Finished! (Ok, maybe not)

It took two weeks – an hour here, a few minutes there, a heroic amount of self-control and restraint, but I finally completed an entire story. My first full story in 40 years.

Wow, does it suck.

In housing terms, it’s a fixer-upper. I smartly limited myself to a 1,000-word piece of flash fiction (learning to crawl before I walk), but I expected something… better. There’s a good story in there somewhere. It just needs some TLC, elbow grease and a few other clichés.

I had hoped to post it for public comment this weekend, but obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. But here’s the first bit – how it’s going to look a week from now I have no clue:

Ten past midnight. Just past the Mojave, heading east. I don’t dare close my eyes – my stop comes up in less than an hour, and if I miss it, doubling back is not an option. With no money, no cards, no phone, there’s no second chance.

I lay my cheek against the frosty Greyhound window to keep myself awake, while I imagine the awkward family reunion which lay ahead.

The prodigal son on his way home.

My cheek becoming numb against the glass, I scan the bus, looking for anything interesting. Most of the other passengers, who look as desperate as I am, are asleep. The rest keep to themselves, staring out into the desert, or looking down towards their lap – anything from making eye contact.

The bus driver, a thin, middle-aged man, is intensely focused on the road. Just behind him is a young mother, a dirty blond barely out of her teens. A toddler sleeps beside her, his head on her lap.

Across from me a wiry, disheveled guy sits straight up, agitated. He stares out his window, his eyes darting back and forth as he searches the landscape. Catching my reflection, he turns around and looks back at me.

“How far to Kingston,” he asks, not bothering to keep his voice down.

“Not sure. Ninety minutes, maybe a couple of hours.”

“Shit.” He turns back towards the window.


About daveallen

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5 Responses to Finished! (Ok, maybe not)

  1. k.delaine says:

    I struggle with believing my work is crap, but I like it. Sometimes I cannot sleep until I put the words on paper because they just swirl around in my head taunting me until I do. What I’ve learned is that you cannot keep looking for the finished result in the beginning. Let your hand go. Write whatever is vivid in your mind, you’ll be surprised. It doesn’t matter how long you write, just write. You’ll feel so free and happy just from that. Don’t worry, write. 🙂 I liked it by the way! It’ll be just fine.


    • daveallen says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m finding that writing is easy. Rewriting, not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • k.delaine says:

        I usually write in a composition book then type the story over. While I’m typing I edit THE STORY (I don’t formally edit really I just want the story down) to make it flow better. It’s so much easier to print it out edit then pull the save file up and edit it from the printout. Rewriting for me is flow. But I understand-I rewrote parts of when walls talk yesterday!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. daveallen says:

    My problem is I didn’t plan ahead. I typed stream-of-consciousness style, without an outline. I’m starting cold here, without an MFA, or even a creative-writing class. I do have a slew of writing books I’m forging through, trying to learn some of the basics. Right now, I’m going to go back and create an outline, to give this thing a solid framework. Hopefully, that will help.


  3. ellenbest24 says:

    This year I tried not planning. Scary, but I wrote 52000 words straight. I poured it out, I closed my eyes and felt them. I was on the page, in that room, describing what my character felt. It taught me that if we over plan, we can lose the part that is specifically us; our voice. I am trying to learn how to edit, and yes rewriting is tough . But that is what makes us better. Your story is good, well worth reading and I am pleased I read it. W.C. which I have been with since September has been good for challenging me. Three weeks ago I upgraded and it has been worth while, hard but honest feedback and good motivation. I wish you every success.


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