Diary of John Henry – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, courtesy of Pixabay.com . . .


. . . and this is my story (genre: historical fiction):

In the autumn of 1842, I secured passage on a sailing ship bound for the East Indies out of Southampton. My aim was to indulge my passion for sketching rare seabirds … and to forget the girl who had broken my heart. By the time we rounded the Cape, the abundance of seabirds raised me from my moping self-pity and I exulted in the daily filling of my sketchpad.

Three days from the Cape an angry storm swept in, whipping the sea into a frenzy. In earnest I prayed for our lives and, although we were blown considerably off course, our ship survived unscathed. A heavy mist the following morning dissipated to reveal a small, green-swathed isle portside. I was delighted when the captain ordered his crew to make for the shore.

Albatross Isle has been my home these past thirty years. I found great peace amongst the islanders … and a loving wife who has borne me four sturdy children. I have many sketches of seabirds that soar in the vast blue expanse above.

Word Count: 175


I’ve been concentrating on writing my book a lot this week, and I can’t seem to get my head out of historical fiction. I’ve also allowed myself to go to the word limit of 175, when I’m normally quite strict with myself and keep to 150. I just found I needed a few more words to tell this story.

If you’d like to view other entries, click here.

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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42 Responses to Diary of John Henry – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

  1. I of July says:

    …and you told it well 🙂

  2. A lovely glimpse of history.

  3. Francesca Smith says:

    When times were far simpler!
    A very well written and told story.

  4. I loved how he invented a new life on a beautiful island, found a loving wife, had children, all because of the heartbreak of a girl. Awesome story! — I’m going to be reading your book Millie (it’s in my Kindle) as soon as Writing 101 is over. I look forward to reading it!

  5. draliman says:

    I’m glad he found such a beautiful place to be alone with the birds. Nice story 🙂

  6. Great story. Your words flow nice within your story. 🙂

  7. luckyjc007 says:

    Beautiful and interesting story. A great example of moving forward . I like the saying “when one door closes, another one opens.”

  8. married2arod says:

    I think the intermingling of both works have paid off. This is the best flash fic piece of yours I read so far. The historical fic voice is so apparent. Good job.

  9. Ineke says:

    Beautiful short story. I love the happy ending, it makes it much better to read than a tragic end

    • milliethom says:

      Happy endings are always more uplifting, aren’t they? I really enjoyed writing this little historical piece, Ineke, so thank you so much for liking it. 🙂

  10. Such a beautiful story Millie!
    BTW, the review of your book will be up next week. 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      I’m glad you liked this one, Heena. I feel
      more at home writing historical fiction. 🙂
      That’s wonderful news about the review. I imagine it will be written by Galit. I saw her rating for both books on Goodreads and we’ve made contact since. I didn’t like to ask if she’d read them for TRB, though I imagined she had. Thank you all so much! 🙂

      • Yep, Galit’s the one (my best reviewer and an awesome person and a really good friend!) And you’re more than welcome!
        I kept your book for my reviewing but last month I did it for a friend and I had a hard time being honest about the book cause I really liked the author and was a good blog-friend of her’s. And as I have a very expressive personality, it gets difficult to please anyone… So that was the time when I decided to pass on the books of authors I know (especially those who are good friends) to other reviewers. That way we all are happy! heheh!
        Plus I’m not into historical fiction (sorry if you feel like kicking me) and so I didn’t want the review to get affected by my distaste of the genre. So I made sure to give it to someone who likes and appreciates the genre. And as I can see she really enjoyed it 🙂
        Infant she has submitted the review for your second book as well, but due to already scheduled posts, it will be published next month.
        I hope you’ll like the review 🙂

  11. very nice, I liked the historical aspect, as well as the diary format.

  12. Creatopath says:

    I like how you’ve written the story as his journal entries. Really enjoyed it and loved the happy ending of him living on the island peacefully with his family.

  13. I was already imagining having simple islander with relaxing vibes 😛 This beautiful made me want to escape to a tropical place for vacation Millie 😀

  14. Ameena k.g says:

    I honestly loved reading this story. I didn’t want it to end because i could picture the whole scene from the ship, to the shore, to his family- all thanks to your well-put words. 🙂

  15. So after internal and external crises, he made the best of his situation and found peace. ❤ Yay!! I'm also glad you found peace in writing this historical flash fiction as you work on your book!

  16. Susan Langer says:

    I love historical fiction. This was so well done that it took me right into his life on the island. 🙂

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