11 January 2019

Published January 9, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

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The following is an excerpt, cut down to size, from my WIP “What the Heart Wants.” The year is 1881. Aggie, a former nun who worked at the Indian boarding school, has fled, taking Ruth Bear Starfire with her for her own protection.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “Pretty li’l Injun,” said the general store clerk. “What tribe?”

            Ruth’s cheeks blazed. 

            “She’s my daughter,” said Aggie.

            “Uh-huh.” He eyed Aggie’s blonde hair. “Strong resemblance.”  

            “How much for the Winchester?”

   “$40. Firm.”

            “I’ll give ya $25.”


            “Please, sir. My baby ain’t et no meat in a coon’s age.” Aggie crossed herself. “I’m a-prayin to the Blessed Virgin my Ruthie don’t perish from starvation.”

            “$25 it is.” With a bucktoothed grin he laid sacks of sugar and flour on the counter. “I can’t have your deaths on my conscience.” 

            “Would you mind tossing in some sorghum and cornmeal, too?”

*Note to those who feel they can’t cut their stories down to 100 words. The excerpt I started with was 383 words. Certainly, cutting it lost the original intent of the chapter. However it turned it into another aspect of the same story and, I think, stands alone. 

*Note 2, for those wondering how the photo prompt inspired my offering. This takes place in an old fashion general story where candy was kept in large jars. In the original chapter the store clerk offer little Ruth a candy stick. 



144 comments on “11 January 2019

  • I’m Catholic, Rochelle and have never heard of a “defrocked” nun–defrocked priest, yes. Where did you get the information on the term “defrocked nun”? It sounds like the beginning of an interesting story. —- Suzanne


    • Dear Susan,

      I’m glad the story worked for you. I, too. love the challenge of cutting a longer piece down. It’s a great exercise in word conservation, isn’t it? Doing this has really made me think about my longer works. Thank you for your affirming comments.




  • Rochelle, thanks for your comments on keeping the 100-word limit. There is no point in the exercise if one doesn’t count the words 🙂 Yes, it can be difficult, but the gains are tremendous. Doing FF has helped me pay more attention to unnecessary words and tightened up my writing.

    I loved Aggie. She’s a fighter, and obviously has a heart to help. The storekeeper was an interesting character, starting out very tern and then showing his kinder side. Really enjoyed this.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Linda,

      I’m really not trying to be a nag about the word count, but as you say there is a reason for it. There are plenty of other blog challenges out there that allow for longer word counts. Personally, I’ve gained a lot from taking part myself. (as you know, or don’t, I didn’t create Friday Fictioneers). Sometimes you can say so much more with less.

      Aggie is a fighter indeed. I like the storekeeper and, of course, have more description of him in the longer version. He is a minor character who only shows up once. 😉

      Thank you for your affirming and encouraging comments.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Frances,

      I love it when you visit my purple page. Thank you. I’m actually planning to record more of my stories. At least one of my FF’rs is visually impaired and it’s good practice…just in case I should do an audio book in the future. 😉




  • Great story. I think defrocked is accurate, though it’s rare. Excommunicated might be more common (there is a historical example of a nun who performed abortions being tossed out and convicted). In any case, it’s an intriguing piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      I only used ‘defrocked’ three times in the novel. In context it wasn’t hard to change. I did read the article about the nun in question. Thank you re my story. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. Aggie, Ruth and a host of others are demanding my time and headspace.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Someone claimed Aggie was preying on the clerk. I couldn’t see any proof of that, although I found it quite disconcerting that the Injun girl had a blonde mother. Who knows? Maybe, in their world, a little haggling every once in a while can do a world of good

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alice,

      There have been a few incidences here and there of going over the word count with claims of not being able to cut it. There is a reason for the challenge. 😉 Thank you for your comments and keeping the count low. .



      Liked by 1 person

      • As long as they don’t start running off to 150 or more words I’m ok with it. But yeah, making a to-do about it means some part of them realizes that they are missing something; and maybe they really could come up with a story that fits the guidelines.


