The Business of Short Stories by Shannon Lawrence (the Warrior Muse) is published tomorrow, so I’m doing a shout out today. I thought you might be interested in it, since you like the #writephoto event. This week’s offering ‘Through’ comes after the book feature.

The Business of Short Stories: Writing, Submitting, Publishing, and Marketing

by Shannon Lawrence
business of short stories

Whether you’re looking to add short stories to your repertoire as a solo pursuit or in addition to novel writing, The Business of Short Stories covers every aspect from writing to marketing. Learn the dynamics of short story writing, where to focus your editing efforts, how and where to submit, how to handle acceptances and rejections, what to do with reprints, and how to market yourself and your stories online and in person. The information in The Business of Short Stories has been distilled from over a decade of short story publishing experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way. You’ll find information on submission formatting, cover letters, querying a collection, sending proposals to writing events, how to create a website, SEO, social media, and so much more. This is an invaluable resource for short story writers.

There’s never been a better time to get into short stories!

Author Bio:

shannon lawrence

Shannon Lawrence has made a career of short stories, with over a decade of experience and more than fifty short stories published in magazines and anthologies. In addition, she’s released three horror short story collections with a mix of new and previously published stories. Her true crime podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem is going into its third season. 

Shannon’s website and social media:

And now for this week’s #writephoto…

As always, I thank KL Caley at New2Writing.com for keeping it all going so wonderfully. My story is around 830 words. It’s just a case of how you view things, isn’t it?

through
an archway in a large stone wall. I just ‘saw’ it small!

Through

There were many interesting things about her new garden.

The previous owners had turned it into a low maintenance effort in the front, and all it really needed was mowing occasionally. Yes, the bushes were worth trimming to keep them from looking shaggy, but most kept a modest amount of growth. 

A perfectly ordinary suburban garden.

The back, though.

The flat part of it was simply grass. Or rather, a muddy mix of daisies, dandelions and moss. It needed returfing, badly. She added that to her list.

Once the ‘lawn’ gave out, there was a slope, partially terraced, with various perennial shrubs, and weeds, and encroaching wild trees trimmed into bushes. Roses gone to suckers. 

It provided a curious riot of colour that was almost attractive. 

Further down, the flattened straplike leaves suggested bluebells. It must be wonderful in spring. Then rough grass on the steeper slope…

And here, near the bottom, the grass gave way to an area of tiny paths, leading to a wall.

She frowned.

The wall certainly provided a sturdy division between her garden and the neighbours, but who on earth had built it with such small stones? It might have been a drystone wall reduced to the size of pebbles—but it was a good four feet high.

Ah well. Let’s clear the grass and brambles a bit and see what happens.

With so much to do, she barely paid any attention to the bottom of the garden until the following spring. Yes, the bluebells put on a splendid show. But what was she going to do with the rest? Maybe wildflowers.

One May afternoon she took her secateurs and shears down to the bottom, and started clearing. Once the brambles had gone, it revealed a hidden valley in miniature. 

Something, or someone, used this tiny path.

And, behind this clump of grass…. Oh! A neat archway, through to the neighbour’s garden.

But who or what would fit through that?

And who would build such a sophisticated structure for something so small?

Someone small might.

Were there fairies at the bottom of her garden?

She looked over the wall at her neighbour’s patch. He’d left it wild, too. Trees had sprung up and colonised the place. Willows, an oak, and several ash seedlings. That was a silver birch. And the pines above on his slope. All very attractive—and easy to manage, if you ignored the undergrowth.

The path left her wall and continued through the brambles.

Should she ask her neighbour about the wall? It was something to talk about, after all, rather than just ‘hello?’ and ‘how are you getting on?’

But… this path looked well-used. Maybe she could study it.

Lie in wait. Or, better for nighttime, get one of those motion-tripped webcams.

A few warm weeks allowed her the luxury of sitting in the garden, reading and watching the arch or gateway from halfway up the hill. Surely that would be far enough not to deter the user?

She had tried a flour trap to see what footprints her visitor made, but the flour had just been kicked about and the paper she’d laid it on moved and torn. Someone with intelligence who didn’t want to be ‘trapped’ no doubt.

Intelligence?

The webcam arrived. She set it up next to her chair—which had been left by the previous owner. Had they sat here watching at a distance too?

After a week of indeterminate sightings, she moved it closer to the little arch.

On the first night, she was delighted to hear the app click on just as she turned her bedroom light off. She opened the app, almost holding her breath in her excitement.

The picture was still on!

But it was hardly clear. 

She scrolled back to view the whole sequence.

Oh! A small figure, glowing with warmth in the night scope, shaped just like a small, rotund human. And a brimless hat, rounded at the top where it might otherwise come to a point. The figure approached the camera lens.

Its face, right in the camera—rugged; dark spaces where the eyes were. And it was doing something. Lines appeared on the camera lens. It was drawing on it!

The app stopped, leaving the frame onscreen. The camera status said ‘off’. Had the figure actually turned it off? A intelligent small person? How tall? Able to fit through the archway in the wall, for sure.

She swung out of bed, wondering where she’d left her torch… but no. Leave it till the morning. Whatever it had written would still be there.

It was.

‘F off you nosy parker.’

Oh.

She picked up the camera and took it nearer to the house to watch her bird feeder and its visitors.

No, she did not have fairies at the bottom of her garden. She wondered whether to ask her neighbour, or should she let things lie.

No. Stay quiet.

She had a gnome. And he obviously did have an home to go to.

© J M Pett 2022

writephoto

Through | #writephoto + The Business of Short Stories
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11 thoughts on “Through | #writephoto + The Business of Short Stories

  • 31 January, 2022 at 9:27 am
    Permalink

    Haha! Those grumpy gnomes can be trouble!
    Great story, Jemima. Thank you so much for joining in with the #writephoto challenge.
    KL <3

    Reply
  • 31 January, 2022 at 2:01 pm
    Permalink

    Congratulations, Shannon!
    That’s a great picture for a writing prompt.

    Reply
  • 31 January, 2022 at 5:48 pm
    Permalink

    Great story! I love the grumpy gnome, though I do hope he doesn’t cause trouble for her. Probably not, if she leaves the bottom of the garden wild for him—and the birds and other critters. Maybe we need more grumpy gnomes all over!

    Reply
    • 1 February, 2022 at 1:36 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks for spotting the disappearing Like button. I have no idea where it is. Everywhere it should be turned on is correct. I blame the latest WP or more likely Jetpack upgrade. It’ll turn up soon, no doubt!

      Reply
      • 1 February, 2022 at 1:45 pm
        Permalink

        … and it’s back. Yes it was Jetpack, and interesting we can say it upgraded at c 2 am Pacific time yesterday because KL liked!

        Reply
  • 31 January, 2022 at 11:45 pm
    Permalink

    Oh! Jemima I did live this story ….what a rude Gnome….
    Excellent story!

    Reply
  • Pingback:#Writephoto Round-Up – THROUGH – New2Writing

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