Tag Archives: fiction

100 Words A Day and Beyond: Re-Draft

At long last I have finally finished re-reading my story that I wrote 100 words a day of for a year. As I went along I covered it in notes because, given the way in which I wrote it, there was a lot that needed changing. Now that I have finished re-reading and re-evaluating the story I can see there is still a lot more to do. What I found is that I have tent poles of a story, some bits are already standing and connected, other bits need to be made to fit together with the rest. But mainly I need to flesh it out. The basic plot points will (he said tentatively) stay the same, I have a beginning, middle, and end, and various pieces in between. The details though are very much up for change.

When I first wrote this story I had no idea if I would even make it to the end, or if I did how I would get there. I forced myself every day to write 100 words and try to make sure they carried on from the previous day, and would in turn carry on to the next day.

Now I know where everything is going I can re-draft this story with far more focus and continuity. For instance, the image I had of the central character “the Man” changed very much from the start to the end of my year of writing this story so I am going to re-write him with this in mind. I am now also free of my limit of 100 words a day and so can more fully explore and develop other characters and the voice of the narrator. It means a lot of work, but also a lot of freedom and opportunity. It’s exciting. I go into this re-draft with a rough guide but also the ability to change what I want.

If you want to see what this story was originally you can read it here https://storiesbyadam.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/100-words-a-day/

What follows below is the redraft of the opening.

Thunder illuminated the great plains, and mountains that seemed to be their only boundary that towered before the Man. In the momentary light he saw a village straight ahead, huddled at the feet of the mountains. “So that is where I am headed,” the Man thought to himself.

   Purpose always drew him onwards. It guided him without ever telling the Man what would come next. That did not matter. Something always came next, it was the nature of the universe. Now “next” was the village and more importantly, the villagers. He wondered. The village was the first sign of life he had seen in days. Perhaps that was why he had felt the need to walk all the way: it impressed upon him the isolation of the villagers. Why, they might not have even heard the rumours of him, might even greet him warmly as a traveller with news of the wider world. The Man laughed. His experience had taught him better than that. More likely they would have heard a tale or two of him over the years and stretched it into a terrifying legend. No matter, everywhere he went it was the same, and he was sure it would be no different here.

   He completed the remaining miles in five steps. There was no use wasting any more time now that he knew where he was headed. The Man entered the village. Without seeing or hearing another soul he felt unwelcome. Lightless windows looked down upon him coldly. Doors remained steadfastly shut. Somewhere a wooden gate was slammed by the wind, creating a sound that feebly competed with the thunder that lit up this part of the universe once more. The Man stood in the centre of the village with his long leather coat blown behind him by the wind and waited for what was next.

   To his left a light came on and he turned his head to see an old man standing with a lantern at an open door. The old man’s eyes were wide. Along with his awestruck expression he wore a worn night gown. The two stood looking at each other for a moment, one bent and light, the other tall and dark. The old man beckoned the Man to come into his shack eagerly, and the Man acquiesced without pause that belied his surprise at the welcome.

   The Man filled the doorway for a moment before entering. He looked around at a scene of poverty and peacefulness. A single room unadorned by anything that was not necessary: a chair and a table, both wooden of course; on the table was a pewter jug and plate; a straw covered bed was in the corner; various tools hung on the walls. The old man himself was bunched down by a fireplace made of stacked slate, trying nervously to get a fire going as he kept furtively glancing back at the Man. Everything he saw as he surveyed the room appeared worn and used, functional. He thought coldly “every sign of being existed in none, of being lived in.”

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You Did It

“You did it!” they all said.

“No, I didn’t!” was his defiant reply. It was malicious fantasy, designed to destroy him entirely.

But still they kept saying “you did it”.

It did not matter what he said. It did not matter when he demonstrated there was no evidence that he had done it, or when he showed evidence that it was not him who had done it. Still the world kept saying back to him: “you did it.”

He sought consolation from friends and family. “I don’t think you did it” was always their reply, with eyes that failed to meet his. Slowly he was abandoned. Isolated.

Soon he became a prisoner without a trial having ever happened. When he decided to venture from his prison everyone that saw him would stop, point, and say “you did it!”

But he hadn’t done it! He was sure of that, wasn’t he? Desperately, he clung to his innocence like a drowning man clutching at anything he could find. But just as a drowning man’s hand slips away from safety, so too did his innocence seem to disappear. The world said yes, and he kept saying no, quieter and quieter until yes was all he heard. Was that his own voice saying yes with the crowd?

Finally, the real trial did happen. “Did you, do it?” asked the judge.

“Yes, he did!” cried the world.

And he cried too, for he had forgotten the word “no”.

“Yes, I did” was his reply.

Waiting For The Crush

The planet was definitely getting bigger. Slowly, imperceptibly to the naked eye, it was growing. Yesterday it had not been there, and this morning it had only been a small speck. Now it loomed larger than a full moon.

