#fridayfictioneers via rochelle – 12/14

Every Wednesday Rocky Wisoff-Fields posts a picture prompt to challenge writers to create a 100-word story or poem or anything that works for you.  After you post your work on your blog,  you go back to her site and post a link to your blog entry on her Friday Fictioneers post.  Place.  Page.

PLEASE get a good look at the things in the picture before you read the story, or a couple of references might not make sense to you.  Oh, look at me, telling you what to do.  Sorry, sorry everyone.  Got carried away. 

Also – after the story – is a long list of the various versions when I first typed it out.  Each version has some crossouts, things I changed, adjusted, then the next version, and the next.  I tried to change some text colors to make it easier to see where I revised, but for some reason a lot of the changes kept disappearing each time I clicked “save draft.”  Must be a WordPress bug.  It seems I went through about 8 revisions and fine tunings.  I have to admit, I never expected to get some of the praise that comes my way for my effort, but the truth is that all that praise is due to revising, revising, and revising.  So, if you’d like a little writing instruction from someone who has been teaching for about 25 years – don’t rush it.  Take your time.  Examine word choices and phrases to see what you can change but still get the same – or better – meaning with fewer words.  Also sprinkled in there are comments about what I changed and why.  My thanks to the mystery person who suggested that I do this.  If she wants to take credit, terrific, but I usually choose to keep names out of it unless I’m sure they are okay with it.

I’m going to try to keep up with this, as should you.  Give it a shot.  I prefer to stick to 100 words, but she doesn’t mind either way.  Not everyone has the time to sit and write, revise, edit, revise, edit, etc. until getting it down to 100 and telling everything you want to tell.

photo-15

The List

Nicholas scratches his head, peers at smartphone through half-moon glasses.

“What’s this?”  Whining.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprays whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“They’re too lazy to write?  Sending pictures now?”

“Twitter.”  Sprinkles cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

She peeks over his shoulder.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Glaring, handing the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“The yellow thing with chains?  A bondage device?”

“Enough egg nog, pervert.”

“And that giant globe?”

She squints, shrugs.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Saint Fresh Mouth!”  Slaps him.

“WTF?  Bulls have balls, not cows.”  Pulls on his red hat, heads for the sleigh.

Mutters, “Bitches.”

__________________________

100 words

______________________________________________

now, the revising -

First shot -

A large man scratched his head while peering through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“I don’t get it,” he gruffed.

“It’s how they make their Christmas list,” Gertrude said, topping his hot chocolate with whipped cream.

“Pictures?”

“And Twitter.”  Sprinkle of cinnamon.

“I can’t even tell what he wants!  What is all this crap?”

She peeked over his shoulder, same glasses.

“Laptop.”

“I know that one.”

“Quiet.”  Pausing, then handing off the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“What’s that big yellow thing in the back?”

“Not sure, but I saw the elves throwing things at one once.”

“And that big, round thing?”

She leaned closer, shrugged.  “Cow balls?”

107 words

……………………………

 Second try -

A large man Nicholas (name saves two words) scratched his head, peered through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“I don’t get it,” he gruffed. (“I don’t get it”  not needed with “What’s this“) “What’s this?” he gruffed.  “What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude topped his cocoa with whipped cream sprayed whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“Pictures?”

“And Twitter.”  Sprinkle of cinnamon.  “From Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“I can’t even tell what he wants!  What is all this crap?” two phrases were redundant, cut one.

She peeked  Peeking over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“I know that one.”  “Thanks, Captain Obvious.”  more snarky, saved a word.

“Quiet.”  “Shush.” (more in character with an older woman) Pausing with attitude, handing off  over the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“What’s that Big yellow thing in the back.  Bondage device?”

“Not sure, but I saw the elves throwing things at one once.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

“No more egg nog for you.”  suggests drinking issue, better than both lines above it

“And that big, round thing?”

She leaned closer, shrugged.  “Cow balls?”  “Cow testicle?” (“balls” is a funnier word, but didn’t want it to get mistaken for “cow bells”)

“Bull.”

“Don’t be fresh.”

“WTF?”  He pulled on his red hat and headed out for the sleigh.

……………………………………

Third try - 

Nicholas scratched his head, peered through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprayed whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“Pictures?”

