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G B Ralph, Author. Header image.

New short story: Picking up the Groceries

Picking up the Groceries short story cover image with autumnal colours, white picket fence, and cat silhouette

At only around 300 words long – a one-pager! – the story is super short and will probably only take a minute or so to read. Check it out now!

But, if you’re after a little background or the survey results, read on…

A writing exercise and a walk down the street

This story grew from a writing exercise designed to encourage the use of all the senses in your writing and to avoid leaning too heavily on one sense or another. We had to go for a walk and take a photo (shown alongside the story) then we had to describe that scene solely from the perspective of each sense: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. And finally, combine everything into one description, but I couldn’t help adding a little narrative to my scene…

And after you’ve read it, I’ve got another story-relevant photo to share. I won’t say any more now – spoilers! – but you’ll understand at the end.

My first readers

I sent this story out last month to the fine people on my mailing list (you can join here too, go on). I wanted to know if they thought it was any good, worth popping up on my website for others to read, or if we should sweep it aside and forget all about it. I also asked them to help me choose a cover image for the story.

And what they had to say

I asked the readers on my mailing list what they thought, here were the voting options:

Story feedback voting option emojis

And the results showed the majority of responses were at the smiley end of the scale – woo!

Story feedback voting results showing mostly positive responses

For the cover image, I couldn’t decide between two options, which I put to the readers at the same time:

Cover option 1:
Autumnal oranges

Cover option 2:
Ominous greys

Picking up the Groceries cover image options: Autumnal oranges or Ominous greys

And the results were not nearly as conclusive as the story itself! But, considering the image I included at the top of the blog post, you’ve probably already guessed which option won…

Picking up the Groceries - cover voting results showing Autumnal oranges just beating Ominous greys

And to round out my little survey, I asked if anyone had any other thoughts, comments, or suggestions. I’m not going to list all the responses, but I thought I’d cherry-pick a few story-related responses (with spoilers redacted) to give you the general vibe:

  • Loved the little twist at the end with [spoiler]! So [spoiler]!
  • Great atmosphere and detail. I would love to see it even longer… and maybe a [spoiler] on the cover ([spoiler], of course!)
  • As a [spoiler], this is exactly the kind of reaction one might expect from [spoiler].
  • Great story! The use of senses works perfectly, and creates an intriguing feeling.

That’s all folks. You’re welcome to check out the story. There’s also info there on how you can see a photo of the real-life character gracing the cover 😘

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