Just for the heck of it, I’m dropping a flash from my past.
Below is the beginning of a short story that I wrote in college. It’s nothing too exciting—just plain-old fiction—but it was a necessary scene for me to write at the time. Back then, I desperately needed practice writing the everyday scenes. I was fully aware of that weakness, so I brought it into workshop, exposing it bare-naked. It’s all about experience. Naked experience. Bare. Yeah.
I enjoy facing my past writing like this because it proves, with my eyes, the distance my skill has traveled. It’s a difference that really only becomes noticeable after so many drafts and hundreds of thousands of words. If you want, you can let me know what you think of my tidbit as well.
Things I like about it:
– the pacing is consistent with the narrator’s thoughts
– the tone parallels what the narrator notices in the setting
– the images of time passing, mainly the ice in his drink as a placeholder. (My professor liked that, too.)
Things I don’t like, looking back:
– Even at the time that I wrote it, I wasn’t crazy about where the story went after this intro. I’m even less enthusiastic now…thus why I’m not posting the full shebang.
– My word choice isn’t too exotic. The diction is straightforward. Probably should have put a little more effort there.
– The intro paragraph is a bit confusing, and I don’t know what I was getting at. I think I was trying to sound smart. It didn’t work—I’d like to admit the following into evidence.
PDF Link: Scene – A Different Wind
Is it a perfect intro scene? Clearly not. There’s not much of a hook for younger audiences, and not enough literary value for the more critical side of the writing community. Those were still the early days of trying to gain traction in my story-crafting confidence.
I still remember a lot of the feedback I got from my week in workshop back in 2012—having a critical audience is especially crucial in the early stages. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or not, that’s some pretty rounded advice.
The point is that I was trying, and I wasn’t going to get any better unless I did. I guess it usually comes down to those three letters, regardless of your ambition. Try.
You’ve got to try, people.
Go forth and read, my minions.