“From Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

Peeking over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Pausing with attitude, handing off  over (over seems more reluctant, unwilling but have to do it anyway)  the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Big yellow thing in the back.  Bondage device?”

“No more egg nog for you.”

“And that big, round thing?”

She leaned closer, shrugged.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Don’t be fresh.”

“WTF?”  He pulled on his red hat and headed out for the sleigh.

……………………………..

fourth try -

Nicholas scratched his head, peered through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprayed whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“Pictures?”

“From Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

Peeking over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Pausing with attitude, handing over the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Big yellow thing in the back.  Bondage device?”

“Pervert.  No more Enough (saved a word) egg nog for you.”

“And that big, round thing?”

She leaned closer, shrugged.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Don’t be fresh.”

“WTF?  Cows don’t have balls.”  He pulled Pulling (saving a word) on his red hat and headed heading (saving a word) out to the sleigh.

…………………………………

Make it five -

Nicholas scratched his head, peered through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprayed whipped cream on hot cocoa.

Pictures?  Too lazy to write?”   “I expected texting, but not pictures.”

“From Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

Peeking over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Pausing with attitude, Slaps him, Evil glare, (trying to save words) handing over the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Big yellow thing in the back.  “Yellow thing with chains?  Bondage device?”

“Pervert.  Enough egg nog for you.”

“And that big, round thing?”  “And that giant ball?” “And that giant globe?”  trying different versions to see which sounds better while being shorter.

She leaned closer, shrugged.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Don’t be fresh.”

“WTF?  Cows don’t have balls.”  Pulling on his red hat, heading out to the sleigh.

…………………………….

 Not finished yet -

Nicholas scratched scratches (went through the whole thing, changing to present tense, more immediate, might save words too)  his head, peered peers at smartphone through half-moon glasses at his smartphone.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprayed sprays whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“I expected texting, but pictures?”  “Too lazy to write?  Sending pictures now?”

“Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

She Peeking peeks over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Evil glare, handing the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Yellow thing with chains?  Bondage device?”

“Pervert.  Enough egg nog for you.”

“And that giant globe?”

She leaned leans closer, shrugged shrugs.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”  Slaps him.

“Don’t be fresh.”  Slaps him  (just moved it)

“WTF?  Cows don’t have balls.”  Pulling on his red hat, heading out to the sleigh.

……………………………

 Lost count.  Seven?

Nicholas scratches his head, peers at smartphone through half-moon glasses.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprays whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“Too lazy to write?  Sending pictures now?”

“Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

She peeks over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Evil glare, handing the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Yellow thing with chains?  Bondage device?”

“Pervert.  Enough egg nog for you.”

“And that giant globe?”

She leans closer, shrugs.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

Don’t be fresh.”  “Fresh mouth!”  Slaps him (saved a word)

“WTF?  Cows don’t have balls.”  Pulling Pulls on his red hat, heading out to heads (present tense and saved a word) for the sleigh.

……………………..

maybe eight?

Nicholas scratches his head, peers at smartphone through half-moon glasses.

“What’s this?” Gruffly.  Whining.  (wanted him more complaining than angry)

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprays whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“They’re too lazy to write?  Sending pictures now?”

“Twitter.”  Sprinkling cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

She peeks over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Evil glare Glaring, handing the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“Yellow thing with chains?  Perhaps a bondage device?”

Pervert.  Enough egg nog for you.”  “Enough egg nog, pervert.”  (saved two words)

“And that giant globe?”

She leans closer, shrugs.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Fresh mouth!”  Slaps him

“WTF?  Cows don’t have balls.” “Bulls have balls, not cows.” (added a word, but clarified too) Pulls on his red hat, heads for the sleigh.

………………………

finished?!

Nicholas scratches his head, peers at smartphone through half-moon glasses.

“What’s this?”  Whining.

“Christmas list 2.0.”  Gertrude sprays whipped cream on hot cocoa.

“Too They’re too lazy to write?  Sending pictures now?”

“Twitter.”  Sprinkles cinnamon.

“What is all this crap?”

She peeks over his shoulder, same glasses.  “Laptop.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“Shush.”  Glaring, handing the cocoa.  “Toolbox, tools, bucket.”

“The yellow thing with chains?  A bondage device?”

“Enough egg nog, pervert.”

“And that giant globe?”

She squints, shrugs.  “Cow testicle?”

“Bull.”

