As a writing exercise, I've started writing very, very short stories (yes, micro-stories) as exercises. Generally, I use a picture as inspiration. It's a lot of fun and it keeps my brain agile. These days, my ever-shrinking gray cells could use a little more agility.
The goal of a micro-story is to write a complete story in 200 words or less. I recommend all writers do this. Just find a picture or object to inspire you and write away! Just remember to keep it within a predefined limit, e.g. 200 words. This not only gets the creative juices flowing, but it means you have to work at editing, too, which is another skill writers really need to develop.
So, in lieu of a blog about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything writing, I'm including a micro-story.
Hope you enjoy it!
"You have a ghost?" Willie asked his aunt, striving for a tone of disbelief strong enough to register on the recorder in his pocket.
His elderly aunt's gaze drifted to the patio door. "A ghost?"
"You said a ghost is moving your paving stones?"
"Oh. That ghost. Well, did you see the path?"
"I came in from the patio." He stifled his irritation.
"Then you must have seen—the man in the stones," she clarified. "The man who disappeared almost forty years ago. He moves the stones."
"He's back?" Willie glanced around, momentarily confused.
She got up and opened the door, moving out to the patio. "His ghost. I straighten that path every evening. But come morning, well, you saw it."
"His ghost moves the rocks?" He had her, now. They'd declare her non compos mentis. He'd move in, sell a few priceless antiques, and his bookie would finally lay off. He chuckled. "What—you think he's buried in your path and his ghost is moving the rocks to mark his grave?"
"Of course not." His aunt pulled out a gun. "I buried him a good thirty yards away and started that rumor of a ghost—in case someone decided to dig. They'd naturally dig where the 'ghost' indicated and find nothing. Until now."
His carp-like mouth worked soundlessly.
She sighed and pulled the trigger. "You should have paid your bookie."