Challenge Accepted

I wrote in my last blog that I was participating in the Fourth Writer’s Platform-Building Challenge.   Today @RachelHarrie posted the first challenge.

“Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem.

Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • include the word “orange” in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!”
Being someone who never backs away from a challenge, following is my 200 word entry.
*  *  *

Shadows crept across the wall.  The orange sun set.  She was nervous.  Her fiancé was coming home.  They hadn’t seen each other since entering the Army.  The last time, eighteen months ago, was in Fiji, spent mostly in swimsuits.  She was proud of her looks, which made heads turn.

She drove Army trucks until the IED.  Badly burned, it was a miracle she survived.  Her soft skin was replaced with scar tissue.  What would he think?  She desperately wanted to be held by him.  Would he want to spend their lives together now?  She had written him about her disfiguration, suggesting he reconsider their relationship.

He replied that they would talk when he got home.

His car pulled up.  Looking sad, he walked to the door with a pronounced limp.  She opened it.  He immediately threw his arms around her, kissing her.

“I have something to show you,” he said, revealing titanium leg braces.  “I lost my legs below the knee.  If you want to breakup, I’ll understand.”

“Look at me.  What do you see?”

“I see the woman I want to marry.  And you?”

Crying, she replied, “I see my strong legged fiancé.”

Except for their love, everything faded.

*  *  *

This was a very interesting assignment.  My first draft was 483 words.   I didn’t think there was any way this story could be edited down to 200 words without loosing its essence.  It took me a while, but I did it.  A lot of words can be superfluousness.  Live and learn.

*  *  *

My next blog will have three book reviews and more helpful links.  Happy reading!

Richard Alan


24 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted

  1. […] Challenge Accepted ( […]

  2. Loved the characters and story. You are so right, that a lot can be cut out when we really think about the words and images we are using.

    Great job!

  3. clarbojahn says:

    I may have tweeted your story but forgot to comment. Oops 🙂

    I think it’s wonderful how you created a scene of compassion and reciprocity all in one short flash fiction story. I love it. 🙂

  4. RaeAnn says:

    It’s beautiful. It touched me. My eyes were wet when I finished reading. A wonderful job.

  5. Sara Flower says:

    Excellent! This piece shows such emotion and your writing reveals a lot about the characters, which takes talent in flash fiction.

  6. I really like this story. It reveals human nature. It’s true, we do judge people. LOVE IT!

    Me too on my first draft. It was much longer. Thanks for visiting me.


  7. Ainsley Shay says:

    I truly have tears in my eyes. Great job!

  8. Great story and well written too.

  9. That was nicely done, Richard. The ending really tugged at my heart.

  10. Morgan Shamy says:

    Holy emotion. Talk about fitting a whole story in so few words. Nice work!

  11. Thank you for your comment. Bittersweet is a good word. Sad because they are both permanently injured, but sweet because theirs is a love that transcends the physical. They are true partners who connect on a spiritual level. I look forward to reading your entry. I have not read any of them yet, but plan on reading them all.

  12. Ashley Nixon says:

    Yours is the first I’ve read that very nearly made me cry. Great job.

    • Thank you. That means a lot to me. My goal in writing is to write about relationships and create characters who are real. When people truly love each other they can get through anything. That is what partnership is all about.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I liked your story very much. You incorporated the challenge into your theme seamlessly.
    I appreciate how hard it is to whittle the words down but I think that is the value of these exercises – brevity is golden.

  14. Jessica says:

    Oh my gosh, that’s so sad!! Actually, I guess ‘bittersweet’ is the correct term. I LOVED it. Great job!

    I’m entry #19

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