Flash Fiction Challenge: Bad Dads

Last week’s challenge: “ABC Meets XYZ

All right.

This week’s challenge (up a couple days late since for some reason again WordPress borked me on a Friday where I was gone from the house, grarrrgh) is pretty simple: in the tradition of Don Draper, Tony Soprano, Walter White, or even my own Mookie Pearl (hint hint), it’s time to write a bit of flash fiction featuring a bad dad. These fathers fit on the lower more sinister echelon of the D&D alignment chart. The question is: can you also make them sympathetic?

You’ve got 1000 words.

You’ve got (less than) a week: due by Friday the 21st, noon EST.

Write at your online space.

Link back here.

Go and write.

80 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Bad Dads”

    • I thought this was a great story, very sad how your protagonist gets stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of anger and negative thoughts. I definitely think it would be even better with more words; there was so much raw emotion that I felt restricting it to the word limit didn’t do it as much justice as needed. And I do hope you’re away from that sort of violent relationship now, as it sounds terrifying and stifling.

      • Oh, yes, I am now… it’s been such a long time since he and I were together; and yet I can tap into the violence he used to conflict on me all those years ago. And, you know, he started out being such a lovely guy when we began going out and turned into the Jekle & Hyde syndrome when we moved in together… then he used entrapment to keep me. It was horrible but I got out of it with the help of my family.

        I know what to look for in relationships now… and that guy isn’t it.

      • Thanks for your feedback Trine. I’m pleased it struck a nerve with you. I don’t come from a violet background with my family. My Dad is a great guy… very loving and kind. As you know from the above reply to Mr Urban Spaceman, I’ve had one horrible experience with a violent man who was supposed to love and protect me (a boyfriend) and that kind of thing sticks with you for a long time.

        Thanks again.

    • First off, I don’t think that just because you have no personal experience in this, you can’t bring a story to the table. It is all in the imagination.
      I like your story, though I struggle with finding Brad Milton sympathetic, even if he realizes his mistakes. But I suppose that is just my unforgiving nature sticking its head in.

      • Thanks, Trine, I’m glad you liked the story! 🙂 To be honest, I really wanted another 200-300 words for this one, both to show the depth of the violence aimed at Wayne, and to show Brad’s feelings of helplessness and his frustration… but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the Skrimmers for it. Cheers for reading!

    • Interesting direction on this one. A bad dad, and a dad willing to become bad. The supernatural element gave it a spin, but you left a story intact that anyone could relate to. I liked it.

  1. […] lined up too, start working on that tomorrow. The new writing challenge has been set by Chuck at http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/16/19188/; with fathers day in mind, it’s a 1000 words about a bad dad. I’ll be attempting to […]

  2. I’ve tried to submit a link to my blog, but it isn’t showing up. Does it have to be approved first, or am I doing something wrong? Obviously, first time submitter here so forgive my ignorance.

  3. Well that was a heck of a curve ball, if a curve ball was the size of a bus… Wasn’t easy for me to come up with something, but I’m satisfied with what came out of the challenge. This may definitely be a touchy one for some people, but with the challenge, don’t know if it’s possible to get past that. Just a small warning for people.


  4. I don’t think I’m going to be able to complete this one.

    I’ve done some brainstorming and, because I’ve been watching a lot of it lately, wanted to try this one as a spoken-word poem. But I keep stumbling and hesitating. Every time I try I just freeze up and start thinking about my own histroy.

    Which has a lot to draw from, but I also don’t really want to use that because I’m on better terms with my family now. Give me this topic five-odd years ago and I would’ve torn it up! But now I’m right on the fence.

    Any thoughts? I’d really like to have something for this but the topic is making me uncomfortable.

    I can hear Chuck say something like “GOOD! You should be uncomfortable! Now take those heebie-jeebies and make them dance on your keyboard. Let them sex it up on the keys and make word babies!”

    • This is a hard concept for sure, and it is a tough situation to want to write something but not be able to get it out. I’d say any current relationships, and their status, are more important than a story, but if you really want to do something, maybe just do it for yourself. The challenge is the inspiration, there’s not a requirement for production. So maybe just doing it, even if you never release it, would be good to clear that stuck feeling. Just my two bits.

    • I always enjoy your stories so much, and this one was no exception. I was wondering what was in the bag since it was first mentioned (my money was on murdered prostitute) so I was surprised when the truth was revealed. I do think there’s a small measure of sympathy to be found for the father; at least he’s doing bad things FOR her, and not TO her. As for a title, what about “Foiled by the Phone” 😉

    • Ah, another great story. I figured something like that was coming, but the reveal was still great. Excellent twist, and I do think he’s sympathetic. I think that’s what every father wishes he could do to his daughter’s dates. Well maybe not the kill them and stuff them in a trash bag part, but the keep them safe from everything part. I was going to say ‘Taking out the Trash’ would be a good title, but that might give too much away so maybe ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’.

      • Thank you jreinmiller. The story was a play on my husband’s insistence that he will buy a shotgun, and keep suiters away once our daughter is old enough to date. Thank god getting a gun is almost impossible hehe.
        I love your title suggestions, Taking out the Trash is great, but you are right, it would hint too strongly at the twist.

  5. Oh wow!

    I am tempted to leave it like that, but that would be very ineloquent of me. I loved it. It’s dark, gritty, and felt so real my skin crawled. I love the indifference to the violence and the abject terror of it all.

  6. I couldnt do this one, I have problems fitting them in if WP hasnt posted your blog on time, sorry Chuck! But I did catch up on the Choose your Words one from a couple of weeks back: http://jemimapett.com/2013/06/21/the-legend-of-the-scarecrow-epidemic/
    Maybe I’ll catch up this one another time.
    Oh and thanks to your inspiration and getting me writing FF I’ve got into Flash Flood journal on the UK’s National Flash Fiction Day Saturday 22nd June! http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. […] A very late post for Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenge.  My family vacation got me behind on all my writing.  But it was worth it.  This week’s challenge was to write about a bad dad, but make him sympathetic.  Since, I grew up with an abusive father, it was pretty hard for me to write, but I enjoyed it.  Wish the story was a bit more upbeat.  Check out the contest here http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/16/19188/ […]

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