I came across Cafe Muravyets yesterday (though I can’t remember if I linked there through the Absolute Write forums or through another blogger or through tag surfing). I was greatly intrigued to read about her 50-word story challenge for February. I decided to give it a try.
I finished my little story this morning. I thought it might not be all that different from trying a OneWord exercise except that I would have all the time I liked to ponder and polish. However, writing the story proved to be much more challenging than I expected. The story had to fit the theme and include five particular words…all while not exceeding 50 words.
It was the 50 words part that really challenged me. I find it fairly easy to just write and write about a topic. But to try to tighten it up…? Quite a bit harder than I’d guessed.
My first attempt was 102 words long and it seemed, while I was writing it, that I was being as pared down as possible. I was horrified to think that I had to shave off a little more than half of the words. Shave I did and my second attempt came in at 80 words. Still 30 words too many. I tried again and got it down to 64 words, then 52. Those last two words were the most painful to cut but at last I made it to 50 words.
When I sat back and looked at what I had written, I realized that shaving off all of those words had created something a lot better than what I had started with. I can’t claim that it’s any great work of fiction, but I’m pleased with what I was able to create. Cutting the extra words forced me to sharpen the image and give it more impact. It’s a lesson I think I can definitely take to my other writing…not necessarily cutting everything in half, but really looking at the story and pruning away all the dead branches and excess foliage.
And, when I looked at the piece again, I knew I needed to make another change. Two more words simply didn’t fit. I changed them out for two other words and the results surprised me. I looked at it and realized the story was complete and I was truly satisfied with it.
I posted my piece in the comments section of Cafe Muravyets and here below:
A woman emerges from the building’s Victorian façade, brushes past me, her belly heavy with child.
A vicarious thrill sweeps me, followed by yearning and inevitable tears.
I blink and clutch the bag tighter. Tenth year trying could be the charm. Time to find a bathroom and learn the truth.
- March Writer’s Challenge! (ericswett.wordpress.com)