Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three Sketches of Failure

I meant to enter the Creative Loafing Fiction Contest, I really did. I entered last year, with a nice but flawed story -- if you're limited to 3,000 words, don't spend half the story establishing the personalities of about eight different characters -- and I started off this year like a house on fire, then ended like ... a house not on fire. I got halfway through one story before realizing that I had no idea where it was going, started a second, realized I had even less plan for it, went back for the first. And as yesterday's deadline approached, I finally accepted that it wasn't going to happen, and packed it in and had a beer.

I don't usually post any of my fictional efforts here, and I'm not going to make it a habit -- I'm rather reserved about it -- but it might be interesting to post three lead paragraphs. There's also a chance it won't be interesting. The first two are different takes on the first story, the third is the second story.

It was his misfortune that the tire blew out on a Saturday night. Jesus didn’t want people changing tires on a Sunday, so he’d now spent two unscheduled nights in this little town. Robin had toyed with the idea of sleeping in the old Econoline – money was tight and getting tighter – but the winds started coming down off the mountain slopes, the clouds started massing and he’d checked into the motel just off the exit ramp.

It’s hard to feel good about being the first in line when the bar opens, especially when that bar opens at 11:30 in the morning, but as far as Robin could tell there wasn’t much else to do in this town, and the snow was coming down again. The bar would presumably be warm, presumably had food, and once inside, it would be churlish to say no to a beer or two.

He thought frequently about the fact that he might die here. Go on to whatever came next under this vast colorless loveless sky, far from anything he knew or loved – a forgotten grave, if he was lucky and his fellows made the effort to chip through the tundra. Charlie had been here 36 days – he had marked each one painstakingly by his bunk. It felt like 36 years.

4 comments:

Cranky said...

Keep going. Keep going.

Nanuk of the North said...

I second that. Keep going.

gsdgsd13 said...

Oh, I do plan to soldier onward -- with the third, at least. The first two were takes on a story being specifically written for this contest -- I don't think it has much future. But, rest assured, i'm writing and will keep it up.

Cranky said...

I dunno. I like the second one. Perhaps it is because I enjoy the word, "churlish" (trying to up your blog level to college, aren't you?).