By: Slug Latimer
My goal is to write a short story, start to finish, today, right now. I see it, taste it, smell it, hear it, can almost touch it! It’s my first one, but it’ll be a killer! After devoting two solid hours of research and study yesterday, I deserve it.
At hand are my “writer’s necessaries”: green-maroon-gray argyles footed into unraveling moccasins, lucky gray, classically coffee-stained, sagging sweat pants. Lensless horn-rimmed glasses perch on forehead ready to gaze at the old oak tree where the bluebird sings. At arm’s length, a 1948 dog-eared edition of “26 Hot Licks For Budding Short Story Writers”, directly from the Monkey Wards mail-order catalog of that era. And, a brand-new replacement ribbon for the typewriter.
An unmistakable go signal of tremors excites both of my typist forefingers, effortlessly spawned by overdoses of day-old “Fishin’ In The Dark,” coal-colored, campfire coffee (ah, the aroma!).
Finally, for the indefinite future, mental abandonment of all domestic responsibilities. Sock drawer is orderly… reds/red, blues/blue, puces/puce – salt and pepper shakers are full, telephone unplugged! No schedule for eating, showering, changing clothes, all timepiece’s removed. An exception made for mouthwash – just something about that.
Inspiration came from two short stories entitled, “Green Slivers In The Sands Of Love” and “Strawberry Sprite Murders”, both bottom shelf bargains from the used bookstore. They’re so well-crafted I’ll use them for reference. The tales prove short story writing and publication is simple, quick, and successful. Won’t be a challenge for me!
Okay, ready to write my blockbuster short story – bang it out in less than twenty-four hours! Tally ho! Bravo!
Poised to type. Poised. Title… now? It should read… Hmmm. I’ll skip to the first word. It is… Hmmm.
Uhhh, pause. Mission delayed while I ponder. Some non-essential aspects about short story writing aren’t clear in “26 Hot Licks” nor the short stories. Minor hiccups, I’m sure. Fortunately, the story remains in my head. With some guidance, I plan to work it all out “up there” before it’s committed to paper.
My momentary confusion includes: characters, point-of-view, timeline, plot, – the little stuff.
Characters: Currently, all twenty-eight characters fit, but only three of the bald women and a one-eared man seems memorable, nine others are not yet born, and of the fourteen heroes/heroines only one doesn’t have a car financed. Three have mustaches, sex not yet determined, so clothing is an issue. A few things here need sorting.
The point of view: sixteen points of view – must select one, four, or more! Point of view phrase is misleading – try it… point, then follow that line of sight to the view. Hah! I’ve had no success experimenting with that logic! Now we’re talking serious bafflement, which is several miles beyond confused!
Timeline: timely alignment of centuries, era’s, years, months, dates, days, hours, and minutes seems grossly tedious, complicated. Confusion rampant here, but, it’s only grade school numbers 0-9, must be workable.
Plot: nine ideas to coalesce. But, yeah… I have parts of that done – the hyena and 1927 Buick, the 400-grit sandpaper, ballet slippers, and toxic waste. Superior dynamics of remaining five ideas will suck them in somewhere, sometime, but the fuzzy edges are disorienting.
I’ve yet to mention a final puzzler: the first word of a story, the start – the “begins here” keyword. It must be compelling (so they say), crowd the starting gate, cock the gun naked, spittle the lips, bleed. Easy to say, but difficult to intuit! Given time (some other time) I could, would, should, will, discover a firecracker whiz-banker first word! Considered: “Splat”, “Eek”, “Buttonless” or, “Pffft”!
To clear the smoke, I’ll commit to additional study for a couple of hours. Following that, I’ll forge a juggernaut short story written like this: who, what, why, where, and when. The End. Yeah!
Meanwhile, a diversion from writing seems wise, something that won’t produce a headache. Good thing I can still play the piano, I’ll work up a boogie-woogie arrangement for “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.
Bio: Slug Latimer
My bride and I are both Colorado natives, married since 1965. We are blessed with two lovely daughters. I retired from railroading in the Rocky Mountains after thirty-six years, but also had numerous short-term job experiences since 1963.
Creative since childhood, I’ve explored a variety of artistic avenues, however, playing piano and guitar has been constant. Now, after a continuous round of pleasure for seventy-five years, I find satisfaction with writing. Silly, off the wall humor that elicits laughter is easy writing for me at the moment, but I do have some “heavies’ simmering over the campfire.
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