Little Red Ball Special: Behind the Story
Little Red Ball is the first Briefly Bizarre story that I have released. A bit of a book nerd I am always looking for authors who like to talk about their stories. Everything from information about the author to where the story idea came from to other little details about the story. I love it all. Therefore, I thought my readers might like a bit of background on my stories as well. So every so often I will share with you the story behind the story. Here’s a little peek behind Little Red Ball which you can read by clicking on the cover picture.The idea for Little Red Ball came from a couple sources. As I’m writing I have a habit of keeping a ball near me at all times. My “thinking ball” as I call it gets bounced as a way for me to occupy my body and let my mind wonder (this is the same reason that Buddhist monks will drum while meditating). Every so often, I will miss a catch as the ball bounces and it will thump to the floor. One time, it fell to the floor and rolled toward a slightly open closet door. As I watched it go I suddenly saw a little boy sitting on the floor, bouncing a little red ball. I imagined him missing a catch and watching the ball roll toward the door. But he was too afraid to go after it.
As a writer, why is one of the most important questions you can ask. I would find it interesting to know how many stories are written because of that one word. My answer came in the form of a woman who lived in the closet. I could see her standing in the back of it peeking out at this little boy. Was she a ghost, a witch, a zombie, a demon? I didn’t know, but I knew she was there. I still don’t know and never actually explain what she is in the story. I leave it up to the reader. All I knew is that she was there and that she looked like she’d crawled out of a grave.
We have all been children and I knew that the little boy would be the point of view character for that reason. I think we can all relate to being a frightened child looking at a closet door or the dangerous void between the floor and the bottom of our beds. But I wanted something more than a straight forward “little boy and the monster in the closet” story. The idea of putting the little boy in the care of a neglectful single mother that cared more about partying than her child came from several personal sources. I think it added an extra layer of dread in that Mommy wasn’t going to be there to save him from the evil thing in the shadows.
The element of the boy having a neglectful mother provided me with the twist at the end. I think having a twist at the end of flash fiction is important. With a story that runs a few thousand words you can tell a compelling tale from the start of a conflict to the resolution. I remember Ichabod Crane quite well and his frightening encounter with some pranksters in Sleepy Hollow (if you haven’t read the story yet, you deserve to have it spoiled). In flash fiction you don’t have time for character development though. Everything needs to be boiled down to less space than even many newspaper articles. The twist becomes what readers remember and it usually comes from two more very powerful words in writing: “what if”. In the case of this story, I asked “what if the horrible woman living in the closet wasn’t so horrible”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little article giving you a peek behind Little Red Ball. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so by clicking the cover image above. As always, subscribers are greatly appreciated. You can also find me on Twitter (see the sidebar to the right). Finally, please note that I am offering advertising space in all of my free fiction which you will find online and I am even uploading it to archive.org. Visit the advertising page for more info.