Zack Umstead, Young Writer

December 10, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Difference

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 2:58 PM

This week marks the first week where I’m using a fan-submitted word for my Monday One-Word Writing. On last week’s post, kmcambion commented and told me to use the word “difference”, which I will be using today. I prefer using your comments over a word generator to write my one-word writings, so if you have a word for next week’s post, please leave it in a comment! And now, for the story…

“Why does it matter?”

“It just does! They aren’t the same!” Curtis was practically screaming to the whole world his opinions.

Ryan put his hand on his coworkers shoulder. “Hey, quiet down man. No need to make a scene, especially when they’re around.” Quite a few quartets of eyes had turned their direction.

“So you’ll admit, there is a difference,” Curtis whispered.

“They’re just different anatomically. Inside, we’re all the same, man.”

“Bah,” Curtis scoffed,  “inside. Inside, they’re probably waiting to tear us all to pieces.”

“Curtis, what’s gotten into you today?” this wasn’t the Curtis Ryan had worked with for years. “Stellacaeruleans have lived with us for two years now, and there’s been nothing but the usual problems we have with humans.”

“Nothing yet,” Curtis retorted. “But it’s coming. You ever see those old sci-fi movies from the twentieth century?”

“Why would I?” Ryan replied.

“I was watching some of them last night just for a couple of kicks, and they’re totally right.” Curtis’s voice was starting to rise. “The aliens come to Earth and live peacefully for a while. Then – BAM! All out war, aliens versus humans. Happens every time.” By the end of his tirade, Curtis was screaming it to the crowded city street. Some had taken notice – including a juvenile Stellacaerulean. He approached the pair of humans.

“I would like for you to stop,” he said in the deep bass of all Stellacaeruleans.

“And we will,” Ryan said hurriedly, and began to walk away. “Come one Curtis!” he called back to his friend.

“No,” Curtis said. “I’m tired of these damned four-eyes,” he said, indicating the Stellacaerulean’s two pairs of eyes. “They’re trouble, and I know it!” He screamed at the six foot alien, a youngling of his species. “You’re all trouble! War waiting to break out! You hear me, pal? Trouble!”

The Stellacaerulean, though not fully mature, was immensely strong in comparison to humans, and with one swift blow from his fist, Curtis was out cold. “I hear,” he said.



  1. Well done. My only suggestion is to omit “indicating the Stellacaerulean’s two pairs of eyes”, as you’ve already implied that enough for flash fiction.

    Comment by Patrick Stahl — December 10, 2012 @ 5:02 PM | Reply

  2. Nicely done!
    My suggestions:
    1.) Work on dialogue punctation.
    2.) Omit dialogue tags. Whenever you can, replace words like ‘said’, ‘replied’, ‘whispered’ etc. with a physical activity by the character. The addition of even small details can create setting, convey emotion, and build tension to create a more robust reading experience.

    Curtis stared at his hands, his voice as soft as the napkin he was shredding with quick jerks of his fingers. “So you’ll admit, there’s a difference.”
    “They’re just different anatomically. Inside, we’re all the same, man.”
    “Bah! Inside!” Curtis threw up his hands sending the white paper fragments flying. “Inside, they’re probably waiting to tear us all to pieces.”

    Something along those lines!

    Comment by Lindsay — December 11, 2012 @ 7:31 PM | Reply

  3. Interesting story for the word. I like the remaining question of the violence in the (teenage? young adult?) Stellacaerulean. Was his action a direct result of Curtis’ behaviour and, if so, does that excuse it or is there truly violence inherent in their genes.

    One thing to watch for in flash fiction is repetitive and/or conflicting descriptions of a character’s behaviour. For example, “Curtis was practically screaming to the whole world his opinions.” is used in the beginning of the story but later Curtis’ voice “was starting to rise” and he was then “screaming it to the crowded city street.” It’s clear in the beginning that Curtis was being overly loud and the later descriptions are confusing and redundant.

    Word suggestion: pedantic.

    Comment by turtlesong17 (@turtlesong17) — December 11, 2012 @ 8:02 PM | Reply

  4. I like this concept of writing with the inspiration of a word.

    here is a word: dissembled

    Comment by Catherine Arntz — December 11, 2012 @ 9:46 PM | Reply

  5. Stellaceruleans, cool name for an alien race.Working with such a short form,Zack, you manage a successful climax. Not sure, though, of the distinction b/w anatomically and what’s inside the race of aliens. That would be neat to explore, as though they had some unique internal mechanism, psychological or otherwise.

    Comment by amy ohearn — December 17, 2012 @ 8:19 AM | Reply

  6. […] It’s Monday, which means it’s time for some more flash fiction in the for of Monday One-Word Writing. In case you’re just joining, here’s how this works: I take a single word (usually suggested in the previous week’s comments) and write some flash fiction about it in the half hour of class time I have. Then, you guys read it, and leave me a word to use for next week’s post. This week’s word comes from Catherine, who suggested “dissembled” on last week’s story. […]

    Pingback by Monday One-Word Writing: Dissembled « Zack Umstead, Young Writer — December 17, 2012 @ 8:30 AM | Reply

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