Writing for Valentines

The Love Month

By Annette Rey

Writers, what’s not to love, right? February 14th – roses, flowers, candlelight, romantic dinners. Or is all of that passé?

Creative brains may find blood among the roses, corpse flowers are the plant of choice, a fire is set in an attempt to conceal a murder, poison is in the soup. Well, maybe. Many crimes are committed for love, from the killer’s point of view.

Today I saw a Valentine flag flying from the front of a suburban house. I tried to put myself in the mind of the inhabitant (most likely a female) that decided to decorate her house in this manner. Is she motivated by love or does she have a flag for every month and this is just rote to her? If it’s for love, how enamored is she? If it’s an automatic habit, does she feel less deeply than someone I know to compare her? Is she hurt, frustrated, lonely because her mate is disinterested in her? Is the flag a hint to him to get with the program? Or, as my devious mind would rather imagine, is she planting the scene? See how in love I am, I even hang hearts from my house, I would never kill him.

Then I think of the story in reverse. The man drives up and sees the hearts blowing in the wind. He snickers. Then it makes him mad. He’s tired of her pushing in his face her dependency on him. Idle thoughts of murder now become a tangible surety in his mind. Tonight…

You see how and why I believe there is no such thing as writer’s block? Just a sight of the flag evoked writing ideas in me. Focus on one item, symbol, sign, bridge, color of a front door of a house, and your imagination can create a seed of a story.

So – challenge for February – write a twist on the typical love story. Where does it go wrong? Make it a short time from the killer’s inspiration to murder to the commission of the act. Write it in flash fiction, less than 1,000 words. Get into the mind of the killer. Narrate his internal dialogue. What is his (twisted) justification for the crime? Does he bungle it? Maybe it’s a series of bungles which can turn your story into a comedy and no crime gets committed in the end. If someone dies, is he so deranged that he convinces himself it really was an accident? How would you relate that in your writing?

Include the trigger that caused the killer to go over the edge. Remember the Valentine flag. It was the trigger for me to think such (imaginary) thoughts.





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