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Friday, May 4, 2007

Crappy First Drafts

Ever since LBB posted about her getting two (in the voice of the Count "Two. Two. Count to Two. Ha, ha, ha.") I've been thinking about short-shorts, and not the clothing kind.

One-hundred and twenty word short fiction. Just how the heck are you supposed to tell stories in less than 2300 words (my shortest "finished" piece so far)? I think it's in the implications of the language. So here's a crappy first draft, written mostly on the way to work ("Paper is for wimps" - Toby from the West Wing).

"We planted another boy today. Old enough to be a husband, but not around enough to be a father, small mercies there. We've had practice so everybody knew what to do. We all knew when to line the streets and welcome him home. We knew the right often repeated, so sorry words to say, waited in line to say them to his parents and wife. The uniformed honor guard we knew their names from before. We knew when to line the streets again as he went to rest. We could recite the well-worn words of commendation spoken before the open earth. We knew whose casseroles we liked for afterwards. We knew the precise moment to crack the joke in the church basement. We had all gotten well practiced. Wars make for good practice."

133 words. I had to stop myself from doing preliminary rewrites as I typed it in. The rythm breaks at points, I don't have some words in the right place for a good repetition. So there is the crappy first draft. I need to lose 13 words (I think I know which).

3 comments:

susan said...

I found some great fiction book reviews. You can also see those reviews in Fiction short story

littlebirdblue said...

short-shorts, and not the clothing kind

Hehehe. You crack me up.

Steve Buchheit said...

LBB, (shrugs) I'm a guy. :)