Tuesday, 6 February 2018

It is our Writers' Group in the morning (weather permitting as it is snowing at present) and the theme is 'A Reunion'.     The maximum words (we are a large group) is 250.   It is very hard to keep to that number.   I wrote a piece and found it had
600 words in it, so I spent a couple of hours last evening reducing it to 300.   Writers of regular columns in our dailies must have this problem every day but I found it  very difficult and had to cut out so much.   But when I finished I realised that what I had left out was probably best left to the readers to put in as they read it.  So it is short.  What do you think?

The affair had not been a long one.   He had said his wife didn't understand his needs, her marriage had always been underwhelming.   She had bought sexy clothes, his favourite perfume, and twice a week they had met - out of town - and conducted a passionate and clandestine affair.   It had ended when he was posted to the other side of the country and had left with his wife and children.   Her marriage had ended a year later as she had known it would.   She had not married again.

Her career had progressed and she had an enviable life style.   Now in her fifties she was contemplating early retirement and a chance to fulfil her dream of going round the world.

Suddenly she heard from  him again.   He was a widower, did she wish to pick up the relationship?
Thrown by the suggestion, undecided,  she agreed to meet and as the days went on she had become more and more excited at the prospect, remembering those afternoons together.   She had replenished her wardrobe, bought his favourite perfume, changed her hairstyle (everyone said how young it made her look!)

Stepping off the train and walking to a seat she saw she was a few minutes early.   Under the station clock they were to meet - as they always did. 

He walked across the forecourt.   She watched him.   He hadn't bothered to change; scruffy clothes, unpolished shoes, hair needing cutting, shaggy, untrimmed beard - he no longer had much hair on his head.   To sum up in one word - dirty.

She crossed the bridge to the opposite platform without approaching him and saw she had half an hour to wait before the train home.   There was half an hour in which to go into the Travel Agents and find a Cruise around the World.

Incidentally I have been watching for the number to appear and now I have missed the 3000.   So today is post number 3010 in the years I have been posting.



28 comments:

Gwil W said...

Sounds like she made the right decision.

Now you've got me thinking with your number 3,000. But no I'm not going to look!

:-)

Gail, northern California said...

Your story reminded me of a comment made by my daughter-in-law's delightful mother. A widow, she laughed after years of casual dating and friendships, saying, "They're looking for a nurse and a purse."

Carol said...

I think you caught the meat of a story very nicely. Your snippet leaves much to the reader's imagination, which is a pleasant challenge, while illustrating some of life's truths clearly. Well done.

Penhill said...

you have obviously spotted my husband walking around Leyburn :)

angryparsnip said...

What an interesting story but so true and many ways.

cheers, parsnip and mandibles

Camille said...

Well done, I very much enjoyed your short story. And congratulations on 3010!

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm with Gail. I've met few single men who weren't wanting someone to take care of them. But, those who didn't were worth knowing.

Rachel Phillips said...

You have fulfilled the brief nicely. Two characters, enough information for the reader to understand what's going on and yet still leaving something to the reader's imagination, and a build up to the end of some excitement as to what happens when the reunion comes.

Mrs said...

Ooh I love it! I want it to carry on now though - I need to know what she gets up to☺

Librarian said...

3,010 - wow, congratulations!
And congratulations on having managed to put what could be a long story into some short paragraphs. As creating documents is my daily bread, I know exactly how difficult it can be to distill the important stuff into as few words as possible.

Polly said...

I really enjoyed your short story.

Mac n' Janet said...

Good one Weaver.

Derek Faulkner said...

Short, sharp and interesting Pat - imagination or past experience.

the veg artist said...

Oh, but seeing how they've gone to seed, when all the time, in our heads, they've still been the promising young men we knew! Many of us know that feeling!

Hilary said...

Dirty......loved it.

John Gray said...

Loved it too

Cro Magnon said...

The gal did good! She should have left him there even if he had scrubbed up a bit.

Barbara Womack said...

Loved your very short story. I like the idea of pared down writing. (can't seem to master it myself)
And, 3010 posts...you are an inspiration!

thelma said...

Gosh I remember so many exercises in precis. You did well there A+ ;)

Heather said...

I really enjoyed your 'Reunion' piece and know it will be well received when you read it to your friends. Bitter sweet ending, but she made the right decision!
Congratulations on breaking the 3000 barrier for posts. I probably haven't reached 300 yet.
Hope the snow doesn't become a problem. Our forecasters down here like to panic us a bit with warnings of 'Arctic' conditions. I have stocked up well, just in case, but that usually means I needn't have bothered. We'll see.

Minigranny said...

I enjoyed reading that and would have liked to see the first version! Hope you don't get too much snow.

liparifam said...

I loved it! I've been an avid reader (several hundred books a year) since I was a child, and I think you have a real talent! Here's one little idea that would have cut your word count just a bit - I would have left off that sentence "To sum it up in one word - dirty". I think your previous description of him said all that was needed to be said... Just my opinion!

Countryside Tales said...

That's a good bit of writing you've got there, Weave. A good way to practice meeting word counts is to write something about a page long, then write it again fitting it into half a page, then boil it down again to a paragraph. It makes you think about the really important bits in what you want to say. I used to use it with my first year degree students who were all a bit shocked having word counts!

Marie said...

Oh, please let us know when you write your first novel, loved this. I think it's in line with Nicholas Sparks!!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Now, now Derek!
Interestingly though, this morning at Writers' no-one else had stuck to the 250 word brief - most were five to six hundred words long -I was pleased I had cut out so much - it makes it so much more of an exercise.
Thanks for the variousbits of advice.

dixie heath said...

I would love to hear the rest of the story..you need to finish writing the book.

Jacqui Fenner-Dixon said...

I enjoyed your story very much, but agree with Liparifam that the sentence ending in 'dirty' is superfluous. Would love to read more.

Alphie Soup said...

Very difficult sometimes, to keep to a small number of words. It needs real application and an ability to get the kernel of the story across. I liked you story.

Alphie