   In the distance, though not all that far away could be heard the sounds of glass breaking, laughter, screams. As the planet got larger society cracked a little more. Josh did not care for that. He’d left the TV behind and been sat gazing at the impending doom for about an hour.

   It was brown, and mottled with various craters. In the top right there was a smudge that could have been a hand waving a sick greeting. Of course, everyone knew what it looked like. The pictures had been all over every channel with the man from NASA crying next to them. But it was better to see it like this. It was real. Seeing it on a screen fictionalised it and made it seem like all the other nonsense. The scientists had seen it on screens and paid it no attention. Now nobody could ignore it.

   There was an almighty crash which dragged Josh’s eyes away from the planet. He frowned. It was amazing how fast everything was breaking down, as if they were all racing the planet to complete Earth’s destruction. It would almost be worth it if the planet somehow missed Earth just to see what would happen, how they would continue, if they could continue. There was another puff of smoke out on the horizon.

   It was definitely getting bigger. He had only taken his eyes off of it for a few moments but he could tell. It was almost rudely big now like a nosey neighbour leaning over a garden fence. It would be an incredible sight before the end, filling the sky. Josh wondered if there would be anyone left to see that. He would of course be dead before then, he had no intention of waiting for the big crush. But for now, he was content to watch, just for a little while longer.

The Life and Times of Donald Trump’s Bowel Movement

I started out life as a burger. He ate me with a knife and fork. God damn it. I don’t deserve this.

I began to make my descent into the gloom, twisting and writhing my way through hateful, vapid passages. How many burgers do Americans eat every year? I could have lived a normal life but instead I’m doomed to passed through this torturous wreck. Sure, many will suffer a lot more, many of them because of this obscenity I am a part of. But still, this feels like a very unique hell.

Eventually I found myself at long last being digested. This horrible journey would shortly be at an end. I tried to remain as whole as I could, begrudging every morsel that would be used to fuel him. During my journey, I had heard much from him, and well, let’s just say it takes a piece of shit to know a piece of shit.

Let me tell you, my people are surprisingly proud. We understand what society thinks of us. But we know we are a necessary part of the world. That being said as I made my way towards leaving my host I felt every bit as disgusting as society thought me.

I am very close to the exit. I am beginning to see glimpses of light. Finally, this is going to be over. Hopefully I’ll find a way to move on. Hang on. I recognise this place. I’ve been here before. Oh, for god sake I’m coming out completely the wrong way!

Tracks

The old man had watched eagerly as the tracks came closer and closer to his village. Many of his friends were far more pessimistic about their imminent arrival. “They’ll just bring criminals and city people. They’ll destroy our land,” was a common reason they gave. But the old man did not believe that, and besides, he was far more concerned with where those tracks could take him.

Finally, the tracks came through the village and they kept going on further. Soon after the trains came. The old man met many strange and wonderful people. They told him tales of the city and even other countries. They brought with them contraptions that astounded him. One man showed him one that he claimed could capture images. The old man could not believe it until he was shown a picture of the great river that flowed through the city with hazy buildings along its banks.

The old man had to wait a while before he could afford to pay for a ticket but at long last he had saved enough money and he immediately was on his way. His mind still could not comprehend the machinery that could move such huge objects as the trains carriages with apparent ease so fast. But that did not matter as his body could experience it and find it exhilarating.

In what seemed like an incredibly short period of time the tracks brought him into the great city. It dwarfed him and made him feel very small, but it swelled his heart to see such great wonders. His favourite sight was at the station where he saw there were dozens of other tracks which headed in all different directions. The old man was excited that he would have to buy many more tickets still.

And The Rain Came Tumbling Down

The rain was still tumbling down. Having been cooped up for so long, and with so little else of note occurring naturally the conversation turned to other torrential rainstorms.

“I think the worse I ever saw was that storm two years ago. Nearly washed the shed at the end of the garden away,” one said.

“Never! What about the one six years ago. The whole street was flooded for days,” another replied.

“You’re both wrong. I remember as a child storms that lasted weeks,” piped up an old man.

They were all in agreement though as they watched the water rise up passed the window, hundreds of feet above the city: this was by far the worst storm any of them had ever seen.

The Rolling Waves

The pilot did not even have to land on the planet it transpired. Well, more accurately, he couldn’t. He circled the planet watching as waves rolled from pole to pole. There was no sign of the fifty thousand people who had recently settled there.

He could only imagine the terror of the settlers as waves crashed upon them from all sides. It must have happened incredibly fast. They had had spacecraft. The last contact with them had been three weeks ago and they had made no report to suggest anything would go so wrong. All the best planetary monitoring equipment had been at their disposal. Had the equipment failed, or did they miss something? Or had the event been so cataclysmic and sudden to evade detection? That was not for the pilot to say. All he had to now was report that there were no survivors on the colony.

That made three in a row. He looked grimly at the list of seven more colonies and tried not to remember that those names represented over a million human lives, and hoped to god that the pattern would break.

Space was turning out to be a very bad idea indeed.