Beach House

My romantic flash fiction story “Beach House” has been published in Romance Flash:

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty sad story for a romance, but compared to the first version I wrote, this one’s all flowers and rainbows!

I originally wrote this piece in response to a contest prompt. Stories for the contest were supposed to feature a weathered beach house and a woman placing a key in an envelope. I confess I had quite a bit of trouble coming up with a storyline, and when I finally did, it was a doozy. The basis of the story was essentially the same as in the second version you read above, except that Susan actually is expecting Derek to arrive. However, in order to incorporate the element of the key and the suggested wording, I had to take drastic measures. This was the original (now the alternate) ending:

“The storm had passed when at last she arose; vanished into the house and emerged many minutes later wearing a clean, dry sundress and carrying a light backpack; a weary traveler yearning for rest. Struggling her way over to her favorite spot on the porch, she sat; took two pills from an orange bottle clenched in her fist and swallowed them whole. She tucked the bottle into her bag and then fumbled through its contents until she retrieved a pen and a crisp envelope creased neatly in half. Awkwardly she unfolded it; opened the flap and dropped a shining silver key inside it; the key to the oceanside home that they had once so happily shared. With trembling fingers, she inscribed the stiff white paper with six simple words and left them there for him to read; for him to try to understand.

Sometimes it does hurt to hope.

Hoisting her bag upon frail, fallen shoulders, she tripped clumsily away from the weathered beach house and across the weather-beaten sand, no longer having a point or a destination. No longer having a companion, to walk with her across the beach until the end.”

Now that is a sad story.

Besides being incredibly depressing, that version somehow never felt right to me, but I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it. Finally I had the bright idea of giving it a happy(ish) ending, and voila – my third story in Romance Flash.

Beach House

12 thoughts on “Beach House

  1. Charli Mills

    I like that you shared your thought process and the alternative ending. Romance is the number one selling genre in the book industry. I call it my “Plan B.” :-) But I think it’s funny that few openly admit to reading it! It’s my brain candy for when I completely want to unplug from everything else. Happy endings are a must!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lorilschafer Post author

      It may be the number one selling genre, but there are also a LOT of them on the market. I know of plenty of romance authors – indie, hybrid, and traditional – with numerous titles available who still aren’t selling anywhere near enough to make a living. It seems to be just as easy for a book to get buried in romance as in any other genre. So you might want to make a Plan C! ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah

    That’s such a romantic ending! I was talking to a young man today who told me that romance is a very popular genre in Germany. Publish your romance stories in German and they are bound to sell, he said. He told me particularly romance set in outback Australia, but you never know! :)

    Liked by 2 people


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