4. I wrote a drabble, featuring characters from my beauty and the beat retelling. It even came out at exactly 100 the first time through. Don’t think that has ever happened before.

    1. I’m still pondering that one. It left me wondering, questioning how misleading had he been, was it just the photo, what about all those other women, was he even married? it would’ve been good to see your character ponder, pose those questions in another entry – you could def keep going with this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I used this prompt to write a continuation of yesterday’s story.

    I completed my story but I left the reader hanging. I picked up where I left off yesterday.

    My character’s nemesis is herself and her lack of confidence in her abilities. I wrote about 600 words but not done. I need to get ready for work. I’ll pick it back up when I get home.

  6. Today’s prompt was a big ask. We were asked to take into account Character, Genre, Tone, Mood, Length and what not. But writers should be used to such elements while writing their stories. I wanted to write a flash fiction of 1200 words. When I looked at the word count later, my story had exceeded the limits by 45 words. I’ll work on that later. Mentally exhausted, let me share my story that I authored at a go.)
    “The chicken curry tonight, I admit, was a little hot,” Meera said to her husband. “It’s all due to the ginger, you know. No, believe me, I added no other spices.” She concluded, sitting on the chair turned away to her right from the dining table, rubbing the top of her nose.
    “It’s not a little hot, Ma,” exclaimed her daughter, Amrita, still holding the plates and mugs to be washed, in her hands. Decent as she was, she couldn’t break Ma’s heart by disagreeing with her on the issue between her parents.

    Standing with his head bent in the basin in a corner of the dining room, Ron continued brushing his teeth viciously. How he wished that all the heat inside his mouth would go away with the brushing! Unfortunately, even after rinsing his mouth several times, it was all puffed up inside and hurting from the “a little hot chicken curry”!

    He had tried to tell Meera several times when they were still more of lovers than a married couple, that he had read it in a magazine that excessive spice or chilli in the curry was never good on the stomach. That’s why so many people are found suffering from stomach ulcers these days.

    There was no point trying to make her understand though. She either simply didn’t try to or loved hot chilli curry too much herself. When he realised that his words were falling on deaf ears, he did what he was good at, instead of those arguments, he preferred to keep silent.

    He kept worrying about their only child, Amrita still. The girl in her early twenties, was a looker. Oval faced; large, black eyes; front hair arranged in fringes across the forehead by the hairdresser, and the rest, divided into two parts falling down on either side of her face with her fair skin glowing like it would light up a dark room! In short, she was God’s ultimate gift to them. But the problem was that she was very thin. Sometimes, Ron would feel that she had been using the same clothes she had worn years ago and still weighed at 22, 47 kgs!

    Amrita, like any other girl of her age, was extremely fond of her Ma. Ma was her best buddy. She could share anything under the sun with her mother. Like when Vishal, that Punjabi lad in the office, had gifted her a Titan wristwatch, unbeknownst to most, in the Christmas Eve Party. She refused the watch, making sure Vishal didn’t feel hurt in the process. She was still not prepared for any relationship as yet. Her Ma knew about all the other boys crushing on her at college, office and in the near neighborhood.

    Amrita would never do anything to hurt her mother. But Ron was scared. He had the feeling that Amrita or Meera for the matter, would start complaining of a stomach ache after the meal one day and the mole hole would turn out to be a mountain, if you know what I mean.

    Ron wasn’t bothered much about himself. Being a retired professional, in his late sixties, 69 to be exact, he felt that he had already one foot firmly planted in the grave!

    In bed that turbulent night, lying side by side, glued to their mobiles, Ron couldn’t help broaching the topic.

    “It’s not late yet, Meera. You still have time not to make the dishes so spicy or this hot. But it’s pointless talking to you like this. You’ll get the message the day when Amrita starts complaining of a severe upset tummy and has to be hospitalized. I only hope and pray that it won’t be too late by then…”

    Meera removed the earphones from her ears, looked quizzically at him before asking: “Did you say anything?”
    “I’m telling you,” Ron replied, shaking his head all along, “not to make the curry so hot.”
    “Oh, darling. Don’t be so dramatic. I know the curry was hot tonight. But believe you me it was due to the ginger I put in. I don’t use dry chilli in the curries any more. I’m really sorry…”

    She then put the earpods back into the ears, finding Ron having turned to his left with his mobile held up some ten inches from his face like the eye specialist suggested a couple of years back after his cataract surgery.

    But the hit waves from the kitchen to the dining table continued. And the night Meera cooked ema datshi, a special dish made up of giant-sized, red, dry chillies and cheese, a Tibetan dish she had picked up from a friend – Amrita took to bed in pain. She had acute diarrhea for the whole of the next day till the family physician had to be sent for.

    That night, Ron, frustrated, sitting at the top of her bead, running his hand through Amrita’s hair, Ron muttered to himself :
    “Nothing’s gonna change in this household unless and until someone’s a goner. It’ll be too late to mend ways by then though.”

    Meera didn’t like his tone and a near scene between the couple was avoided at Amrita’s pitiful pleas: “No, Ma, don’t mind what father’s said. To me, my Ma’s the best cook in the world. And I like your ema datshi as hot as it gets…..”

    As ill-luck would have it, it was Ron who fell sick one afternoon after a close cousin of Meera was invited to lunch. The women, including Amrita, had hardly taken their seats, post lunch, in the chairs around the round dining table with its glass top, when there came a howling sound from inside the bedroom. Ron was found delirious. As he was being rushed along the hospital corridor, his eyes closed, hands folded across his chest, he sighed, having heard Meera telling that relative :

    “No, I don’t make anything spicy any more. It doesn’t go smooth on his stomach. And Ron habitually, wouldn’t take anything spicy or hot, you know. He’s very particular about his diet….”

    Ron was diagnosed to have tumory ulcers in his stomach. The Doctor suggested an immediate operation.
    The day he had undergone the surgery, Amrita came out in the evening to join a few relatives sitting on the rows of chairs outside the ICU, she sat down beside her Pissi.
    “You know, Ranu Pissi, Baba never took anything hot or spicy out of habit. How did he get this horrible disease then?”

    Meera, sitting like a statue on the back row, turned her head away at the columns of glossy, spiralling floors below before expressing, with a far-away look in her eyes :
    “I guess one should never complain about anything that God’s kind enough to provide us on our table. I’ve a clear conscience for I never made any dishes that would be ruinous for my family health. Now. See, who is paying the price…?”

    Back in the ICU, Ron, in a comma from which he was never to wake up again, smiled weakly inside.
    The Almighty has done the right thing. The day Amrita had been hospitalized with severe diarrhoea, he, after coming back home, made a request to the altar in the altar room. Nothing should ever go wrong with his daughter. If God wanted someone to suffer, he ought to be chosen.

    Being in his late sixties, Ron had long felt that he had outgrown his uses in this World!
    The end

    1. Rathin, I loved it, the twist at the end was superbly delivered. Oh and mid-way another turn of phrase that in its delivery is superb ‘mole hole would turn out to be a mountain’. I’ve never read or heard that phrase before, although the term ‘to make a mountain out of a mole hill’ is clearly the opposite – again well done.

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