When I was writing my novels back in the 1990’s and 2000’s I never had a community of writers, either in person or on-line. I had the deluded notion that associating with other writers just meant someone would steal your work–that happened to me in the 1980’s. And, yes, it was deluded because writers are incredibly supportive of each other’s work. I mean, where else are you going to find someone who understands when you talk of your characters as real people or about the world you’ve created as reality?
Writers can also inspire you, and not just in the way you’re inspired when you read something by your favorite author. Writer friends encourage you, support you, critique you, and challenge you. From Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers, I’m accumulating my 100-word stories into a manuscript (titled Extinction Level Event) I want to submit for a chapbook contest. From Jennie Coughlin’s Story Cubes Challenge, I’m collecting my espionage vignettes into a manuscript I’ve tentatively titled Spy Flash (because the pieces are short enough to be flash fiction).
This is writing I wouldn’t have done if not for these two writers, and if not for these two writers, I wouldn’t have met other writers on-line and in person to inspire and encourage me.
One particular item in today’s Story Cubes Challenge picture led me right to the character I wanted to highlight in a short piece. It’s Nelson, the one-named head of the fictional intelligence organization called The Directorate. He was Alexei Bukharin’s partner until a near-fatal injury put him behind a desk, from where he eventually became director. Because of his injury he uses a cane, and since one of the cubes showed a cane, you get a little glimpse into the history of this man so involved with his secret organization he never leaves its premises.
And here’s “The One Who Got Away.” (If you don’t see the link highlighted, hover your cursor over the Story Cubes Challenge tab above and select the title from the drop-down list.)
If you want to participate in the Story Cubes Challenge, use the picture to the left and write a story of any length using those items and actions. Then, post a link to your story on Jenny Coughlin’s blog for the rest of us to read.