Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mother Doesn't Like Noise

That's the title of my story for the 24 hour contest. No, you won't read it here. You won't even get an excerpt.
When I read the topic, I was a little dismayed.

"The ocean water was warm, not offering much relief from the
relentless heat. It was July 23rd, an anniversary she always
honored by returning to the spot where her life had changed
so dramatically. She stepped on something hard and reached
down. She froze when she realized what she held in her hands..."

This was just so pure. So beautiful. So basket-full-of-puppies.
So easy for me to destroy. So easy to return a basket-full-of-severed-puppy-heads.
Sure, a part of me feels a bit bad about turning such an obvious love story into something macabre, but not much.
The limit was 1000 words. One thousand fucking words. Unless you write, you probably think that's easy. You have no idea how insanely hard that is. Every word has to matter. Every sentence, every paragraph, every scene. Every single one of those words has to tell a story. You think it's easy to tell a story in 1000 words? It took me four drafts, and I write a very clean first draft.
I managed to do it in 900. I don't know how. I cut half a paragraph that wasn't needed and added 3 more that were. And I did it all with 20 hours to spare. I admit that my wife was a help. She sat beside me as I revised, pointing out bits where the story wasn't coherent. But she also told me when I couldn't fix it any further, and that's where she's most helpful. I'd still be revising it tomorrow, trying to make perfect a story that could never be perfect.
It's 1000 fucking words. You're not getting "War and Peace".
In the end, I faced fear and it wasn't so scary. Sure, I've got writer's angst right now: Is it good? Could it have been better? Is it original or are there 499 entries with the same trope? Was the ending strong, or is it merely a relief? And, actually my biggest fear, will it overly offend the fine sensibilities of the judges?
But, despite my angst, the story is already entered. It cannot be recovered, revised, or withdrawn. It may take as much as a month for them to decide. 500 entries is a lot, and I have to assume that all are equally well-written, and will get equal time.
In the meantime, I have other things to write.


Anonymous Andrea Wideman said...

Admit it, you enjoyed turning such an obvious love story into something
macabre,this is what you do for fun.

7/26/2005 08:19:00 PM  

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