Putting the fun back in fiction

As Chuck Wendig rightly points out, there’s no Blog Police that is going to swoop in and tell you that whatever you’re writing about is wrong, or that you’re not allowed to write about X, Y and Z.

Lately I’ve gotten way too caught up in the marketing side of writing, which totally conflicts with the creative side of writing. The marketing side keeps whispering stupid stuff like “You have to write on certain topics, and ONLY THOSE TOPICS, and on set days, otherwise readers will abandon you!”

That’s absurd. And really detrimental to my writing process, which typically runs randomly from one topic to the next. Besides, isn’t that what blog tags and categories are for?

Sometimes you have to know when to tell the marketing side of your brain to butt the hell out. Now is one of those times.

In the spirit of reclaiming the creative, fun side of writing, I’ve decided to start posting Fun Fiction Friday stories. The gist is that I’ll pick a random topic or prompt and have at it, in 1,000 words or less. Stories will be posted in all their rough draft glory. And I highly encourage you to play along! Post your own stories in the comments section, or send me a link to your blog. Let’s have some fun!

The Prompt

Write what Jerome Stern (Making Shapely Fiction) has called a “bathtub story” that is told completely in narrative, using no dialogue. (Prompt courtesy of Ariella Waddell)

Mimi Medici Takes to Her Bath

Mimi Medici had taken to her bath the way ladies in old-fashioned novels once took to their beds. Completely and resolutely. No one was quite sure what had prompted her obsession with cleanliness (or was it fear of the outside world?), but after a week spent in her large claw-foot tub, a great number of friends and family members had questions that required explanations.


Mimi, however, refused all callers, unless they would join her in the bathroom, fully nude. She had arranged for her maid, January, to stay on full-time as a kind of secretary, answering phone calls and passing her messages on a dry-erase board that withstood the trials and tribulations of both full dunking in the water and the slightly corrosive nature of the bath salts Ms. Medici favored. Eight days after she had taken to her bath, January passed Mimi a whiteboard note, informing her that her mother, Mrs. Monica Medici, wanted to speak with her.

Mimi calmly wrote her response on the board, and passed it back to the hovering, slightly anxious January, who closed the door and headed with clicking heels back to the front door to pass the board to Mrs. Medici.

Mrs. Medici was nonplussed by these theatrics, and pushed January aside, calling out to her daughter. January quickly slammed shut the front door and chased after her, shouting that Mimi did not want to be disturbed, that she was in the bath, couldn’t madam return later?

Madam could not, would not return later.

And thus Mimi and her mother found themselves both sitting in their birthday suits in Mimi’s bathroom, attempting to discuss the cause of this nude tete-a-tete. Mimi, for her part, was partially obscured by a thick foam of bubbles she had recently added to the tub, though Mrs. Medici had only a string of pearls to demonstrate her decency. Had there been any hidden cameras in Mimi’s bath, the scene would have caused quite the ruckus.

There were, thankfully, no hidden cameras in Mimi’s bath.

Mrs. Medici attempted to convey the proper mood, asking after Mimi’s health – both physical and mental. Mimi demurred, moodily murmuring something about a desire to float. Mrs. Medici inquired about time at the spa, where perhaps they could float together, or even enjoy a good old-fashioned mud mask. Mimi remained noncommittal, frustrating Mrs. Medici, who muttered something savage under her breath. Mimi repressed a smile, knowing she had muddled her mother.

After a long silence, Mrs. Medici asked about a vacation abroad, perhaps somewhere tropical like Jamaica, where one might float in the salty sea. Mimi was unimpressed with this suggestion as well, and ignored it by playing with the rapidly fading bubbles.

Mrs. Medici could not fathom the reason for her daughter’s strange decision to warp her body in this manner. She noted the pruned look of Mimi’s fingertips, as well as the pale and sickly shade of her protruding skin. Was she ill? She didn’t seem to be, though depression surely took many forms. Could she be coaxed from the bath to enjoy a hot cup of tea? She could not.

At last Mrs. Medici let out a strangled sob and grabbed her daughter by the arm, attempting to haul her bodily from the tub in which she was ensconced. Mimi resorted to a grade-school trick she had learned, which allowed her to heavily stick to the ground (or bathtub bottom, in this case) no matter how violently people larger than she attempted to lift her. She was a boulder of immeasurable weight, and could not be removed from the bath by anyone short of Atlas.

Mrs. Medici admitted defeat and let go of her daughter’s arm, her eyes moist with tears as Mimi slipped below the water’s surface and remained, blowing bubbles, for at least a minute.

Mimi Medici was immovable. A major intervention was required.

Got a prompt?

Want me to write a story from a prompt YOU supply? Hit me in the comments section with your wildest ideas and I’ll spin you a Fun Fiction Friday piece on an upcoming Friday.