Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Writing with Energy

Since I just sent my blog link to my professor, I will start by saying how much I really really really enjoy my creative writing class. Notice I said this with a straight face and without a hint of sarcasm. If you know me personally, you'll realize what an accomplishment that was.

Seriously, it is a fun class. I'm learning a lot. The textbook is really interesting to read.  It is also fascinating to sit and listen to other people talk about what you have written. It was hard not to say anything. Not because I disagreed with what they were saying, but rather, I wanted to join into fun of the discussion. As a novice writer, this kind of feedback is really helpful.

Anyway, one of the assignments we had was to write a 250 word short story that involved a minimum of two characters in a conflict situation. So here is the story. I've removed the last sentence as per a suggestion from my professor...I'll tell you what it is afterwards so you can see what I mean. The only "negative" comment was that the way I ended the story meant that there was no more. I admit, it was a fairly final ending. Mostly, I was trying to hit the 250 word mark and I'll be honest, I like an ending that hits "below the belt". Happy endings are easy, endings that leave you going "ouch" are harder.

The Stairwell

Sam pulled on Gary's arm, "Come on Gary. The stairs are this way." Gary mumbled a response as he staggered after his friend, his hand pressed to the wound on his head.

Sam gingerly picked his way through the debris field that used to be their office. He could see shapes moving in the flickering gloom. Voices calling out to each other as the survivors searched for friends and coworkers. Sam tried to not look down at the still forms trapped in the rubble. He wanted to stop and help, but he could feel the floor shifting as the remaining supports groaned under the extra weight. There wasn’t enough time.  They had to reach the stairwell. The stairwell was their salvation.

Gary tripped and went down. It wasn’t the first time. Sam struggled to help his friend stand. "Should have cut down on the burritos, Gary," Sam said lamely. Gary said nothing, just leaned against him, panting, eyes unfocused. "Seriously, Alice will kill me if I don't get you out of this. Just a few more steps and we'll be home free."

The shriek of tortured metal filled the air and the floor tilted alarmingly. Survivors screamed in panic as they lost their footing. Voices were cut off abruptly as heavy office furniture shifted. Sam staggered the last few steps and wrenched the door open.

Originally, the very last sentence was "His shout of triumph consumed by the raging fires below." I'll admit, that is a really harsh ending. I wasn't writing it to be anything longer. However, after listening to the discussion of my classmates, I might have to leave out that very depressing ending. That way, I can possibly expand on this story as the semester progresses. We'll see.

Till next time.

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