"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Whittling down a story

Posted: 3/3/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: , ,

This was an interesting exercise from tonight’s Random Writers Workshop. Nick had us write a story in 100 words then whittle it down to 50 words, 20, and then 6 words. I think I failed miserably at the 6 words. Another reason I write novels not flash fiction. Still it was fun.

100 Words
Lights flicker as the hard government chairs mold around us. “Everything will be okay,” I tell her.

“I know,” she looks down. “I’m glad you’re here.” She says to me.

Another joke made about the pregnant women. Kids running amuck, we thank god none of them ours. We giggle. Hiding the reason we’ve come.

“Evette” The nurse calls out. My friend stands and walks behind the door. Four hours later she comes out. I ask how she feels.

“Empty” she says eyes looking at her feet. Quietly we walk to my car. No words as we leave the abortion clinic.

50 Word version
“Everything will be okay,” I say.

“I know,” she looks down. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Another joke made about pregnancy, an uneasy laugh.

“Evette,” a nurse calls. My friend stands. Four hours later she returns.

“How do you feel?” I ask.


Quietly we walk away from the abortion clinic.

20 Word version
“Everything will be okay.”

“I know. Thanks.”

Another joke about pregnancy, she stands when called. Hours later returning empty.

6 Word Version
Friends Laugh. Baby dies. All’s quiet.

4 replies:

  1. Connie said...
  2. Wow, powerful subject and you did very well with the shorter vs .

  3. Jeannie said...
  4. Thanks Connie. That was an interesting day. I'm glad it could translated in the shorter versions.

  5. coffeelvnmom said...
  6. That makes me think of queries- it's kind of the same thing because you have to condense a HUGE amount of writing into a couple of paragraphs! Good exercise!

  7. Jeannie said...
  8. @coffeelvnmom Seriously, queries are so crazy. Though If you have the 30 second pitch in your head usually it will come out on paper quite nicely.

    Example: Current novel 30 sec pitch is as follows.

    Humanity is coming to grips with the fact that they are no longer the dominant species. Two characters unwittingly travel the same path. One wants to be human and the other wants to find her friend's killer, both unraveling the true meaning of humanity through their journey.

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