July 01, 2014

New Explorations in Writing by Sandi Somers

“The real voyage of discovery consists…in having new eyes.”  ~ Marcel Proust

This month’s prompt asks you to explore, traveling in new directions. Perhaps you tend to write in only one particular genre, or in one particular voice and style for a particular audience. This month become an explorer by selecting a genre or a voice/style that you haven’t worked in before (or rarely). Write for a different audience. Do a little research. Then tell us how you saw with new eyes, what you discovered and if you would consider further writing in this genre.

I tried Flash Fiction, and here’s my experiment.

My niece Joelle, a teacher, couldn’t find foam chips to fill large cushions her mom was making for her students. She had looked everywhere.

“Maybe you’ll just have to drive to the US for some,” I suggested.

“Oh, sure, sure,” she said. “I can just see the customs agent checking through all those bags for drugs.”

Suddenly I visualized a scene: Joelle at the border as the customs agent, head and arms in the bags, searched through those foam chips. Finally in frustration and without finding drugs, he banged the stamp in her passport and waved Joelle on…with foam chips, unknown to him, all over his face.

“Now if I were a novelist,” I told her, “I would add that anecdote to my novel.”

A short time later while thinking about this month’s blog topic, I decided to write Joelle’s story as flash fiction. I didn’t need to be a novelist to write it.

The story grew as I added incidents from my own experiences and observations at border crossings and airports. And as I had filled figure skating costumes with foam chips before, I knew how full of static they could become.

I enjoyed writing. Similes and hyperbole came easily. The flash-fiction style of dramatic introduction, complications throughout and surprise ending opened my eyes to how I could write more effective scenes in my ongoing writing.

Will I try flash fiction again? Yes, definitely, as I discover other inspiring prompts. Who knows what this may lead to?

And now over to you. I can’t wait to read your experiments and discoveries this month.


  1. Sandi, I like how you took the challenge and then let it run away with itself. I belong to a writing group that has that premise, although they never defined it as such. After a year a few are leaving because they feel those 3 hrs a month take away from time they could be focused on their WOP.

    Your experiment reminds me that as writers we need to stay open to all sorts of ideas if we're going to grow. Thanks for sharing how easy it can be.


  2. Thanks for taking the lead on this month's theme. You send a note of encouragement to begin the challenge for ourselves.

  3. Daring to be different can sometimes be a challenge. We like our comfortable pews, don't we? Thanks for getting us started on the July blogging challenge, Sandi. I love how your dare tread and then plan to revisit. Great job!

  4. What a great beginning to the month. Thanks. I write on the 11th and was not sure if what I was considering to write about would work. After reading your post, I think it will. I'm looking forward to reading all the posts this this month.

  5. Thanks Sandi
    It's only July 2, and between your post and Marcia's I have more than enough challenges for this summer month! (And I'm still working on the re-working challenge you posted previously)

  6. Sandi, I was intrigued with your exploration of Flash Fiction (something, I admit, I wasn't familiar with until you mentioned it). Sounds like a fun thing to try.

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement. I'm glad that it has been a spur for you to try your experiments!

  8. I enjoyed reading about how you accepted the challenge, Sandi. Good for you.

  9. I had to giggle when you mentioned that the border guard had styrofoam clinging to his face! ha ha, this makes a great scene in a story!


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