Looking for a short story challenge? A couple of posts back I published some old stories I had found languishing in my messy Google Drive. I also found these fragments of stories.
I had a sort of futuristic vibe going for a while. Both stories were intended to be longish short stories or shortish novellas. I was aiming at around 10 – 15,000 words.
I don’t remember what my complete original plot lines were going to be.
Disconnected was going to be the story of a group of older people, led by a curmudgeonly fellow (think Harrison Ford type figure) who refused to connect to the internet. They go on to help people escape from the grips of the “government” which has collapsed into a 1984-style dystopia.
NOWASTE had a similar theme. Jeez! I must have been on fire when I came up with that acronym! It is again set in a future when thought police are real. I think the main character (well the only character so far) was going to turn into some sort of resistance fighter. Perhaps even influenced by The Handmaid’s Tale
Many of my older stories would have been better written as screenplays.
My challenge to you dear reader is; how would you progress them? What would happen next? Please outline some possible scenarios in the comments below! We can start our own virtual writers’ group!
Disconnected (October 2017)
Greta ran as fast as she could from her doorway to next door and these days that was not fast! It was after curfew but she risked it anyway. She needed to see him and she couldn’t connect any other way. Since the beginning, he had refused to connect.
“If people want to talk to me they can come and see me! In person!”
It wasn’t that he was a Luddite, as such. He had just read Orwell’s 1984 so many times that he began to see it as a reality.
Greta would tell him he was just being paranoid.
“Just wait” he’d say sipping hard on his beer. The beer he brewed himself from scratch.
To most people, he was just a crackpot. He thought the establishment was out to get us all.
We would argue “but we are the establishment – this is not the Government!” He didn’t buy the argument that we the masses, decided what was posted on social media, that it was a platform for disruptive change.
“You are so naive” he’d say and we would ignore him and take another photo of our breakfast pancake stack to prove how magical our lives were.
Sometimes on public radio, we would hear that a shocking study showed that the content on social media was manipulated. That the Millennials in charge had actually been doing secret experiments where they showed some people happy posts and other sad posts and watched how it affected them. It would stay in the news for a while and then vanish. Public radio didn’t last long after the last election.
OVER TO YOU!
NOWASTE (December 2018)
Patricia was careful to not draw attention to herself. It was much better to keep things low key. To fly under the radar. To blend into the crowd. To think in cliches. To avoid original thought.
At 63, Patty still remembered how Christmas used to be. Oh my god, she thought the word!! She glanced furtively at those around her. Had they heard her thought? Would she be arrested?
Keep cool. Look calm. Repeat the mind-block mantra Money doesn’t buy happiness. Stuff doesn’t buy happiness.
No movement towards her.
No telltale wailing of sirens approaching.
No flashing drone locked over her position.
Phew. Perhaps they had all been too busy suppressing their own thoughts to be worried about tuning into hers.
It was not that we didn’t celebrate anymore. It was just that we were careful not to include thoughts of religion, ageism, sexism or wanton consumerism when we did. The focus was now on The Agreement. It just so happened that the New Order World Agreement for Sustainable Trade and Emissions (NOWASTE) was signed on the 25 of December in 2018. (Glorious day)
It was a good thing. Global warming had slowed down and only a few of the smaller Pacific Islands had vanished.
…. so what next??