This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Last lines: Becca has just been fired, and Irving got the promotion she wanted, so she has a temper tantrum, kicking over his trashcan and pouring the coffee pot over his desk. Vicki: “You need to calm down before you get into more trouble, and-”


“Like you don’t love having something to gossip about? You were never my friend!” Becca swung wildly at Vicki, who recoiled. “You all hate me, but none of you are as good as me!”

“Excuse me,” Lily pushed through the crowd, a red fire extinguisher in her hands.

Unnoticed in the commotion, small flames licked the paper on the floor, spreading out to char the carpet. Paper curled and blacked, and yellow glowed at the edges of the charred carpet spots, several flaring to life.

Lily pulled the pin on the extinguisher just as the fire alarm went off, but she ignored the clamoring alarm, and thoroughly doused the flames in white foam.

*   *   *   *   *   *

“Lily Wasn’t There” is a short story I can’t quite get right. I’m hoping the feedback from WeWriWa will help.

Becca’s life hasn’t gone how she planned. Stuck in an accounting job she despises, she scrapes by with a paycheck that doesn’t buy her half of what she deserves. She wants to find a man before she’s thirty, get married, and never work another day in her life. While at work, she people-watches, and one particular coworker is often the focus of her attention–Lily. Lily is everything Becca hates–buttoned-up, bland, and overly dedicated to her job–or so Becca thinks.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

24 responses »

  1. Frank Fisher says:

    Oh that’s a great reaction from Becca after being fired. I love the description of the paper catching on fire. One question: where did the fire come from? Did someone light a match and throw it on the paper? Good snippet overall!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Oh, in previous snippets, Becca knocked paper everywhere, and poured coffee over Irving’s computer, sending off sparks from the poor fried machine.

      Spark hit paper on floor, and then…


  2. Eleri Stone says:

    That’s quite the temper tantrum. Agree with Frank about the description of the fire. Nice detail:)

  3. Kate Warren says:

    Excellent sensory detail about the colors involved in the burning paper and carpet. Might you add a mingling of different odors of smoke?

    Was something burning in that trash can? I love the fact that after being fired Becca starts a fire, accidentally I’m sure but it’s still funny.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Good idea! Fire does have a strong smell component.

      Burning industrial carpet likely smells like scorching plastic. Ick!

      Nope, a spark from the coffee-drinking computer started it.

      Yeah, Becca didn’t mean to do it. It’s a final display of her inability to think of the consequences, so I wanted to go big.

  4. Well nice to see Lily take part in the action. I wonder what Becca will do or say next – she’s a force of nature in a gloomy way. Interesting snippet!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Becca is a force of nature. Messy and dangerous.

      Lily has a take-charge calm that I admire–the kind of person who has a tornado shelter, and will be down there with plenty of supplies while other people are panicking.

  5. Good action description of the fire. A change from the dark tantrums of Becca.

    • caitlinstern says:

      There’s noting quite like a fire to throw some adrenaline into the mix, is there?

      I’ve never been near a big one, but even accidentally catching dinner on fire gets the blood pumping. (Putting paper in an oven, even just to ‘warm’ something is, in fact, a terrible idea.)

  6. Carrie-Anne says:

    It takes a lot to make such a scene that almost no one notices a fire started! Great job describing the fire.

  7. I’m glad somebody finally noticed the fire! And how much data was destroyed in the computer?

  8. Sarah W says:

    I think I’d like having Lily on my side. Maybe Becca will, too? Eventually? No?

  9. Oh man! Becca is upset! Love how calm Lily was. I definitely want to know what Becca will do next. Enjoyed your 8!

  10. Gemma Parkes says:

    I like Lily! Becca has a really bad attitude!

  11. It’s an interesting snippet. Becca reminds me a little of some people I know who never seem to think about potential consequences when they start acting out.

  12. I like how Lily seems totally out of the drama but still is the one fixing the fire.

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