    • Dear Neel,

      I’m so pleased you liked my story and found it touching. As for your question, I’m not quite sure how to answer it. Are you asking about this particular piece or my historical writings in general.
      This particular story takes place in 1881. The book itself is fiction based on the persecution against the Jews in Eastern Europe and the horrible treatment of Native American children in boarding schools. The children were taken by the government from their families and forced to learn the Western culture of the white man. The more I’ve read about the atrocities, the more I’m convinced they need to be written about. I hope that answers your question.
      I love historical fiction…to write or to read.




  • You caught two very important truths in that piece. That a mother – even an adopted one – will take desperate steps to protect her child, and that most people, when face to face with desperate need, will try to help as best they are able. That’s lovely!
    Shalom, and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Eric,

      Actually Ruth isn’t a half breed. She’s full blooded Shawnee. Aggie loves her as her own and has rescued her from a brutal situation in a fictitious Indian boarding school of the day. You can say she rescued herself as well. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I think I would like Aggie, she’s doing what she needs to do for her and Ruth’s survival. Especially back then when their differences in appearance would have raised many eyebrows. Love her accent, my granny was from Kentucky. “In a coon’s age” is familiar to me. An entertaining story as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Brenda,

      I’m glad you liked my characters. Aggie is a tour de force with a fascinating background. (If I do say so myself. 😉 ) She doesn’t allow much to stop her when her mind’s made up. These two fiercely love each other. Thank you so much for your encouraging comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Kristen Michelle W(T)F,

    The poor store clerk probably thought that woman’s name was Naggie instead of Aggie. Obviously. she’s no dumb blonde. You must have used a chainsaw to carve out this little excerpt out of 300+ words. Well done.

    (pull my finger) he he,
    Rusty Red-Nose

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rusty Red-Nose,

      A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. Nope, Naggie, I mean Aggie was no dumb blonde and that’s for darn tootin’. That store clerk knew when he’d lost the fight. 😉 Many thanks for dropping by. Keep that finger to yourself.


      Kristen Michelle W(T)F


  • Dear Rochelle,

    I adore Aggie. You don’t have to be a birth mother to mother…and when a mother needs something for her young’un, she’ll do.what she can. Lucky for Ruth, she’s got such a tough huge-hearted one…

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Colline,

      In the actual chapter there’s much more to it. For the sake of the challenge though it does tell the writer what’s important to say and what’s not. In fact I went back to the original chapter and edited after posting this version. 😉 Thank you.




    • Dear Subroto,

      Aggie is a protector indeed. I’m 60,000 words into the WIP so I’m likely to use an excerpt or two here and there. 😉 How I manage isn’t really something I give a lot of thought to. I just do it, I guess. Thank you for being a part of it.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    Lovely story about a mother’s determination to take care of her daughter. I like Aggie. She’s a great negotiator. Good for her. And as some have commented, keeping the word count to 100 and below has helped my writing tremendously. You’ve managed to so much in 100 words.


    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks Rochelle for the reminder that persistence pays off when we are chopping our stories down to 100 words. Its like cutting a circle from a paper square. Keep trimming the corners, and eventually you’ll get there. Your nun drives a hard bargain. Good thing the grocer can see past his preconceptions, to the hungry little girl before him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Shrawley,

      It pays to call ahead. 😉 Actually I do schedule my stories ahead so they post at 0230 my time on Wednesday morning. Back when I started I was still employed and generally got up around that time to write before going to work. The inLinkz is another story. Since I don’t generally arise as early I’m usually farther down the pike. This week I had some insomnia.

      The storekeeper, like most back in the day, saw one thing and one thing only when they saw an Indian. Sadly. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. 😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    Aggie’s got her some grit. : ) Great character in your 100 words. I got a full picture of the whole scene. I speck Aggie is a looker since the store keeper folded quickly. Need I say … nicely written? I think not. Es un cuento muy bueno.
    I’m with you with the 100 words. If I see it’s longer I pass on reading them. Bad Me !!!
    Anywho … I’m still having ‘Like’ button issues. I’ve been in touch with WP. Sorry I can’t “Like.’
    Hasta la próxima …
    Abrazos , Besitos y Shalom,
    Isadora 😎
    ps – loved the audio read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      In my mind, Aggie is not a raving beauty but definitely attractive, if not cute. Gracias para sus palabras amables.

