Microfiction: To the lighthouse

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

Photo ©William Bout



“They’re coming! Run, to the lighthouse,” they cry, so we run, along the narrow causeway above the angry waves towards the light that sweeps every ten seconds across our terrified faces.

We count, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, sixty, but the light is dead, the night dark as a whale’s gullet, and the lighthouse a single pale tooth against the starless sky.

Hearts pounding in fear, we listen to the darkness, straining against the wind and the crashing of the waves, until we hear it, up ahead, the sound of screaming.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

30 thoughts on “Microfiction: To the lighthouse”

      1. I don’t see why not Jane. It’s just a case of having the stamina and self belief to keep shipping it around. A fellow aspiring writer told me the average subs an author has to send before being accepted is 100 (though she is American, so I think they have more agents to send to!). Mind, you’d need a cast iron carapace to stay positive through that 🙂

      2. I’m not far off 100 now, and have only once had an agent ask for more than the query pages. The way I look at it is that if agents know what they’re about, and 100 of them won’t touch my story with a ten foot pole, what do I think of the one in 200, 500 who will? Frankly, I’d doubt her judgement 🙂

      3. Do you mind me asking if that’s all for the same book? And, to be honest, it still doesn’t reflect on the quality of your work – just on its perceived saleability.
        I’ve considered approaching small publishers direct with one of my books, as they might be more likely to take on someone who is clearly not going to make big bucks! Recently subbed to United Agents – huge agency in London – and got a rejection and wondering why I bothered subbing to them in the first place. Big agency = big money deals I suppose. Good luck with any future submissions Jane

      4. I think I have a sub in to them, though I can’t find any trace of it in my outbox. My email is so up the creek though that doesn’t necessarily mean much. Small publishers are easy to snag, but I’ve had nothing but disappointment with mine. The 100 agents have been mainly for the same book, with a few for the current masterpiece with sea monsters. Most don’t even bother rejecting which doesn’t tell me anything about why they don’t like it.

      5. Oh, I know – aren’t rejections like that frustrating? You’re left wondering if you’re way off or if there’s just something about that puts them off that you could fix. Not a very helpful approach for the budding author. Sorry to hear about your small publishers problems – very sad to hear.
        Good luck with UA – I hope you hear and it’s a big yes :).

      6. Well, they tell you to try to pick agents who seem interested in your genre, but hell, it’s worth a shot anyway. You never know who your work might chime with 🙂

      7. Spreadsheets is the answer – I’ve got one already and I’ve only been rejected 3 times. My little brain can’t cope with remembering anything these days 🙂

      8. When I started querying I did note everything down quite dutifully, but once I passed the 60 rejections or ‘no reply’ mark, the list was so depressing I gave up querying altogether. I’ve gone back to it sporadically this year but haven’t bothered noting things down, hence not being able to remember exactly who I’ve sent things off to.

      9. I’ve written so much now that I can see how I’ve got better at it, and I know that in terms of ‘quality’ it’s good. Why that isn’t enough, I don’t know, but it isn’t. I don’t have the ‘awesome’ factor that the quick selling, then quick fading books have, and I mustn’t have the ‘serieux’ needed for agents to want to push my stuff to big publishers. I’ll just have to keep bumbling along I suppose.

      10. Publishing has become ridiculous – so many readable writers that no one will take a risk on, it’s almost shocking.
        You must keep bumbling, Jane. I know this is easier said than done, but you never know when someone will fall in love with your work.
        If you’re anything like me, you have no choice anyway – I don’t actually know what I’d do if I didn’t write 🙂

      11. Same here 🙂 As I said, it is easy to find a small publisher, but I don’t see the point of being published if nobody reads the books, and small publishers often expect the author to do all the promotion, and that costs money. Even if I had the spare cash, I’d begrudge spending it so that the publisher could reap more than half the profits without spending a penny.

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