Flash Fiction February 2020 – “You, In Shots”

I continue with my illustrations for Flash Fiction February 2020, twenty-nine days of flash fiction stories at Fictive Dream,  an online fiction magazine featuring short stories.

For the event I created a small abstract painting for each selection – in fact, I did more than one painting per story. I am showing you all the images, day by day, throughout February. I’m also including a short write-up as to how I went about turning the authors’ words into pictorial representations.

I hope you’ll take a look at my art, then go to Fictive Dream, see which image editor Laura Black chose for the magazine, and read the story!

Thank you to Laura for her faith in my work and to the authors for such wonderful material to work with.

Today’s story is:

You, In Shots by Francine Witte. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


I paid attention to the structure of the story, as the title suggests: a series of images, snapshots of emotion and the corresponding exterior life. The image of the hand and the color sequences through the story stood out to me as the main motifs.

Image 4 – I focused on the third section of the story, showing the narrator’s hand, open, and with a flock of bird shapes flying out into the sky, featureless and gray but in being so, open to change and full potential for new outcomes.

Image 5 – I made three panels that depict the three scenes in the story: the couple under the umbrella, the doorway (black and empty – “that woman in the doorway is no one”), and the narrator’s hand reaching up and out to the future. I view this story in three chapters. The first, the past: the narrator sees her memories in the couple. The present: the narrator hears that she is no one, that she is negated, that her place does not exist anymore. The future: things will be different and better and she will move into a new life and identity.

Image 61 – This image is similar to Image 4, with a flock of shapes representing the bird the narrator imagines as her hand. They are neutral in color, representing the sky that as the text says, “doesn’t hold the sun or the rain, or anything, really”, clearing the way for new possibilities.

Image 62 – This image is similar to Image 5 but removes the specificity of human shapes and uses colors to move from one panel to the next, mimicking the structure of the story. The first section represents the rain, the second the shafts of sunlight emerging, and the third the unknown space fading into a neutral color of future possibilities.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “You, In Shots”

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I made the ones with hands earlier, then Laura wanted ones with no hands, so I did that. I love the colors but for me, the hand is the symbol I took away from this story and still do, the idea of letting go and the open hand.

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    Oh man. I don’t envy Editor Laura’s job because these are all such strong illustrations. I am a sucker for yellow and grey as a combination so the use of those colours in each piece really appeal to me. My personal preference is the first image as I really liked the symbolism of the opening hand in the final section but, as a more abstract piece, I really like the composition of the chosen image.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I love the color scheme too – I remember making a gray and yellow and white quilt a long time ago, so it goes way back with me. As I said, the hand was a strong image for me, but I also think the ones that are more abstract express the ideas in the story, and I think the colors are light and symbolic of openness and possibility. I liked this story and enjoyed thinking about the different ways to portray the feelings expressed in it.

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