      Perhaps I’m too over the top re the 100 words. On the other hand, it is a challenge and there are plenty of others out there that don’t have a word limit. Confession: I, too pass over the longer ones. 😉

      Glad you liked the audio.

      Shalom y abrazos mi amiga 😀



    • Dear Jacob,

      While this doesn’t take place in Oklahoma, the sentiment is pretty much the same. Of course that rifle was a necessity back in those days. 😉 The store clerk knew this, of course. It wasn’t like Aggie could go to the supermarket and buy packaged meat. Thank you for your comments. I apologize for being slow to answer.



      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, I’m slow to answer as well. Life gets in the way and all that. Strange to think the world was like that at one point. I think I’d die if I didn’t have my fast food available at 1am or my refrigerator 😱


  • Unfortunately, I struggled a bit to get my head around this and the comments this week but really like the sound of the longer story. Being Australian, there was a lot to process at a fairly conscious level and I didn’t think her accepting the lower amount for the gun was a win for Ruth despite him throwing the extras in,although maybe it was.
    In Australia, we had a Government policy of removing Aboriginal children particularly of mixed race from their parents and they were quite literally snatched or stolen away and is referred to as: “The Stolen Generation”, although it actually covered a number of generations and was quite recent. My aunt who is a historian wrote the award-winning national history of the Stolen Generation called “Broken Circles”: https://www.fremantlepress.com.au/products/broken-circles
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

      • I thought about whether to mention that or not but I thought that’s what we’re here for. It’s a risk when any of us really delves into a sub-culture and uses it’s lingo and something Australian writers have to be very mindful of, when the American market/audience is such big. Even on my blog my Australian traffic is a dribble compared to America. I find it quite difficult as a whole to understand anything with a strong Southern influence. We don’t get much of it here other than NCIS New Orleans.


  • Well, there is a grand lesson in editing. You’re quite right, too. It takes some practice, but stories can be cut to 100 words and if they can’t, maybe the writer is trying to tell the wrong story!
    This is a fascinating snippet, Rochelle. Wondering at the back story, at what the future holds for these two ladies in such hard and uncertain times. Can they possibly succeed, thrive together, a single woman and an Indian child? Sounds like a thrilling read

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      These two ladies can and do survive…at least in my book. 😉 I’ve no idea where it will go as far as publication but I’m in the zone of I have to keep writing.

      As far as telling the wrong story in some instances…I’ve tossed a few that went nowhere. The whole idea behind the 100 word challenge is to learn which words are important and which ones not so much. This has done so much for my longer pieces.

      In any event, thank you for your affirming and encouraging comments. 😀



      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m guessing we’ve all tried to prise a long story into 100 words and either had to write something very potted or ditch it and start afresh. It’s all about learning, isn’t it?
        It’s sounds very exciting, where you are with your WIP at the moment – that Having to keep writing, what joy. Hope the rest of the write is just as compelling


  • Thanks for the note at the bottom. I couldn’t figure out how your story fit the picture at first. I’ve watched enough Westerns and 50’s TV shows where that was the norm. Candy in stores I went to as a kid had the new fangled wrapped sweets in cardboard boxes. Still tasted good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Stu,

      When I was a little girl there was one little general store left on the corner near our neighborhood. The final vestiges of bygone days. It was run by an old man named Jack who sold penny candy. He and the store are long gone. 😉 Thank you.




    • Dear Dahlia,

      Although the storekeeper is a very minor character, he’s definitely a tender man. Of course I explain the Winchester better in the actual chapter. It was a popular type of rifle in the day. Aggie would need the rifle for hunting if she was going to provide meat for her daughter. Hope that helps. Thank you. 😀




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