Gulp Fiction

WordPress tells me that I have written well over 300 posts since I started my blog seven years ago (on September 5, 2013, to be exact). Over my working career, I must have written thousands of marketing briefs, business plans, status reports, press releases, and many, many other business-related documents. What I haven’t written a lot of—or really any since graduating from college—is fiction. 

I enjoy reading fiction and have always admired those who can rummage around in their imagination and find a story. I know several writers of fiction who say their heads are full of characters and plots and they are only limited by the time they have to write it all down. As much as I would have liked, my brain never worked that way, so I figured I’d stick to non-fiction.

Then, late one night, when I should have been sleeping, an idea for a story came to me. It started as just a foggy outline of a character, but I couldn’t get her out of my head. Realizing that she wouldn’t leave me in peace, I powered up my iPad and started to write.

Over the next several weeks, I worked on my story; flushing it out, noodling every word, trying to bring my main character—someone who I was becoming quite fond of—to life.

Almost 4,500 words later my short story is complete, and I thought it would be fun (and a bit unnerving, hence the “gulp”) to share it on my blog. Because my posts rarely exceed 500 – 600 words each, I will break it up into several chunks: five parts posted over the next five days. After posting, each part will be archived in my new Short Stories and Poems tab on my menu bar (yes, I’m expecting more creative inspiration as time goes on). If you’d rather not read a post from me five—actually six, counting this one—days in a row, you can wait until Saturday to read them all together.

I look forward to introducing you to my good friend, Eleanor, and her story, Lost and Found.  

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

93 thoughts on “Gulp Fiction”

  1. Hi Janis, I think this is a new photo of you? It looks great!

    Major goosebumps and gulp. I will tell you something remarkable about the name “Eleanor” in a few days. You will know why the delay at that time.

    I look forward to reading your story and meeting Eleanor. I greatly admire you for tackling a new venture. 🙂

  2. Happy Happy 7th – what a way to throw a party! A daily installment on a new story for the coming 5 days!
    I do notice a bit of a refresh on this blog – gravatar pix switchout (nice headshot) and that menu bar addition and I think your ‘My blog is about…’ statement?…Fun!
    (related to fun fiction writing): Let me plug NaNoWriMo – google it, you might find it an interesting thing to do this November!

      1. BTW: as I’m reading your serial short story installments – I have to mention I did notice the change out of your gravatar – again! Hmmmmm….so which one ***are*** you in your (family?) group photo? Purely rhetorical question of course.
        And I do understand about not having comments open during certain postings. That’s why I ‘commented’ here instead! HA! Will comment on the short story once you reopen comments specifically for that purpose!
        Enjoy your weekend, Janis.

  3. Hi, Janis – As I have had the sincere privilege of meeting Eleanor in advance, I am thrilled for you to share her story on your blog. I am also SUPER EXCITED that you now have a ‘Short Stories and Poems’ section on your menu tab. I can’t wait to read more!
    BTW – I really like your new profile photo.

  4. Well, you’ve always been very creative with your blog titles and blog content, so I’m not surprised you invented a fictional story. Well done, Janis! It must be interesting how a character can take a hold of you. I’ve never experienced that, other than “just thoughts” of non-fiction topics and what appears to be personal revelations that “need” writing down. 🙂

    Looking forward to your story! Are you sure you don’t want to submit it anywhere else? If you do, be aware that most publications often don’t allow pieces that have been published elsewhere, even on your personal blog…

  5. Well that is exciting Janis and congratulations on 7 years of blogging and 300 posts. I also started my blog in 2013. I saw you had a new profile picture today before I read the story. I am looking forward to your five part installment of your newly-minted short story.

      1. I did Janis – I popped onto Reader a short time ago to see if it was there and read it. I meant to say I liked this catchy blog post title yesterday. PS – I like Eleanor – she’s a little feisty (like I would be if in the same situation).

  6. Go Janis, I was waiting for this burst of creativity as I think you have been hinting about it for a while. Lurking in the background quietly working away. Look forward to reading it. I am always impressed with people that can write stories, so again well done.

