The chemical reaction when I pour the jug of milk onto my cereal sparks a memory: “Snap, crackle, pop!” Growing up, Mum bought us bland wheat cereals for breakfast. “You need the fibre,” she’d say, cutting short complaints and requests from my sisters and me for more popular brands.

This is the opening paragraph from Snap, Crackle, Pop!, which I shared on the Tall And True writers’ website in February 2024. Please note that the Story Insight below contains spoilers.

Story Insight

I wrote Snap, Crackle, Pop! for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s February 2024 Furious Fiction writing challenge. The brief for the 500-word short story was:

  • The first sentence had to include something being POPPED.
  • The story had to include a character referencing a FILM title.
  • And include the words LEAP, BOTTLE, and SHADOW.

As the Writers’ Centre explained, “We’ve chosen POPPED because there are a lot of things that could be doing such a thing. Some might come to mind immediately – but allow yourself time to think of some more unique ideas, too.”

An obvious choice was popping a cork or a balloon or an idea popping into a protagonist’s mind (as a writer friend chose).

However, I recalled the sound of my favourite cereals, “Snap, crackle, pop!”. And how, as kids, my brother and I loved those mini-boxes of Rice Bubbles whenever we stayed at a motel.

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Blending Memories

Like adding milk to the cereals, I blended my childhood memory with a middle-aged situation a friend is facing with their mother. But I didn’t know how it would end until the words of the last sentence flowed from my fingers. As I posted on Twitter/X:

“Woah! I just finished my first draft for February’s Furious Fiction and shed tears typing the last lines.”

I didn’t get showcased or longlisted for February, but I wrote a short story of which I’m proud and one that moved me. What more can a writer ask for?

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to StockSnap from Pixabay for sharing the motel sign image.

N.B. Read Snap, Crackle, Pop! on Tall And True.

This post was proofread by Grammarly


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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