A Writing Challenge from a Friend

The other day, I was on my computer, trying to write, but nothing was coming to me. I had Facebook open in a browser window, and typed “I want to write, but I’m drawing a blank on what to write about. Anyone have a challenge for me?” into the status update bar.

Within minutes, my good friend Davis (a fellow writer) wrote back, “Southern Gothic, involving a cryptid in some way.”

It wasn’t long before I was researching the genre and various forms of cryptids (check out Wikipedia’s list of them here). This is what I came up with :



Ignis fatuus, their grandmother said, calm, when they told her about the lights. The lights that hung and swayed and changed color and swept out and away and grew so close you could almost see the dancing in them. She had a way of talking that, for years, had confounded them with its definitiveness, made them walk away accepting any answer as the answer, no matter how little they understood it.

Ignis fatuus, she said again with a nod. The shadows of the flowers on the bull bays were like a pattern of lace that drew across her wrinkled face as she rocked back and forth on the old red rocking chair. She nodded again, firmly, and flicked her wrist back and forth, propelling her paper fan and the humid air. But even see could see how they had grown, how her defintiveness was no longer enough.

Hinkypunk. Will-o’-the-wisp.

They stood, waiting.

A naturally occurring phenomenon.

They knew not even their resolve could take them further than these words, as plain as their grandmother had ever spoken to them. Her mouth set itself back into its firm line. But natural phenomenons explained nothing. Not the lights, dipping and wooing and wincing, or the fact that they had come, night after night, starting the night the night Monroe disappeared.



About thebaffledkingcomposing

Pamela DiFrancesco is a writer with a community college degree in journalism, a fancy art school degree in fiction and a penchant for community organizing. A native of Pennsylvania coal country, Pamela lives in Astoria, Queens, writes, and does whatever else it takes to pay the bills. In the past, Pamela has worked for newspapers and taught children journalism in an after-school program. Pamela's fiction can be found on the web at Cezanne's Carrot and Monkeybicycle, in print in The Carolina Quarterly (who nominated "The Chuck Berry Tape Massacre" for the Best American Mystery Writing anthology) and forthcoming in The New Ohio Review. When not writing, Pamela practices acts of love and kindness in hopes of a radically different world, and is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse through acts of badassery.
This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s