  7. Well done! I too look forward to reading your work, as I’m doing a writing course at the moment I know some of the angst and effort that goes into writing anything!!

  8. This is going to be exciting! Like you, I’ve always stuck to non-fiction. I would welcome the night some character showed up in my brain demanding attention! Looking forward to meeting Eleanor.

  9. Janis, It looks like you have turned comments off on Part 1. I still feel compelled to comment, so I will do it here
    Janis, I was immediately drawn in by your opening paragraph. I am waiting for the “quiet and ordered”……but…..

    I get it, on the secretly relieved.

    Exceptionally relatable. There but for the grace of God, go I. And, yes, Eleanor is still a rule follower.

    Very easy to follow and read, yet, I am looking forward to more. Eleanor could easily be me, yet, I am thankful I have my husband with me. A giggle with getting distracted on Zoom by my image on the screen.

    Re: the goosebumps, yesterday: My niece was born two days ago, and we were not allowed to talk about it until the immediate family members were advised.

    Her name. Eleanor.

  10. Congrats to you for getting the inspiration! I’ve tried my hand over the years at something similar but the results have always come out too flat for my tastes. But it’s exciting to see someone else find her muse. I just read your first installment and liked it. I’m looking forward to the next ones. – Marty

  11. I look forward to meeting Eleanor, Janis, and so happy for you that she came into your mind so vividly which inspired you to write! I’ve never written fiction either, but admire those who have for the reasons you mentioned. Non-fiction can also be fictionalized, which offers a little nudge. You have inspired me and Congrats!
    ~Lauren

  12. Janis, I know you turned off comments until the end, but I wanted to share that I loved part 1 and am already drawn into Eleanor’s story. I also like how current times have inspired you, and I laughed at seeing our image on Zoom. I’ve had similar thoughts and still need to get my hair highlighted. 🙂 Looking forward to the next part.
    ~Lauren

  13. Congratulations! It’s fun to write fiction! I’ve been doing it for years for fun (not for publication and definitely not for profit). You probably know this already, but there are lots of great materials out there for fiction writers. The NANOWRIMO site (National Novel Writing Month) site has good tips and offers an excellent community of other semi-crazed writers during November. I look forward to seeing what you’ve written!

      1. I’m defiitely enjoying the way that she’s heading – and am happy to give her plenty of ideas of things to do with that bok choy…or the dragon fruit…

  14. I’m the same. People say I should write a novel but honestly, I don’t have any characters, settings, or plots rattling around my brain. Nothin’. For me, at least until I experience some “fiction creep” like you did, it’s all about creative nonfiction. Looking forward to reading your creation.

  15. Oh gosh how exciting! I’ve had Natalie in my head since I was 18; complete with family and tine line and issues. I’ve actually started a private blog where I have that all written down. I have the chapters outlined, the first 2 paragraphs written and the ending but I’ve never gotten up my gumption to figure out if I could find 10,000 or 50,000 words to flesh it out. I am looking forward to sitting and reading it all in one swoop.

    1. I hope you bring Natalie to life! Eleanor was in my head for only a few hours before I started to write her story, I can’t imagine have someone there for 18 years! I think if you get started you may find that you can’t stop. I hope you enjoy my story and I look forward to reading yours (no pressure, though 🙂 ).

  16. Janis, I’m sorry I’m so far behind in my blog reading. I’m eager to read your short story. I totally understand about how a character can suddenly appear in your head and demand to be written. The novel I recently completed (that is, fourth draft of it, still not submitted anywhere) was like that. A partial plot line and one of the characters popped into my mind about 30 years ago and I simply had to sit down and write a first chapter, even though I had no time in my life to write a novel at that time. The idea stuck with me, and decades later, I came back to it and finally crafted it into a novel (which has now turned into a trilogy in progress). Fiction writing has a way of grabbing you and holding on.

    Jude

  17. Thank-you Janis. You’re very kind. I just have to get off my butt and start the process of trying to get an agent, and seek publication. For some reason, the process terrifies me.

    Jude

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