“Saint Fresh Mouth!”  Slaps him.

“WTF?  Bulls have balls, not cows.”  Muttering, pulls on his red hat, heads for the sleigh.  Mutters, “Bitch.” “Bitches.”  Stuck here because “bitches” could get confused with all the reindeer.  but “bitches” also makes it sound like santa is complaining about women in general, which is what i specifically want.  tough call.

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77 Responses to #fridayfictioneers via rochelle – 12/14

  1. The afterword looks like my paring and rewriting. :-) Nice lesson.

    As for the story, it seems to me that if Santa’s using a Smartphone (and evidently gives out his number or email), he’s just asking for Twitter, pictures, emails and whatever else. Hopefully no one leaves a picture of milk and cookies for him, though. That would be taking the use of technology to a new low!

    Good stuff, Rich. See you (or Bruce) on Monday.

  2. boomiebol says:

    Bet you had fun with this one… Very original take…Christmas list 2.0… Love it

  3. N Filbert says:

    delightful Rich – thanks

  4. Paul says:

    Like you, I struggle each week with editing down to exactly 100 words- a struggle which I really enjoy. If anyone ever needs help editing, I’m you’re man. I think showing your revisions is very informative to readers or writers who do not appreciate what we go through. As for your story, though well done, I was put off by Nicholas. Sounds like he’s ready to retire. What happened to Ho-Ho-Ho? And calling Mrs. Claus and all women bitches? Not MY Santa!

    • rich says:

      Several months ago I thought about showing all of the edits and revisions. But then I was afraid that I would be interpreted as trying to tell people what to do and how to do it. Following a very nice comment about a month ago, I mentioned the revising and editing to someone. They suggested that I show all of the work, but I mentioned how I felt awkward about it. They even said that it could only be helpful and anyone who thought otherwise would be silly. I had planned to do it sooner than this week’s work, but I kept forgetting to keep the changes.

      And thanks again for reading. When I get home to my computer, I will start reading everyone else’s.

      • Paul says:

        I’ve decided to take a break this week. I overdid it last weekend with about 6 posts in 3 days. Something like that!

      • rich says:

        Over the course of doing this for about 5 years, I have probably progressed from once a month to once a week to know about 5 or 6 posts a week. I try my best never to post more than once a day because I fear people might get bored of seeing my name pop up in their WordPress reader.

        As for something like Friday fiction, no matter how awkward the picture might be, I look at it as a challenge that I cannot pass up.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks. I needed that!

      • rich says:

        uh oh. sometimes i’m not good with knowing when someone is being sarcastic. or, you meant that in a good way. dangit. i can’t be sure.

      • Paul says:

        Sorry. I meant it in a good way!

      • rich says:

        Good to know. Thanks. Glad to help.

  5. I read the first version and loved it…perfect twist at the end. Why force me to scroll through several other versions? Didn’t read them.

  6. wmqcolby says:

    I laughed out loud! Great!

  7. Thanks for the ha ha, Rich and showing us your process. BTW, my nickname where I work is Rocky. So in a sense you got my name right this week. ;)

  8. Rich, thanks for all your effort and showing your writing process. I don’t think I could keep track of all my edits. Your changes are very well thought out. Mine are probably more impulsive. It was a great lesson! I think Santa needs an assistant or something. Where are those little elves? I like him more whining, too, than mad sounding. He’s got to be tired by now, right? But tell me, who wants the yellow bucket device?

  9. Well, you have me beat for rewrites this week! LOL. This was fun, watching the process and changes. That in itself is a story.

  10. Tom Poet says:

    Rich,
    I just realized what a lazy S.O.B. I am…Nice job man and the lesson was interesting. To be truthful I write my 100 word stories in under 30 minutes from concept to completion…It’s half the reason I have so many typos. I wish I had more time to really condense them but between work, school, the kids, girlfriend, my self indulgent hour of me time and other writings I am working on I just do not have the time. There is also commenting on blogs and reading other writers work…another time consumer. Thank god I am not a big sleeper. I have a thing about getting my story down to 100 words…it’s a must for me. Rich you are an excellent writer who works hard at his craft and you deserve the praise you get. I enjoy your work every week.

