From Monthly to Quarterly
Last month I reported that the Australian Writers Centre’s Furious Fiction competition had been changed from monthly to quarterly. It would seem Furious Fiction has been a victim of its own success and although I’m disappointed I don’t have my monthly dose of fiction writing, I’m not surprised. Given there was no entry fee it would have been an unsustainable process. With so many entries and a tight turn around on results they must have had a veritable army of readers. That and the $500 prize money would have had the bean counters sweating!
Frankie is revived!
Over the course of 2020-21, I entered a number of stories based on my character Frankie the Flamboyant Dresser. I decided that rather than making a new story arc every month I would try to use the given prompts to progress Frankie’s story. Sometimes it was easy and sometimes it wasn’t! Although the entries jump around Frankie’s timeline, the story began to gel and I had a sketchy plot scribbled in my journal. Sometimes I had to go forward, and other times backward to make use of the prompts. If you read them in chronological order the continuity suffers terribly but if you reorder them the plot certainly thickens. Set in a post-Covid dystopia where coloured clothing is banned and the Ultra Conservative Party is led by corrupt and despotic hypocrites, Frankie defies the ban by wearing sequins and fur. He eventually teams up with a group of judges and lawyers who are planning to overthrow the government.
While it tipped into dark themes in some episodes it was generally meant to be light-hearted and hopefully humourous. Each story might not make sense as a stand alone piece, as I was trying to get to the end of Frankie’s journey. I lost interest in Frankie and went off on a different tangent for most of 2021 but this year, he’s back!
Prompts for March
The prompts for this quarter were:
- Your story must include a character that commits a crime.
- Your story must include some kind of DOOR being opened.
- Your story must include the words CHALK, TALK and FORK.
These prompts seem to be created especially for me! The two last lines of my most recent Frankie story were:
In that nanosecond, O’Mallory had to choose between going over the bonnet or under the wheels; either way, it wouldn’t end well for him.
As he soared over the bonnet, he looked back to see the door open and saw …Furious Fiction Jan 2021
It’s a sign!! Did the competition judges want to know what happened to Frankie and his co-conspirators? I think they did, so I obliged! For context, Tom is an investigative journalist helping O’Mallory, who is one of the judges.
Long Live the Judge!
In that nanosecond, O’Mallory had to choose between going over the bonnet or under the wheels; either way, it wouldn’t end well for him. As he soared over the bonnet he looked back to see the car door open and a flash of a long elegant leg with red patent stilettos.
The impact of his skull against the bitumen prevented him from seeing the owner of the shoes but, he would not have been surprised. As the Honourable Karen Brooks stood up, she motioned to her companion;
“Clean that up will you Tom?”
She stepped gingerly around the mangled frame of the bicycle. The red of O’Mallory’s blood was a full tone deeper than her shoes. “She’d like a pair that colour,” she thought.
“Come along, Tom. Don’t let a little blood put you off. Or are you all talk and no action? Chop-chop! Bundle him up and put him in the boot! ”
Tom faltered. He had never seen a dead body before. Or more pertinently the body of a friend whose death could be fairly pegged on him.
O’Mallory was his partner in sedition. Their plan to overthrow a corrupt government had bonded them together in a dangerous game. Now, here was his judge, in a tangled oozing pile of brains and metal.
“Oh come on Tom! Chalk it up to experience. One dead judge? Who cares? We won’t need any of his kind soon.”
This was a fork in the road for Tom. Should he blow his cover or dig himself in deeper?
He already had enough evidence to derail the Ultra Conservative Party and the festering sleazy politicians who ran it. Their post-Pandemic restructure had taken the country down some very dark alleys, quite literally. Brooks herself was responsible for the drafting of the Fashion Laws. The laws which made coloured clothing illegal. The same laws which put all clothing sales in the hands of the Party and filled its Ministers’ private purses.
As he watched Brooks circling the body still wearing her finery from the night before, Tom made up his mind.
“Give me your coat,” he asked, “and the keys.”
She hesitated. “Do you want blood in the boot? I’ll wrap up his head.” he said, “and grab his feet, he’s bloody heavy”.
She hesitated, but the curtains had begun to flitter in the windows as curious eyes watched.
With O’Mallory safely in the boot, Tom lept in behind the wheel and sped off, leaving Brooks behind. He kept his eyes on the mirror and laughed as he saw her face contorting with rage and fear. He could only imagine what story she was spinning to the people in their dull regulation grey flannel pyjamas as they stared at her blood-soaked silver lamé. As he turned the corner he thought he saw a red shoe fly through the air, but he couldn’t be certain.
“We got her, O’Mallory. We got her!” he chortled.
Frankie’s Furious Fiction story so far
If you are interested in reading about Frankie’s story so far you can follow this sequence. There are no smooth transitions from one episode to another and there is considerable repetition of plot points to make each story make some contextual sense in a stand alone form. Don’t be a continuity judge – the plot is full of holes but heh, maybe one day I will spruce it up and turn it into a novella! (Although I think it would better as a screenplay.)
- Furious Fiction 10 – April 2020 – Frankie leaves home and meets George
- Furious Fiction 14 – August 2020 – Frankie and George get drunk in the desert
- Short Fiction – Frankie and George get to Broome. This one was not actually entered into the competition but I wrote it in September 2020.
- Furious Fiction 9 – March 2020 – Frankie gets arrested
- Furious Fiction 8 – February 2020 – Frankie on remand
- Furious Fiction 11 – May 2020 – Frankie gets sentenced by O’Mallory. Andrea doubts her commitment to the UCP
- Furious Fiction 12 – June 2020 – The UCP
- Furious Fiction 16 – October 2020 – The plot for revolution unfolds
- Furious Fiction 17 – November 2020 – Frankie meets O’Mallory
- Furious Fiction 18 – December 2020 – Frankie spills the beans
- Furious Fiction 19 – January 2021 – O’Mallory meets the politician.
- Furious Fiction 26 – This post. March 2022