It occurred to me that although I keep wittering on about my writing, you’ve never actually read anything that I’ve written.
So here’s a short 500 word story I sent in for the competition.
I hope you like it, it’s called… Motherly love.
The baby’s crying reached through the walls and pulled her out of their room and into the upstairs landing. She stood outside of the nursery not daring to go in, not daring to look.
Would it ever end she asked herself over and over again? Would this nightly torment ever let up?
No, it wouldn’t she knew, for this was her penance, her own private hell for taking a life, for committing the mortal sin of murder.
A tear welled up for all she had lost, how could she have been so stupid?
Would it really have been so bad to be a mother?
She pressed her hands over her ears in an attempt to block the sound out but she could still hear it, still hear the heart wrenching sound of her baby demanding attention; attention she would never be able to give.
In their bedroom her husband slumbered on, sleeping the sleep of the innocent.
She resented the easiness with which he coped with all that had happened but what had she expected? Men are like that. It had been her decision and hers alone. She hadn’t spoken with him about it because she knew he would never understand. Men never do, how can they? They go to work, come home and expect everything to be done for them.
A housewife is on the go from dawn to dusk and when, God forbid, a child comes along then she’s looking after two people, or maybe three or more. Men just don’t see it that way, they want a family, they want to play daddy but it’s the women who carry the burden, not the bloody men.
At the time she had thought she would never cope, that it would just be too much for her to bear. The decision hadn’t been easy but she didn’t see another way out. But now, after the deed had been done, she felt different.
The baby’s cries grew louder, echoing around her head and she closed her eyes in guilt ridden grief and self loathing. Why did she do this to herself every night, why?
The moon shone bright through the window, illuminating her hand hovering over the handle but she didn’t dare touch it. She would never go in, she knew that; but every night she stood outside the door and listened to her lost baby crying, weeping for what might have been.
They could have been a family, they could have been three, but not anymore; she had seen to that.
The bawling grew hysterical, it always did but still she didn’t move; defying her curiosity to go in, though it hurt like hell to do so.
Suddenly the door to their bedroom banged open and Mark walked out, half asleep and mumbling.
She stepped back to let him pass. She was invisible to him at this hour; in the day he sometimes talked to her, or to himself, but mostly he ignored her.
In the cold, silent moonlit corridor she watched mutely as he opened the nursery door.
She knew it would be best to go now but she couldn’t move. She watched as he bent down and picked up the screaming bundle, cooing softly to it.
“There now Sarah, there now,” he hushed into her ear. “I know, I know you want your mummy but she’s in heaven now, she left us to be with Grandma and now it’s only you and me.”
She turned and left, as she always did when he started to cry.
Very good Reg, very good indeed! :)
Thanks for sharing.
Although, if I'm completely honest, I thought the last sentence felt a bit unnecessary. Or, if you need one last sentence, that specific one seemed a bit weak, compared to the whole.
But I really enjoyed everything else a lot. And I didn't know a scene could pose as a short story. But I don't know much about short stories yet,I'm more into novels at the time.. so never mind me.
Honesty is good V.
Your point on the last sentence is valid and I want to explain it.
Mark, the bloke in the story, came across as being a bit cold and arrogant so instead of going into detail about his relationship with her etc, I used that line to humanise him a bit.
As to the lengh of a short story...
I do not consider myself pedantic but to quote Duotrope'S Digest:
Flash (< 1K)
Short Story (1-7.5K)
Novel (> 40K)
So now you know V. and so does anyone else who reads this.
Personally I'm not one for pigeon holing stuff but some people are so I just go with the flow...
Humm... I understand your point of view about the male character.
About it being a scene and not a short story I said it because I'm used to reading on manuals about creative writing that a short story should have a beginning, middle and end.
A scene is something that happens on a specific time and place. Whenever you change time and/or place, you have a different scene.
As in your text here, where place and time never change.
But than again, I didn't know a scene, a brief moment in time, could be send out as short stories. Interesting to know that, thanks.
Every day's a school day. :-)
I never knew that about scenes and stories, cheers.
That said, I don't know much about the intricacies and rules of writing labels full stop. I slap it down and let other people decide for me.
I would imagine it would be pretty hard to write a "proper" short story, as in the definition of what you learned on your course, with only a word count of 5oo or so words.
Now there's a challenge Reggie boy... :-)
LOL... It's very nice to talk with you, because I can see that we are very honest and open, and still respect each other.
Scenes come to me much more easily than anything else. That said, I believe what works commercially depends exclusively on what the publisher wants! And this is being realistic! So it's great for me if for some magazines a brief moment in time and place is enough. I can certainly do a lot of that! :)
About your 500-word story, I really do think it's great and could lead to a short story or remain as it is if the buyer sees it as a short story already.
I guess that's why it's better to read what each specific publisher has published so far and send texts similar to that format. They can then call it whatever the hell they want to :P
When I finish my novel, my plan is to send it out (non-stop) and start working on short stories, to gain commercial experience and CV. I will adapt whatever I have to each specific market and send it out.
Don't mind me, I'm just an enthusiast about knowledge, and sharing it. I only knew we have a different scene each when time or/and place changes, last week!
The same time I learned, for example, that your first opening sentence it's called Transition. It's on the bedroom (different place) but doesn't qualify for a scene.
But I imagine that out there, there are no set-in-stone rules. Each maniac 'knows best' :P
I'm just a blah blah blah woman ;)
PS: if I was to transform your text into a short story I would make it bigger, and consider what you have has just a draft.
Was the rules for that contest only-500-words? See? There's a new definition of short story.
Personal differences are the flavours that make up the soup of life V. Life's too short to take things personally so I try to learn from them; as you obviously do too.
Actually I had 715 words to play with, (it's an odd number, isn't it?)
Anyway, because the impact of the piece relies on the fact that the reader isn't allowed to know what the narrator is, I obviously didn't want to give too much away.
I needed to stay away from her story, his story and their situation, and yet dance around it all. So I settled with giving up the 200 words and leaving it at that. To be honest, although I love writing I don't actually have much time for it. So if something works, I tend to leave it, lol.
BTW, I'm a Blah blah bloke, ask Tee, she'll tell yer, lol.
As for being a Blah blah woman,
I better stop commenting on this post now or I'll send all your friends away with my freakishness. lol
See ya Reg,
Yep ... he's definitely a blah blah bloke V.
Sometimes I think:
When I grow up... let me update that!
When I mature (!) I want to talk much less and listen much more ;)
Kisses from Ireland, Tee.