If you want to move on from being stuck in your writing habits, try using writing exercises to create flash fiction.
This type of exploration can sometimes take you in directions that are entirely unexpected.
This short fiction piece, based on William Faulkner’s novel, Intruder in the Dust, plays with shifting time within a very small space.
In larger works of fiction, time can keep things moving ahead, or slow things down when you need to linger.
In shorter fiction, though, time helps you experience several moments almost simultaneously, in much the same way that Kurt Vonnegut’s character in Slaughterhouse-Five learns to see his entire life at once.
We All Move On Sometime
He thanked her for the box of squash, lettuce, and beans and Doris spoke to him the way she might to one of her children.
“The crops have been really good this year. When I was planting back in the spring I thought about how much better people feel when they eat fresh vegetables,” and she added, calling to him as she headed back to the garden, “Try not to lose any more teeth this year during hockey.”
She ran into him two more times after that—he was still wearing overalls and a baseball cap, with a wild beard hiding his baby face, but the last time he wasn’t driving that beat-up old pickup truck and Doris walked right past him without him blinking an eye, and she thought—
Does he even know who I am?
But a year later when her brother told her about the accident on the way home from the Golden Valley Stomp the year before, she never thought for a second about how her brother knew about it (of course he’d heard about it at their cousin’s wedding), and she shifted backwards, relieved, like a weight was lifted off her shoulders almost—
His girlfriend must have been in the truck with him. That’s why he didn’t even notice her. That’s why he wasn’t driving around in his pickup truck.
And a thought lingered, with a touch of aching,
How can you move on from something like that?
Flash Fiction: We All Move On Sometime © 2012 by Shawn Radcliffe