42 is the Right Answer, Day 29

key sYou’ll need to do some reading to get the best from today’s creative writing prompt:

Family obligations.

Write a piece of short fiction (2,000 – 2,500 words) about someone faced with family obligations they can’t get out of, someone coming back home after a long stay away who is faced with siblings or other relations they’ve almost lost touch with. There might be some keys and letters involved.

Write in close third person (meaning you only report what your protagonist experiences, if he/she wasn’t there, don’t include the scene, and don’t include other points of view). Be sure to include some realistic dialogue to reveal plenty about your characters and their situation.

If you like writing short stories, make sure you read plenty by well-published authors.

Here are two gems from masters in their craft, both award-winning Irish writers producing world-class contemporary fiction. I’ve chosen these two because I have been to workshops by both writers and admire their work.

Foster is by Claire Keegan, first published in The New Yorker, in February 2010 : read it here

Primal Cuts by Danielle McLaughlin, is from September 2017, published in The Lonely Crowd: read it here

At the heart of both stories is the theme of family obligations, although the two tales are completely different in style and content. Foster is written in present first person from the point of view of an unwanted child learning a new way of living among adults she doesn’t understand. Primal Cuts is in close third person, in past tense reporting the views of a man facing the bizarre demands of his adult sister while considering regrets he still harbours about a past relationship.

Ask yourself what the authors are trying to say and if they are successful in telling a story. Is there a narrative structure you recognize (a beginning, middle and an end)? Do the stories finish where you expect them to? Do they begin at the right point? Are the characters believable? What about use of language? Do they have a wide appeal? Who do you think they were written for?

Now you have a go!

Back to Basics – if you need to catch up,  it started  here (but we’re over half way through now).

I intend posting prompts here each day (until May Day) at 5pm – alive at five (Dublin time).