Three minute fiction: Brighton

(For over ten years, Ellen de Vries and I have run Not for the Faint-Hearted, a workshop where people have three minutes to write a story prompted by a picture. This is a story I wrote in a recent session, lightly edited)

Brighton

Source: Chris Gold (CC NY-BC 2.0)

After Brighton was franchised they built replicas around the world. In Pyongyang, factory workers are made to queue for an i360 replica. In Delhi, the Grubbs burger concessions sell no meat. And in Buenos Aires, a statue of Borges presides over the Steine.

A thousand copies, each now veering from the original. Here, an undamaged pier juts out over what was once a lake. There, a lazy vulture wheels around an imitation of the Churchill Square car parks. The original is lost – it must be one of these places, but no-one remembers which.

Three minute fiction: The Conductor

(For over ten years, Ellen de Vries and I have run Not for the Faint-Hearted, a workshop where people have three minutes to write a story prompted by a picture. This is a story I wrote in a recent session, lightly edited)

The Conductor

Source: National Archives and Records Administration

One of the most notorious video nasties was 1983’s The Conductor. Much of the film is dull – tedious shots of the conductor going about his business. Serious gorehounds often left the cinema before the shocking end sequence. Nobody ever quite agrees on what they see: like Psycho’s shower scene, frame-by-frame analysis reveals none of the supposed mayhem. But that last shot – the worn hand clipping a ticket – became the source of many bleak nightmares. Nobody ever watches the film a second time.

Three minute fiction: puppets

(For over ten years, Ellen de Vries and I have run Not for the Faint-Hearted, a workshop where people have three minutes to write a story prompted by a picture. This is a story I wrote in a recent session, lightly edited)

Puppets

As a child, Ella was terrified of the puppets. They covered every wall of the room, meaning whichever way she looked, some were behind her. She tried to memorise the position of their limbs, to know if they’d moved since she last turned around.

One night she woke with a puppet in her bed. Her mother forced her brother to admit he’d put it there. Sobbing, the next day, he told her the truth – he was too scared to even touch those things.

The Return of Not for the Faint-Hearted

Photo by dade_p
The bucket was too small for Mickey’s head. But Minnie kept the ears (Photo by Dade_p from flickr CC)

Some years back now, Ellen de Vries and I started Not for the Faint-Hearted. It was intended as a one-off experimental writing workshop but was so much fun that it became a monthly event. It’s been on hiatus for a while but I brought it back last night for another session at the Skiff. We had 14 people, a mix of old faces and new, and it was as much fun as ever.

The aim of NFTFH is that we show the group a picture and they have three minutes to write a response – a story, poem or some dialogue. Then everyone has to read out something of what they’ve written. And you’re not allowed to apologise. What I like most is how funny and entertaining the pieces are – whether or not the people doing them consider themselves writers or not.

Next month’s event is on March 9th and tickets are now available. The pictures this month were:

  1. Airport Motel, 1956
  2. The TukTuk and the street food clients
  3. Time for supper everyone
  4. Waiter smoking, Paris
  5. Kansas Farmhouse
  6. A 1919 Sunday Supper
  7. WWPW-Brighton-19
  8. Voie ferree de cave
  9. The Secret History
  10. Containers
  11. Echo