Davy’s on the Road Again

new dafsFirst off, Happy St David’s Day!  I’m married to a David, who is also Welsh, so this feast day doesn’t pass by unnoticed in our house. Mind you, this year’s garden Daffodils have been a bit tardy in blooming in time to join our celebrations. The ones in the picture are from a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about today’s creative writing prompt/exercise: eavesdropping.

These two things are connected, albeit tenuously!

I confess to being a compulsive eavesdropper. Conversations going on at the next table are often so intriguing, I can’t help listening in – all in the name of ‘research’, you understand. And I subsequently take notes, which can often generate some good story ideas.

Here are three bits of conversations I overheard last week when I was in a café waiting for a friend to arrive (spot the one with a link to today!):

“… I told her not to go for the grey, but she wouldn’t listen, never does. The pink was lovely, but the orange…”

“… she only let the one in, she made the others wait outside in the rain…”

“…it should have been a done deal, but you know what Dave is like with all those little boxes…”

welsh dragon sYour task today is to overhear some interesting (or dull!) snippets of conversation and use them to inspire a piece of flash fiction – 500 words max. Don’t forget, your title isn’t usually included in the wordcount, so you can use it to say something extra. Try not to waste the opportunity to set the scene with a title of just one or two words if a dozen can say more. We’ll be covering how to find titles for your work later in this series…

If you can’t get out to overhear your neighbours’ conversations, you are welcome to borrow one of my suggestions above as inspiration for your flash fiction. Another possibility is to listen to a radio phone-in for a few minutes, or flick channels on daytime TV until you get to a chat show and jot down a few minutes-worth of the exchanges. It doesn’t have to make sense – the point is, this is a trigger for your imagination. But be careful – don’t let the radio/TV/internet distract you from your writing! Force yourself to switch off after a couple of minutes of listening.

When you have perfected your piece of writing, you may like to find a home for it. Here’s a competition for 500 word stories (with a closing date at the end of March 2023, so you’ve time to enter), with prizes and on-line publication for the winners:  Flash 500.   You can also read the most recent prize-winning entries (always interesting to see what judges are looking for!). Decide for yourself if flash fiction like this works better with or without direct speech – all top three stories in the most recent competition have little or no direct speech. And two of the three have one or two-word titles. Clearly, what do I know?

*Davy’s on the Road Again, a song by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from (gasp!) 1978

Call in again next week for another creative writing prompt/exercise to help you generate some new material. As always, 5pm (Dublin time, aka GMT) on Wednesday. Subscribe to get notifications of when new posts go up.