    Tom

    • rich says:

      thanks for the very kind words. i know what you mean about how those other things can eat up time. i admit i don’t read as many of the blogs that i follow as i used to have the time to read. and to follow your lead – truth be told – sometimes i have to decide if i’m going to spend more time on my writing or reading what others have written. i’m finding it more and more true that sometimes you have to isolate yourself to write better. and i don’t like it, but i’m finding it to have truth in it.

      regardless, thanks again for the very kind words.

  11. Entertaining story and very instructive lesson in editing. Not that I can do it like that, but it’s fun seeing how your processes unfold. Thanks so much!

  12. Sandra says:

    Lot of work went into this Rich – appreciate it, and I’m sure others will. Nice one.

  13. Great take, Rich, and the revision series was interesting, too. imagine how much fun (?!) Ron and I have working *two minds* (not always wanting to use the same words) on *two stories* lol.

    Thanks for your unique take, as always!

    • rich says:

      oh, you’ve got a challenge on your hands there. thanks for you kind words. i added the revisions with the hope they would be interesting and not annoying. glad it worked out okay.

  14. aFrankAngle says:

    Count me in on the ignorant list with this one … then again, the morning news may be distracting me.

  15. I really enjoyed the first version, the play on words and all. Well done, Rich

  16. Hi Rich,
    Well played dialog and some good non-verbal in there. I’m taking credit for that. Very interesting to see how you devloped it. I had a college writing teacher who did something very similar to this. You might want to consider a career in teaching. Ron

  17. Anne Orchard says:

    Great story Rich, and your editing process shows that great stories don’t just drop fromt he sky (except very occasionally), but are made that way by lots of tweaking and polishing.

  18. tedstrutz says:

    I got it. Really liked the story when I finally realized it was Santa. I didn’t know her name was Gertrude… thanks.

    Say, wtf… do you think I have time to read all this extra stuff? I’m busy reading ‘Room 317′ right now. But, I will read the extra stuff… to learn. Thanks, teach.

    • rich says:

      really? 317? wow, thanks. as for gertrude, i did a web search for mrs. claus’s name and came up with gertrude. and i put the extra stuff at the end to keep it away unless someone really wanted to read it. but thanks again.

      • tedstrutz says:

        I’ve had your book on my iPad for awhile… finally became your turn… The bus has just pulled into Indianapolis… I’ll comment when I finish, but I can’t wait to see what happens to him next.

      • rich says:

        terrific. i hope it’s all worth your time, effort, and 99 cents or whatever it was.

  19. Great story. I love the banter. I think I would have gone with the singular “bitch” since when I first read it I had to go back and reread it to see if there were two women there. I understand why you chose that though.

  20. brudberg says:

    Hi Rich, and thanks for showing all your efforts. I like that you meet the challenge of EXACTLY 100 words. I try myself, and usually meet it (unless I write structured poetry.., )

    I liked the story a lot, and I will one day write a dialogue story. I admire that a lot. Thank you for sharing.

  21. H.L. Pauff says:

    Christmas list 2.0, love it. Also, it’s very cool to see the process you went through.

  22. mari wells says:

    I told you, someone would enjoy reading the revisions. As for me I smiled the whole time, I read.
    Someone finally listened to me.
    I do remember some one else stating you should show your revisions too.
    I want to go slap Santa! How dare he call Mrs. like that. He just might be sleeping with the reindeer tonight! :D
    Great story!

  23. Santa, Santa, Santa. Haven’t you ever heard of people who want the moon?

    I love this one – very ingenious and funny!

  24. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Rich,

    I enjoyed your story this week and your timelapse of the editing process. Rare is the story that just jumps onto the paper without such effort. Good job.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  25. elmowrites says:

    Interesting idea to include the previous drafts, Rich. It seems like this one didn’t change much from the original, except in the finest details. I have to say the final version felt slightly stripped back to me (before I read the previous ones), like you were struggling for word count. Which was a shame because I love the idea and the joke at the end!

    • rich says:

      yeah, i know what you mean, but i like the idea of sticking with 100 words. it means i’ve got to really work to get my idea across. and if i can’t get it in 100, then maybe i have to rethink what i’m writing about. but thanks for reading it all. your assessment is exactly right. stripped down, economical.

  26. LOL, it’s like watching the movie with the audio commentary. Brilliant!

  27. Geez, I don’t know if I should be naughty or nice… where is Santa’s helpers? This was an attention getter and out of the box. Awesome Rich.

    Shenine

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