Saturday, July 15, 2006

Flashing at James

One of the fun things about blogs is that you can pull the most gawdawful puns...
James ran a 55-Friday exercise - do a piece of flash in exactly 55 words.
As is usual, I was stuck in a fifty-four forty or fight mode, ie. either want to write too little or too much.
I write something and when I Polk around submission guidelines, I find it's always too short for a novella and too long for a short story. Need some serious mental readjustment of boundaries here.
However, this time I managed. Here it is, more or less:

He shambled from window to window, peering through the curtains.
They were out there.
Everywhere around him.
The ring of eyes.
Watching, always watching.
Cold, steel eyes. Just like hers.
He circled through the rooms again.
They were getting closer.
He laughed.
He had an eye of his own.
He raised it to his mouth.

Thank you, James. Good discipline.
Now, I think I implied a larger story there. I hope I suggested conflicts and tension. And a back story in three words.
Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to analyze these 55 words - as a carry-on critical exercise. Never mind that that the piece is blah.
Does the syndoche work? Is the resolution too equivocable? Is the scene/state of mind sketched sufficiently? Can you fill in the details? Word choice too general? What bugs you about it?
Mild nausea will not offend, btw.

Preen Alert: Michelle, whose books like Pervalism are published under the name of M.E Ellis, named my blog as one of her Blogs of the Week for the series on character construction.
I am seriously titivated, I don't mind admitting. And when my tech-child is available I will proudly display here the icon of my award.


MissWrite said...

First off: Congratulations on the award. It is well deserved for sure.

Now, on to James. Girl, I don't know exactly why you doubt yourself quite so much. You have such an imagination. And these two lines--He had an eye of his own.
He raised it to his mouth.--Oh my goodness, they KILL. I was laughing and going EWWWWWWW at the same time. If you get something there all the way through, I'm sure it would be a really fun read.

By the way, there are sites that accept short fiction over 5000 words. Hint, hint, hint.

MissWrite said...

Oh, and one more comment. I didn't really see the piece as blah at all (obviously). Through the entire thing I was felt the tension, and your use of 'eyes' made it seem like he was being persued by, I don't know, a SWAT team, a mafia--what would it be, group?--So when you threw in that last zinger, it just exploded with excitment. You threw a heck of a left hook.

Bernita said...

Aww, Tami, thank you - always kind.
Don't intend to go anywhere with this - not my genre. Did it just for James.
Do think the holed-up-domestic incident-crazed character has been done and done again.
Didn't really know if his gun muzzel "eyes" came across at all.

MissWrite said...

LOL, okay, no they didn't. I thought you had developed a decidedly horror twist. The images invoked throughout the first part of the exercise felt like the 'someone's watching me' thing, then the twist at the end was like right out of a horror film, he had an eye of his own (picturing him holding up a raw, naked, bloody eye), and he put it in his mouth... ewwww.

Okay, I see what you were aiming for, I think because it never came across that the 'eyes' were guns the connection at the end that the eye he put in his mouth was a gun. Believe it or not, I'm not a big horror fan, it takes a very particular kind to get me interested. I would have liked your story (in my version. lol)

It did actually surprise me, because the writing I've seen of yours is usually historical (although I admit to being absent a lot, no duh, right? So I could have easily missed something more contemporary.)

I think you should try your hand at something like this though. You might surprise yourself.

Bernita said...

Hmmm, if it worked the way you describe, as real eyes, that's eeewww, but good, is it not?
You're right, I don't do much clear contemporary - ie. contemporary without a paranormal/historical twist or link.
If you are inclined there's a blog search function down my sidebar where you can find the three posts "From the Minor Annals," and the three parts of "The Button Box( which begins at the end of a "Hack Silver" post.)
Don't have the right mind-set for horror, I'm afraid.
Couldn't give it real life.

James Goodman said...

Did it just for James.

*blushes* Thank you, Bernita.

As I said on my post, I think this piece is wonderful.

Re-reading with the intent that they were real eyes, wow that'a s pretty strong horror image too. (I did catch that they were guns the first go around).

Bernita said...

Thank you, James.
Happy you caught my original intent.
On reading it over, wonder if I should have used "He giggled" rather than "He laughed."

Ballpoint Wren said...

"Shambled" got me thinking he was a creature of some sort (a paranoid creature!) so I took his eye as part of a creature-like appendage.

I didn't see it as a gun until I read your response to Miss Write! But then, I love speculative fiction stories.

MissWrite said...

Bernita, please don't have the man giggling. What a sissy. LOL

Bernita said...

That's interesting, Bonnie,that you took it as a paranormal creature- like a yeti in a yurt...

Giggling is sissy, Tami?
Thought it might be more specific, and underline the nut-case persona.
However, if the associations are off, I'll leave 'em laughing when he goes.

James Goodman said...

yes, leave it laughing. If you could add maniacally it would carry off the intended nutcase, but then you would be over the words. :D Yeah, laugh is better.

Bernita said...

OK, James. You're my horror-meister -
"laughed" stays.

kmfrontain said...

You could always, for the sense of a giggle that isn't sissy but still juvenile and evoking mischief, a snigger. Or a snicker.

M.E Ellis said...

Agree with MissWrite.

Don't doubt yourself. You're seriously good.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I are seriously good! Congrats on the award. now you need to learn the princess wave, so you can greet all your adoring subjects....*she waves back* Hi!

Bernita said...

Suppose snigger might work, Karen.
He's either about to kiss the barrel and fire at will or blow his brains out.

Thank you, Michelle, my Bonnie.
Doubt is more productive than conceit.
That will be the day, Bonnie!

Flood said...

Congratulations, Bernita!

jason evans said...

You managed quite a bit in those brief words. Chilling and compelling. Sometimes those word count restraints are a gift. This is a perfect little story.

Bernita said...

Nice of her, wasn't it, Flood?

Thank you, Jason.

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