Slice of Life: A Story, Nearly Done

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

Back in December, I was struck so hard and so suddenly by an idea for a short story that I remember I literally leaped out of bed, sat down at the keyboard and started writing it for an hour. The narrative just untangled its way out of me. I could see the whole story clearly — the premise, the characters, the flow of it.

It was right around the same time that I saw a notice in our local newspaper that it was relaunching a popular Short Story Contest again after pulling the plug on it a number of years ago. I once got an honorable mention in that short story contest, which gave me about three seconds of fame among my friends in this literary city where I live.

The story that sparked me in December, I decided, is one I will submit to the contest, with the deadline looming in the coming days. Since that initial burst, I have been weaving my way back into the text, making revisions and tightening the story, expanding the characters. I’ve shared multiple drafts in a writing community that I am part of (called Yap.Net, which is a free but closed online space for writers and media makers sharing draft work), and have been helped in many ways by insightful readers in there.

Last night, I left the story for my wife to read. She’s a writer and teacher, too. She was asleep when I got home from band practice last night, but I see some of her notes in purple ink on the print-out of the story, including a helpful insight that I had missed about flowers and seasons and number of petals.

It’s interesting to be close to the end of a story, to know that soon, I need to call this revision cycle quits and be satisfied. To be honest, this revision process on this piece has been longer than I normally would have done for any of my writing, which I so often do in quick bursts. I’m proud of this story, even if it’s not a winner, and thankful for those who have helped make it better in the last few months.

Peace (writing it),

  1. You’ll have to keep us posted on how it goes. I liked reading about your process…something we’ve been studying as a school this year.

  2. How exciting that the contest has been re-opened and that you have something to submit! (I adore the fact that you’re wife is critiquing with purple, not red, pen!)

  3. This is the goal of our Slicing community, isn’t it? To realize that we are writers, so we can pass that along to our students. How exciting that your Muse visited with such vision and clarity! Thanks for sharing your writing process with us; best of luck in the contest!

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