Here are the 2020’s guidelines:
1. Post a prompt and short story each month (12 by the end of the year).
2. Each short story should be a minimum of 800 words. I don’t always write that much. I try to push myself but working on my novel and other life stuff sometimes gets in the way. Well… not this year!
3. Each short story is going to take place in the same “world.” The idea behind this new challenge is that I want to work on building characters and elements that work together. Maybe by the end of the year, I will have something that could be published together or even used to jump start a longer work.
January 2020 Short Story of the Month Present Day… I stopped for a breath before cutting the turkey. I wanted to appreciate the moment. Seeing everyone there, sitting around the table, almost felt like we were a family again. But if we had been a real family, my decision wouldn’t have caused a war. I… Continue reading Turkey Dinner Stalemate
February 2020 short story of the month I didn’t cry when she died, or at the funeral, or at the reception. It wasn’t until the next morning when I went to the pantry and saw row upon row of canned vegetables, fruits, and jams she had prepared for the long winter ahead. The shelves were… Continue reading Canned Memories
March 2020 Short Story of the Month To call him stubborn would be polite. Not that politeness mattered to him. Malcolm would probably describe himself as principled. Those closest to him would probably use different words, like jack ass. He never broke the rules. He made the rest of us uncomfortable. We never asked him… Continue reading Adventure
April 2020’s short story of the month It was different, writing on a typewriter; the clatter and noise, the resistance of the old keys forcing her to really put effort into each letter. She imagined she was writing the next best-selling novel. This momentarily distracted her from the reality of what she was really doing… Continue reading Lesson Learned
May 2020’s short story of the month Present day… It was odd to be in a room full of people who all seemed to look up to my dad like he was some kind of hero. A part of me wanted to see him through their eyes just for a moment. I tried to picture… Continue reading Dad, Follower of Merlin
June 2020’s short story of the month After the funeral, I spent the next few days in the attic, reading the letters my mother had written him in the years before they were married. He had never been the sentimental type, so I was surprised to find a whole box of them, carefully bundled. Holding… Continue reading Love Letters
July 2020’s short story of the month It felt uncanny, but oddly good, to hear kids running through the house again. I wondered if I could handle being a father, or at least a father figure, after all these years. I thought about the times when my wife and I fought. It was always about… Continue reading Battlemage for Life
August 2020’s short story of the month Always the same old lines whenever she came home for the holidays, like her parents were rehearsing a play over and over and never could get it right. Yet they didn’t seem to notice how much they repeated themselves. Her father would sit down to dinner and say… Continue reading Time Magic
September 2020’s short story of the month She kept pacing the living room, back and forth, back and forth, not saying a word. It would have been easier if she had just come out and told us how disappointed she was, announced our punishment, and sent us to our rooms. But she wanted us to… Continue reading Trouble, Trouble, Trouble
October 2020’s short story of the month She was the new girl. The one who sat in the cafeteria at lunch alone. Maybe she was from the next state over. Maybe she was from another country. I wanted to know everything about her: her mother’s name, her favorite movie, if she had brothers, sisters, what… Continue reading New Friend
November 2020’s short story of the month In German it’s called a doppelganger, a look-alike. Literally, a “double-goer.” I stared at the boy in the newspaper article. Was it possible that he wasn’t aware that he had a double out there, just like I didn’t know until today when my cousin showed me the paper?… Continue reading Double Double
December 2020’s short story of the month As a kid I’d spend almost all of my allowance money on going to the movies. I’d go see a double feature on a Saturday afternoon and emerge from the dark theater into the blinding sunlight, and it seemed like it was the “real” world that was made… Continue reading Real Life