Over the past week, in an effort to find places to write flash stories other than a web site or Twitter, I’ve experimented with writing Instagram. I like IG and spend roughly as much time there as many folks do on Facebook, so off I went.
Aaaaaaaand I ran into a couple problems.
First, IG has no way to post a picture from a desktop computer, or at least no way I’ve discovered. We can edit our captions and comments from a desktop, or post new ones, but pictures? Mobile only, baby! I could post the picture, then write the caption on my desktop, which would be a sight better than writing it on my phone. I have fat fingers that do not fit an iPhone’s keyboard well at all. Or any phone’s keyboard. But that leads to Problem Two!
IG does not do text formatting. At all. You can’t put a line or paragraph break into an IG comment. The best you can do is type it up in Notes or some other text program, use periods of some other “dummy” character where you’d normally have an empty line, and pray that IG doesn’t cack it up.
None of those rules apply for embedded photos. Speaking of which, I embedded the four IG stories I wrote over the past few days for your enjoyment. The text is small and the breaks don’t translate well in the embedded content, but I hope you find a few minutes to check them out and enjoy them.
I’d love if you followed me on Instagram, because I will write more stories there. Oh, for certain. I may even find a way to re-post pictures from other accounts and write stories inspired by them as well. Come and see!
“Sun’s going down. Time to go home”, said the tree. “Hey, thanks”. I replied. It wasn’t until I had closed the door to my trailer office that it struck me that trees can’t talk. “Oh, sure we can!” The reply was muffled by the wall, but I heard it clearly. “And we can read your thoughts, too!” Well. Okay then. #naturepics #flashfiction #instafiction #amwriting #treepics #hoomhom
Jenny and her dad had dug around the concrete slab for two hours before she found the inscription. It was faded and hard to read, even after she picked out the dirt. “It looks like a pot of gold. See the little lines like it was shiny?” . Her Dad leaned over the handle of the shovel and caught his breath. “It’s been here a while. Probably part of the old Trick House.” . “Cool!” Jenny had heard the stories of the house that had been here before theirs. Her friends passed the stories along in school, handed down from older relatives. The Trick House. The Leprechaun Trap. The House of Gold. . The house burned down twenty years before Jenny was born. Only the foundations remained, eroded and overgrown. And the stories of gold and wee tiny tricksters. Her Dad had told her all about them, back when he laughed, before the wreck and Mom… . She stabbed her trowel into the dirt, close enough to the slab that she chipped a small divot out of it. Her Dad leaned down and said “Careful, kiddo” as the trowel clanged. The strange look on his face stopped her reply. . “What is it?” He didn’t answer, but kneeled slowly and picked at the crack she had just made. . “I think–ah”, he exclaimed as he dug out a chunk. “It’s brittle. More that it should be.” He took the trowel from her and pried more away. She dove in and cleared the loose material. The first handful came easily but she pulled back quickly when she reached in for the second. “There’s something in there!” . She grabbed her phone from her breast pocket and brought up the camera. Leaning down as close as she could, she stuck it up close to the crevice and snapped three or four pictures. If nothing else the flash would reveal something. . They looked at the first picture and her father gasped. It took her a second to see what he had but when she did, her mouth went dry. Sticking out of the concrete, blurry and lit too brightly, was a small, furry-knuckled hand. . #blackandwhite #instafiction #flashfiction #leprechauns
“So, that’s a mole hole. . “You sure?” . The exterminator looked at Mike like he had grown a new head. “Yessir. I’ve only seen a thousand of them. They burrow under buildings, where it’s safer, sometimes really deep.” . “Wait, wait. Could they undermine my house?” Mike felt a little blossom of panic in his stomach. The exterminator laughed, a short rough bark. “No, sir! They’d have to be very organized for that to happen. And have some way to really wreck your foundation!” He laughed again and shot Mike a wink. “Not likely, huh? Now give me an hour and I’ll have your whole problem solved. Yes, sir.” . They shook hands and Mike walked away, rubbing his hand absently on his pant leg. Something was odd, he thought. Something in the laugh. But he shook it off and went inside. The exterminator said he’d handle it. Mike decided to trust him. . But if he had turned around at that moment, he might have seen the strange smile on the exterminator’s face, the last backwards glance, and the glint of a weapon’s barrel from the edge of the hole. . #instafiction #flashfiction #amwriting
The monsters came from the river with care and cleverness. . For days, their wise tasted the wind and the water until the sky was right and the storm they long-desired had come. They used the drumming of the rain to hide their footsteps and masked their whispers behind the rush of wind through the high grass. They crawled low through the field to the lone building, disguised by the storm, sure they could not be seen. They used the patter of rain on the metal roof and the scratch of branch on window to hide the sound of their claws seeking weaknesses in the walls. Gusts of wind rocked the building slightly and masked their eager hissing. Already, they could sense the blood and power of the boy-mage inside. They came with care and cleverness. . Just not enough. . Inside, Josh sat cross-legged on the floor and listened. In front of him sat a very old piece of paper in which he had drawn a small, intricate circle. It glowed slightly brighter than his smartphone, which lay on the floor next to the paper. He tapped the screen of the phone twice and a wet, guttural voice intoned a phrase in the monsters’ language over and over. His lips moved along with the words until the third incantation. He held the blade of a battered Boy Scout folding knife against the palm of his other hand. On the third time through the incantation, he cut his hand and let seven drops of blood fall carefully on the center of the circle. As the last drop of blood soaked into the paper, he looked up and coughed a single syllable. . The storm he had carefully and cleverly called howled in reply. Seven bolts of lightning slammed into the ground around the building with such force it nearly lifted from the ground. Josh closed his eyes against the blinding light and pressed a clean rag into his bloody palm. When he opened them, all he heard were the noises of the storm, which almost seemed content like a pet that had pleased its owner. . The monsters were no more. . #flashfiction #instafiction #amwriting #latergram #fiction
If you want to post a picture from your desktop onto Instagram…transfer it to your phone first, then you can!
Regarding the ability to type stuff up better on your computer, I totally get that. You can, in theory, type it all up on your computer and then email the information to yourself so you can copy/paste on your phone the block of text. I did that recently for a contest I entered on Instagram which required me to add in their specific hashtags/comments/tagging of accounts.
I did type up one story, the last one (I think) on my desktop and e-mailed it to myself the way you described. Didn’t help the formatting very much. Clearly, I’m not using IG the way it’s meant to be used, so no fault on them!