the test of time

sunset crane

photo credit: Sarah Miles

Last month I entered a flash fiction competition over at Paper Swans. The challenge was to write a 150 word piece of flash fiction using the photo to the right as a prompt.

My entry didn’t win but as it was the shortest ‘story’ I had ever written I was quite chuffed that I managed to do it at all – I really had to hack it back to what felt like the bare bones.

Anyway, I thought I would share it here. I’d love to know your thoughts (the winner was decided by votes so I didn’t get any feedback… that could be a good thing though!)

Oh, and do pop over to Paper Swans; it’s a new venture supporting poets and writers of flash fiction and is well worth a look.

The Test of Time

She had always been tall and skinny although, even in her early days, was never considered beautiful. Those she worked alongside had inevitably attracted more admiration than she could with her awkward, angular frame.

Yet, as the years had gone by, people around her had gained a certain appreciation for what she did have to offer. After all, a towering physique was exactly what was needed in her line of work and what she lacked in aesthetics she certainly made up for in strength. This recognition had allowed her to power through life, stacking up accomplishments. On reaching the glass ceiling she’d simply smashed it up and thrown it on the scrapheap.

But now her lengthy working life was drawing to a close and as the sun sank below the skyline she downed tools for the final time. Peace descended over the construction site. Tomorrow a newer, more modern crane would take her place: she was officially ‘out of service’.

Prose for Thought

17 thoughts on “the test of time

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Chrissie! It was quite hard working out way to describe a crane that could also describe a woman! Have written an entry for this month but just re-read it and had an attack of the ‘oh it’s crap!’s, so I’ll have to see about that! Are you entering?

      Reply
        1. Maddy Post author

          I liked your #prose4t – short and snappy! I may send my story over (thanks) after I’ve tinkered with it a bit… although that would mean you couldn’t vote as it’s supposed to be blind…

          Reply
  1. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    I’m always so impressed with flash fiction and although I do try to be concise when I write, to write something meaningful in so few words… Don’t think I could do it! Really enjoyed this, very cleverly done x #Prose4T

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sara! I’m quite a newbie to flash fiction and found it almost impossible at the first attempt so I’d say – give it a go, you never know what you might be able to write!

      Reply
  2. Emily Page

    Well done. Lovely piece – enjoyed as much as when I read it on Paper Swans!
    Flash fiction isn’t something I find easy either. Almost impossible. Harder than haiku or even a short and sweet poem…great first effort x

    Reply
  3. Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    Sometimes hacking back to the bare bones makes something far more descriptive – as you have done here. I often take great chunks out of what I write leaving the reader to draw their own images as they see fit.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I definitely think it’s a skill worth honing, leaving the reader to use thier imaginations can be a very good thing. Thanks for commenting Rosie.

      Reply
  4. Sadie Hanson

    Great twist at the end. Very imaginative. I think writing flash fiction and short stories is a real art which really helps to hone your prose and turn of phrase. X

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sadie! I’m trying to practise as I think you’re right – flash fiction is like a creative writing work out!

      Reply
  5. Judith

    I loved this when I read it in the competition! It almost has a double twist, because at the “downed tools” line I first thought the trick was that it was a female construction worker, but I was delighted to discover she was actually a crane. Brilliant!

    Reply

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