Have you ever had one of those mornings? You know, where everything goes wrong. It’s like a farce, a series of mishaps increasing in frequency and intensity that have you howling with side-splitting laughter or shedding tears of frustration.

Mine started when I forgot to set the alarm for Amy’s swim squad training.

These are the opening lines for my short story, One of Those Mornings, shared on the Tall And True writers’ website.

Please note: the Story Insight below contains spoilers.

Story Insight

One of Those Mornings was my entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s April 2024 Furious Fiction writing challenge. And as I shared in a blog post, it was also the fifth April story I’d written for Furious Fiction since my first in 2020.

The brief was:

  • Your story’s first sentence must be a question
  • It must include something being pulled
  • And the words POST, TEAR and THUNDER.

In addition to examples of questions and how writers can use them to open a story and engage the reader, the Writers’ Centre specified:

For this challenge, we don’t want to see any “she said” or “Jane asked” tags at the end of this first sentence. It must end with a question mark!

The Question

My question, “Have you ever had one of those days?” and the scenario for the short story about a widowed father with a teenage daughter came to me very quickly.

Soon after I started writing, I realised it was too broad and I’d need far more than 500 words to tell the story. And even if I had 1000 words, I doubted it would engage the reader until “The End”!

So, midway through, I gave up on the story and thought of another opening question, “Can you keep a secret?”

I wrote a paragraph but returned to my original story, drawn back by its characters and premise. However, I tightened the timeline and pace by slightly modifying the question, “Have you ever had one of those mornings?”

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Channeling Disappointment

​The Writers’ Centre judges didn’t Showcase or longlist my fifth April Furious Fiction, which was disappointing. But as my protagonist artist says in another of my Furious Fictions, The Winner’s Toast (August 2021 on Tall And True), “I’ve learned to channel disappointment into creative energy.”

I revisited One of Those Mornings, tweaked a few sentences, and shared it on Tall And True. I hope you enjoy reading the story—please let me know!

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to Holger Schué for sharing the rain on the windscreen image on Pixabay.

N.B. You might like to read my first April Furious Fiction on Tall And True, A Song on the Radio.

This post was proofread by Grammarly
About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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