Both are valid as short stories, although the latter would also fit under the flash fiction label.
Train Trouble is long enough to include two main characters, a minor character and some walk-on parts. It also contains several descriptions of places, indoors and out, and a number of scenes.
A Sticky Interview has two characters and two scenes. Descriptions are sparse and concern themselves with nothing more than the particular topic of the story. Yet, its very length led me to experiment. Where else would I write a sentence like:
The blushes lap at his throat, burning his words.
I haven’t written anything quite like that in a longer short story, and certainly not in a novel. Perhaps I should try it, but would I be able to maintain the style in a longer piece?
The last day of 2021 sees the publication of eleven dark and compelling stories set in the French capital.
Bravely, we looked down from the top of the roller coaster of stories, searching for themes in six of them, and came up with three:
An Unusual Offer
A Sacrifice Fit For a King by Cathie Dunn The Marquise de Montespan strikes a deal with the Devil to become King Louis XIV’s maîtresse-en-titre, but it comes at a high price.
The Camera Never Lies by Sue Barnard The narrator’s coffee arrives with a free glass of cognac and a madeleine, which she accepts even though it’s a bit early in the day for spirits…
Train Trouble by Miriam Drori The narrator, though wary of returning to France, can’t resist the offer of a free luxury holiday in Paris.
Lost and Found by Mary Kendall A little girl in a red sweater hides in the edges of the Catacombs.
The Rose of Montmartre by Christopher Stanfield A serial killer, believed to be dead, has been living a quiet life in Paris under a fake name.
Ignoring a Warning
The Corpse in The Grave by Val Penny A soldier comes to the rescue when a girl falls and warns her to be careful, but she doesn’t heed the warning.
Two charities will benefit from sales of darkstroke’s upcoming Dark Paris anthology:
The Restaurants du Cœur (literally Restaurants of the Heart but meaning Restaurants of Love), is commonly known as the Restos du Cœur. Its main activity is to distribute food packages and hot meals to those in need across France. It does not only target homeless, but also all those with a low or very low income, and helps people to find housing and supports other projects.
The Fondation Brigitte Bardot fights against all forms of animal abuse in France and abroad. It participates in projects of reintroduction into the wild and the creation of sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres for wildlife.
Over to You
What do those themes mean to you? Do they remind you of something you experienced or heard about? We’d love to hear your stories.
You can write here in the comments, or on social media wherever you saw the link to this post.
Remember that novel I was going to write in November? Well, I wrote it. I didn’t reach the magic total of 50,000 words, by I did pass 40,000, and now I have the first draft of a sequel to Style and the Solitary that will need a lot more work before I can submit it for publication.
As well as spending time writing every day in November, I wandered around Jerusalem and further afield, gathering information for the novel. Here are a few of the pictures I took:
As every year, there was plenty of support from our local group of writers, and in particular Melina Kantor and Shoshana Raun. I wouldn’t have managed without them.
Now, I’m trying to catch up on all the tasks I postponed in November.
I’m also looking forward to the publication of Dark Paris, an anthology of dark stories set in Paris, all proceeds of which go to two charities: Restaurants du Cœur and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. My contribution to the anthology is called Train Trouble.