Photo used by kind permission of Keith Ryan

Last week I submitted my short story Ben Fraoch to Inkitt’s End Game Competition. The great thing about the competition is that because it is run on a vote system Ben Fraoch is live on their website so you can go and read it now. Also means I can write up my Author’s Notes for the story which you will find below.

Original Idea

Ben Fraoch was originally written for The #1000words #FlashFiction #Flashcomp: November 2014 (yes all those hashtags are apart of the competition’s name!). They wanted no more than 200 words inspired by a photograph taken by alexcoitus. Their photo inspired what became the opening to the original flash fiction piece:

The view at the top of Ben Fraoch is magical: mountain crests bob on a sea of cloud. The thick purple heather stained the mountainside.

In the submitted version of Ben Fraoch this piece comes much later in the story. The reason behind this is that the story idea was too long for 200 words with all the set up required. This was one of the reasons why I didn’t win The #1000words #FlashFiction #Flashcomp: November 2014.

Scotland’s Munros and Making Up My Own Mountain

This lack of success meant I was able to go back to the story and give it the space it required. The biggest change was the beginning with all the stuff about Scotland, Munros and character’s opinion on modern life.

For those who don’t know a Munro is any Scottish mountain that measures over 3000ft in height. They called Munros after Sir Hugh Munro, the first man to list the Scottish Mountains. Many walkers go out to bag or collect all the Munros in Scotland by climbing each one. Ben Fraoch isn’t a real Munro and was invented for the story. There was two reasons for this: first I didn’t have to describe a real mountain, and second I didn’t want to give a real place a bad reputation or make fun of real people who’d die while walking in Scotland.

While the opening is meant to be comic, the subject matter is very serious as people die every year climbing the hills. I hope that the characters fate, after ignoring the warnings he is given, serve as a suitable comeuppance and show I take the subject seriously.

Ben Fraoch’s Cover Photo

Finally, I quickly want to mention Ben Fraoch‘s cover photo. In my head I imagined the heather stained mountain side being a very rich, hyper-real purple. When I started searching google for the cover photo I needed, I wasn’t confident I’d find something that matched my imagination. Luckily, I did thanks to Keith Ryan’s website who also let me use the picture as well. Thank you sir.

There is still time to vote for Ben Fraoch on Inkitt so please do. It would mean a lot