The story I just posted was courtesy of Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog and his weekly Flash Fiction challenge. Chuck is a fiction writer, who also writes some NSFW books of writing advice. Well, they're NSFW if you don't work in your pajamas, I suppose.
The challenge was inspired by Ebola panic (naturally) and the Halloween season. A short (1000 word) horror story with a disease as a core component.
More importantly, this is the first fiction that I've FINISHED in about 25 years. I've started more stories, novels and scripts than I can count, but I've finally finished one. It's a really short story, but that's still a big deal to me.
I wrote it in two nights, about 5 hours total, I guess, along with random notes as thoughts struck me.
It was interesting how many things creeped into it while I wrote. The initial idea came to me at about 5 in the morning. I have no idea why, because it was 4 days after Chuck posted the challenge so it wasn't top of mind for any particular reason. The concept originated from thoughts about how fear of disease is becoming a bigger factor than the disease itself in some cases. My first outline had lots of gags about cable news and would have been about 3,000 words long. And not really much of a horror story.
I'm still not sure it's much of a horror story, although I tried to play around with tone and color along the way.
The more fascinating part for me was some of the elements that showed up as the writing progressed. I had no initial intention of setting it in a theme park. Hell, that's what I do all day long, so thinking about that as a story setting may have been natural, but was the furthest thing from my mind at first.
The other major piece is the theme of enjoying life until you die. This is something I've always believed in, but the past week the topic has been very much top of mind. The story didn't start out with that, but worked its way in anyway, until it became the whole point - with pretty much zero subtlety.
I hope you enjoy it. It's nothing spectacular, but considering my fiction-writing muscles haven't had a real workout in about 25 years, it felt like a good start.