#fridayfictioneers via madison woods – 10/05

Every Wednesday Madison Woods posts a picture prompt to challenge writers to create a 100-word story or poem or anything that works for you.  Then post your work on your blog.  additionally, on friday, you go back to her site and post a link to your blog entry in the comments on her Friday Fictioneers post.

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.

The Kitchen

“You sure?” Tom whispered.  “Who?”

“Ann,” Sue answered.  “She always freezes up around me.”

“And David?”

“Nah.  He’s gotten over it.”

Embracing.  “I’m so sorry, Babe.  It’s time she learns to accept us.”  He kissed her forehead.

Sue’s lips trembled.  “Tomorrow’s our anniversary.”

His finger to his lips, then pointing to the doorway.

Two children tip-toed in.

“I’m serious,” said Ann, “I hear voices.”

“Again?” David whined.  “Look.  Nobody.  See?”

“They’re here.  I feel them.”

“Please, let it go.”  David retreated, leaving Ann alone.

“Love you Mom, Dad.” Ann whispered hopefully.

“Love you too,” Mom hushed.

Ann gasped.  Smiled.  Acceptance.

__________________________

I must have spent at least two hours crawling over this piece, one word at a time, revising, re-revising, rethinking word choices, and doing everything possible to make sure that the following explanation was not necessary.  However, I don’t think i accomplished my goal, thus the need to explain.  Oh well.

I’m not sure if it comes across well enough, but let me explain.  This is supposed to seem like a husband talking to his new wife about how one of his kids is not accepting their marriage.  Sue mentions how Ann “freezes up” around her but Dave is okay with her.  However, what we learn at the end is that it’s not about a child who can’t accept her new mother.  It’s a child who hasn’t accepted that her parents have died.  And she refuses to accept because she can sense the parents presence in the house.  But when she hears “Love you too,” then her sense is confirmed, and she can then accept that they’re gone.

65 thoughts on “#fridayfictioneers via madison woods – 10/05

  1. Typical twists … but my anticipation of them affected my concentration … I kept thinking that it’s in the kitchen … there’s the freezes word … so how it going to end about the freezer? Oops … I missed that one. 😉

  2. Hi Rich,
    Thanks for the explanation. I got the first part, that Ann was having trouble accepting their relationship. But adding a second layer, that she was sensing her lost parents, that’s the kind of multi-leveled story that adds sophistication and complexity. Great dialog, too. Ron

  3. I thought this was great—no explanation necessary. The reader is initially intrigued, trying to figure out what Ann and David have or have not accepted. This ambiguity makes the reader urgently want to read more. The conclusion was very effective!

  4. I initially thought it was the kids that had died, and the parents that had not let go, but the explanation clarified it. I really enjoyed the dialogue, and the acceptance at the end. Heartwarming.

  5. Yeah, I was very confused. Maybe because it’s late, though, haha. I thought that she was imagining the kids she wanted to have but never could, that they were coming alive to her.

    Maybe the idea would’ve come across more clearly if the story were longer? I know you like to keep it at 100 words, but sometimes I think the story dictates what it should do, if that makes any sense. Or maybe it’s just my excuse for being verbose, lol.

    The dialogue here is good, though.

  6. Hi There,

    You are fretting needlessly. The whole story played out just as you intended. Very interesting take on the prompt.
    All your visiting and re-visiting of 2 hours paid! 🙂

    Parul

  7. I enoyed the story and got the ghosts part, though I didn’t look at it from the new relationship point of view. Guess that’s just how my mind works in the first place. Great dialogue.

  8. Had to go back and read it a couple of times. I never accept my first draft and sometimes not even my third or fourth. Good economy of words and believable dialogue. Nice that Mom gave the child the okay to move on.

  9. I’ll admit I’m not perceptive enough to get it the first time, so I did appreciate the explanation. I love concept, the dialogue, and the story. Well done!

  10. Don’t worry, your story’s meaning came through loud and clear. And it gave me chills. Love the supernatural stuff!

  11. This left me with chills and a smile. Everything was crystal clear with the final two sentences. Stunning work, I’m happy to have found you via Le Clown’s reblog. (I love Bruce and football and dialogue too!)

  12. After reading your explanation, the story has such a strong effect – the ending especially is really well done, and I’m trying to think how you might make what’s going on clearer…you might even just start with “David’s gotten over it, but Ann still freezes up around me…” and then say that Tom embraces Sue…it’s definitely doable, and then the way you bring it home in the second half is just so good that I can’t think of any changes there. Awesome story.

    • If the explanation is needed, than it wasn’t written well enough. That’s what I feared, but I felt like I was obsessing over it and submitted just to stop myself from further editing.

  13. Tough subject to tackle in 100 words. Some children never get over the tug of a deceased parent. Ann, with a little push from the ghost of a loving birth mother (and you!), is going to be among the lucky ones.

  14. I definitely caught the ghost-parents, but I missed the step-parent allusion. That may have something with my traditional two-parent upbringing. 🙂

    I think “freezes” also made me jump to “ghosts” (it’s a common reference point). It was odd that she use “Nah”—it’s the sort of thing you expect from a teenager, or in a less intense situation. “No” would be more direct, and also (oddly enough) more open to misinterpretation. [And I would suggest that if the “it” is his parents’ death, the speaker probably wouldn’t phrase it quite like that (“gotten over it”).]

    “It’s time she learns to accept us” was also odd to me. This one will likely be debated, but I thought “It’s time she learns to accept us as we are” might actually be better (“accept us” seems too open-ended, you need to find a way to close that without removing your two intended possibilities [presumably there are a hundred different ways their daughter accepts them, you have to “tell” the reader what it is that she doesn’t accept]).

    Reading the comments and responses, I’m now curious to know if I’m misreading this completely. Are Sue and Tom Ann’s biological parents (the deceased) or her new parents? (I thought they were the deceased ones.) If they are the new parents, then that is unclear (Sue and Tom disappear without an explanation, which makes the most sense if they are “Mom” and “Dad”—if they aren’t, David may need to whine about one of the voices sounding like Sue, etc.).

    If you decide to rework it again, I’d like to see what you do with it. 🙂 I always enjoy your stuff! 🙂

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