Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


There’s a new acronym in town. Along with the much maligned OMG and LOL, we now have FML. I have to admit I had no idea what ‘FML’ meant until recently. Guess I’m not one of the cool kids anymore. (If you still don’t know what it means, this website makes it clear pretty fast.)

Like most acronyms of the texting era, FML is in danger of being overused. It is the chosen sign-off for everything from simple mishaps to truly bad days and tragedies. The website I linked to has thousands of people sharing their FML moments–enough to garner a major book deal. So I thought it might be fun to share one of mine here.

When I was younger, I had a thriving full-time freelance journalism business, and things had gotten so good that I’d stopped wanting a permanent job at a newspaper. One editor changed this.

She convinced me that the Feature Writer position would be perfect for me, and after awhile, I had to admit she was right. I already wrote a large number of feature stories for her paper, all of which were my own ideas. And covering everything from eating disorders to online dating to opposite sex friendships wasn’t a bad gig. It was a lot of fun, so why not get paid (even more) for it? As much as I loved freelancing, it would be nice not to worry about where my next assignment was coming from. And freelancing still wasn’t seen as a legitimate career choice. In spite of the fact that I made more money on my own than I would as an employee of our local paper, I was still regularly asked when I was going to get a “real job.”

This was also a good time for positive change. My personal life was in turmoil, as I’d recently discovered that my boyfriend of three years had been cheating on me, first online and then up close-and-personal, with a reporter from Toronto. In hindsight, he did me a favor, as he clearly wasn’t the right man for me, and his infidelity gave me irrefutable evidence of this. But at the time, I was heartbroken and angry. It didn’t help that the other woman had moved to my city to be with my ex, so I now had to face them at social events. As our mutual friends chose sides, my pain only deepened.

All I had to do, the editor assured me, was wait for the current Feature Writer to leave the paper, and the job was mine. Thankfully, this happenstance was imminent, as this writer was also from Toronto and desperately wanted to return to her home city.

The writer left the paper within a few months, but just as I began to get excited about my “new job”, things took a turn for the worst. A significant number of news reporters applied for the feature writing job, something my editor hadn’t anticipated. She was concerned about the ramifications of choosing a freelancer over a unionized employee. To keep from being labeled The Bad Guy, she turned the decision over to the managing editor, which made me very nervous. I hadn’t been building a relationship with the managing editor, but I finagled a meeting with him that lasted 90 minutes and seemed very promising. I was assured by my editor that I was the clear choice, and that the ME would realize that too. She had no doubts.

For a while, I heard nothing. And then an email came from my editor, saying that the managing editor was meeting with a writer from Toronto, but not to worry–it was just a formality. Just a formality? I panicked. The managing editor was from Toronto as well, and he was known for continuously hiring reporters from there. Apparently, Winnipeggers weren’t “cosmopolitan” enough. I frantically sent emails to both editors, highlighting how well-traveled I was. I wrote for plenty of Toronto publications–wasn’t that good enough?

Apparently not. The next contact I received was an email from my editor, asking me to meet for coffee. I instantly knew the news wasn’t good.

When we met, she was contrite and disappointed for me. I’d known this was coming, but what I hadn’t anticipated was who had landed “my” job. Can you guess?

Yep, the woman who slept with my boyfriend. How’s that for a FML?

It ended up turning out for the best, but at the time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get over it.

Anyone else brave enough to share an FML moment on here? It hurts less when you can laugh about it. 🙂

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  1. Kim

    Yep. that’s pretty much impossible to top! I hope you can laugh about it now!

  2. Chris

    Mine is a little long to write out, but it also involves an ex. This one fell in love online with a guy who turned out to be a fictional character created by a British lesbian who had fallen for my then-girlfriend while writing group fan fiction based on the movie “The Matrix.” The British woman then pretended that the guy had killed himself, which sent my then-girlfriend into a spiral of depression that changed her personality and entire life permanently.

    And all because one day after watching “The Matrix” in the theatre, I answered her question of what to do next with the immortal words, “Do you want to be crazy and see it again?”

    It turned out for the best in the long run, but it was definitely an FML moment at the time.

  3. Story Teller

    Thanks for the comments! Kim, don’t worry about topping me. I’m sure yours have merit all their own.

    @ Chris – I did know about that one, and it’s an incredible Ripley’s Believe It Or Not kind of story. Thanks for sharing it. Life is stranger than fiction!

  4. Laura Best

    Hey, I must be cool because I did know what FML was. I have a nephew who uses it all the time on Facebook. Drives me up the wall. I don’t have any stories to share so I suppose I should consider myself lucky. That’s quite a FML story, Holli. Seems to me that things in life eventually work out even though at the time it is difficult to believe it.

  5. Kim

    Mine can’t be posted publicly though…. 😉

  6. Story Teller

    Okay, you are all big chickens! 🙂

    @ Laura – you’ve never made a mistake, had something unfortunate happen, or been the star of a blooper in your entire life? Hmm…I admit you are pretty fabulous, but I’m not sure I believe in the possibility of a FML-free life.

  7. Lisa

    I’m not sure if this qualifies…but when I was in high school my family moved from a small town to an even smaller town 100 miles north. I had to take the bus to school (an hour each way ugh). During the ride I got to know a guy in my town. He flirted with me relentlessly and I developed the hugest crush ever. I discovered that he had a girlfriend, but that she had moved away the summer I had moved to town. But they rarely saw each other, spoke only infrequently on the phone and wrote the occasional letter. I spent hours and hours writing in my diary, writing long sad poems, and thinking of ways that I could win him over. He would not give up that girlfriend and he actually sabotaged my efforts to get together with other guys in town. (kind of the old adage “He didn’t want me but didn’t want anyone else to have me either.”) At the time I didn’t realize what was going on and thought that he had changed his mind about going out with me.

    Eventually I moved away from town when I went to attend University. We saw very little of each other, although he would write me a letter now and then. I dated guys in University but always thought about that guy. I heard that he had moved to where she was living and moved with her. That was that. It was over and I moved on.

    Years later we got together when he came to help my parents build their house and I had come home for the weekend. Sitting and watching a movie after my parents had gone to bed I felt his arm go around me. WTF was he doing? I turned and asked him as much. Things hadn’t worked out with his girlfriend and he had left her and moved back to his parents’. He didn’t tell me because he wanted it to be a surprise. He assumed that I would jump into a relationship with him because that’s what I had always wanted. Uhmmm no…I’m so over you…(I didn’t put it that harshly). Upon reflection I’m thinking this story should be more of a FHL rather than a FML…but still…It’s a good story.

    (p.s. we are still friends…great friends in fact…funny dat!)

  8. Story Teller

    That’s a great story, Lisa. Thanks for sharing! I’m not picky about what constitutes an FML…just glad that someone was brave enough to share. 🙂

    Good on him! I hope it taught that guy that he can’t take women for granted. He can eat his heart out.

  9. P V Ariel

    Very interesting post OMG!! FML!!! A New Word Indeed!! At the same time LOL
    Thanks for sharing
    Hey, you drive your visitors to another page in the first instance, I think that is not a good trend, LOL
    Keep inform
    Philip Ariel

  10. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for commenting, Philip. That’s a good point!


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