Recently, I was inspired to complete a short story I’ve been sitting on for the past couple of weeks. I can’t tell you what defining event sent this surreal tale of a dancer’s deadly ambivalence towards her would-be euthanizer into a state of completion. I can, however, give credit where credit is due: ReedsyPrompts writer and previous contest winner Scott Christenson generously agreed to swap critiques with me, thus propelling my new fic across the finish line. His constructive feedback helped me tighten the prose and imbue the story’s conclusion with emotional resonance.
I chose the prompt “Write about a character who returns to their hometown” for my LGBTQ spec fic “Swan Song.”
As she approached the throng of admirers, Lavinia’s kohl-lined gaze fell on me. She didn’t smile. A jolt of attraction as uncommon as a Hunter’s Moon electrified my senses. I leaned into the frisson of energy. Chemistry: a rare occurrence on the clock. Bonus, I thought, grinning broadly.
“Not here,” Lavinia said sotto voce before I could introduce myself.
“Wait outside the south entrance. I’ll be finished in half an hour.”
“What gave me away?” I asked, genuinely curious.
Her jaw tightened. “Tunnel vision—you look like a woman on a mission.”
She melted into the crowd, leaving me to savor my intrigue.
Highlight from my previous entry “Untimely”
“We’re running out of time,” I murmured, breaking our kiss. Magda’s full lips held the flavor of bittersweet fruit. She reached for my hand through the iron bars separating us. “I’m scared.”
Diving in for another taste, I pushed my tongue inside her mouth, passing along the beeswax-coated pill Granny Annie had planted in my biscuit during yesterday’s afternoon tea. Magda gasped in surprise, but she kept the Honey in place, poised to swallow it.
“Enough!” A ponytail-wearing guard rapped her baton against her palm. “Step back.”
Recommended Reading by Other Authors
Scott Christenson‘s winning entry for Contest #158, written for a Better Call Saul-inspired prompt:
3 years later, the Airbnb host job blew up when I told a tenant to ignore a minor gas leak until our maintenance expert was available. The Fire Department said someone needed to be responsible for the unfortunate conflagration. Mrs Anderson said that someone was me. I began to look for new job opportunities.
A job listing said, “Are you good at talking to people? Can you handle a high stress job environment? Do you want to be part of the FUTURE?”
Repeat winner yves.‘s multi-layered take on the prompt “Write about somebody looking for love on a reality TV show”:
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Shiloh murmured.
“The same thing you are.”
Vidalia turned back to the dock, sticking her hands in the pockets of her jacket. The rest of the cast was walking up now, despite the camera crew’s desperate get out motions. “If you want the gentleman, have him. I’m asking you to leave me the tiger.”
One more thing…
I’m always looking to swap critiques or interview authors and artists for my Spotlight series. Intrigued? Please drop me a line: r.n. firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve also started a new private server on Discord. If you’re over eighteen and love to chat about writing craft, crave feedback on your work, or want to trade book recs, you can DM me through my Discord profile R. N. Jayne#5914 to request an invite.