Call Me Les Summer Fiction Series
Vocal's Summer Fiction Series was my first real attempt at short fictions. Prior to this, my primary writing attempts were novels or books. I did manage to publish one, Owl in a Towel, which you can find here.
I summarized my rationale for entering Vocal challenges and I maintain they are one of the most cost effective and uplifting writing contests you can enter. I learned so much by pushing myself and sharing and collaborating with my peers. If you're on the fence, this article just might convince you to take the plunge. After all, it's cheaper than Netflix and you walk away with a new portfolio entry.
About the contest:
"This series is comprised of eight short fiction Challenges ranging in length from one week to eight weeks long. Each prompt is inspired by a different book from a traditional summer reading list, full of the classics that so many of us read and reread throughout childhood and adolescence to prepare for the school year ahead. We'll start with childhood classics like Matilda and Charlotte's Web, and work our way up through those high school staples like Catcher in the Rye and The Bluest Eye. It’s a little nostalgia, and a whole lot of creativity."
SFS 1 Old Barn Prompt Inspiration: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Must include: Old barn
Bear in mind here, the audience is for tweens.
SFS 2 Death by Chocolate Inspiration: Matilda by Roald Dahl
Must include: chocolate cake
I've since updated this story from chocolate cake to pancakes.
SFS 3 Brown Paper Package Inspiration: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Must include: brown paper package
My tabby cat approves of this entry. My calico says she is severely unappreciated and demands her story be entered into this index as well (even though it was for the EmPAWyee of the Month contest).
SFS 4 Golden Summer Inspiration: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Must include: marigolds
I managed to blend my favourite opera with my favourite Tolkien quote and I was quite pleased with the result.
SFS 5 Raging Bull Inspiration: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway
Must include: a bull
This was my absolute favourite. Something about it just clicked. I was able to take some inspiration from one of my own childhood favourites, The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin.
SFS 6 Green Light Inspiration: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Must include: green light
This was inspired by a dear friend who lives up north but the plot is a work of fiction. I also adore the song, "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel and used that as ambience for the piece.
SFS 7: Long Thaw Inspiration: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Must include: a frozen pond
One of my favourite movies of all time is Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand. This was a fictional exploration of the inner thoughts of the main character Fanny and her divorce from her embezzling husband. Of course I included the song "My Man I Love Him So".
SFS 8: Pear Tree Inspiration: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Must include: pear tree
This story very nearly didn't make it into the challenge. I had this grand idea and lots of description but I couldn't get the plot to close. So, I turned to my writing partner, Tom Bradbury, along with my co-worker, James U. Rizzi. Tom has since passed and this story will remain one of our greatest projects together in our too short partnership.
My SFS Magnum Opus Featured All the Prompts
This is actually an excerpt from a novel I hope to finish one day. I hope you enjoy this retelling of an old myth from a woman's lens.
After EmPAWyee of the month I went on a writing hiatus for personal works. It just wasn't the same without Tom. Then Foggy Waters was announced and I rallied for a final fiction— a horror no less!
Whether you read some or none of these, I will treasure this 2021 index as a lasting entry in my burgeoning writing portfolio. I owe Vocal so much for pushing me to expand my horizons, step outside my comfort zone and create a remarkable selection of short fictions.
This index is dedicated to the memory of Tom Bradbury. My eulogy for him is featured below. His fictions and Vocal career are immortalized in a double set of compilations included within.
If you'd like to learn more about my portfolio on Vocal Media, why I write and the suite of products I've created thus far, including 2 Facebook Groups and a magazine, it's detailed below in my Vocal Creator Spotlight
Find me online in the Vocal Social Society
Check out my book here:
And my magazine here:
Published by Call Me Les on January 15, 2022.