Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Short Cuts and Succinctly Yours Catch Ups

There’s no excuse for my being late with everything other than the fact that I’ve been working on—what else? Microfiction. 

It’s amazing to me, the tricks I’ve seen students go through in order to get their word counts UP. Two inch margins, abnormally gigantic handwriting, etc. One wily teen even cut the bottom off his paper. 

And now here I’ve been struggling to get my count down. I’ve hit “Tools>Word Count” so many times, it seems to have become one motion. That working and shaping, weighing each word until the piece is down to a magic number is an exercise that takes more discipline than most diets I’ve been on.  

But in the end, when prose stands there looking lean and mean, I feel like a winner on "The Biggest Loser." And best of all is rearranging and finding the piece magically under the word limit. It’s never more clear what a luxury words are.

Here to give me plenty of practice in the endeavor is Grandma’s Goulash, where we are encouraged to use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters or 140 words.
The first is from two weeks ago and the second, from last week. I hope Grandma or someone else will tell me if I’m breaking rules by posting so late. The bonus word in the first was “widget,” and in the second, “fragrant.”



Week 149:

Though Twiggy was grounded, she wasn’t one to put down roots. While everyone else in the forest was happy swaying softly, Twiggy wanted to chase widgets and dance. (139 characters.)









Week 150:
On a fragrant spring morning, Princess Anne happily signed the wedding register. She knew the witch had given James an extra arm, but she always liked her men hand-y. (138)
(I know this must be a famous illustration because I've seen it before. But I can never shake the impression that the guy with the red cape has his hands laced on his stomach and a third protruding from his cape. Must just be me.)




What lasts in the reader’s mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created:  laughter, tears, pain, joy.  If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what’s it doing there?  Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse.  ~Isaac Asimov

14 comments:

  1. No, Tammy, it's not just you. Mr. Cape's right hand is creepy-looking.

    And as far as microfiction, you do it the same way you do fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction--you do it exceedingly well.

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    1. Thank you, Sioux. And thank you for backing me up on that hand thing. Mr. Cape also appears to really like Red Hat Dude, but others explored that angle much better than I could have.

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  2. You are such a gifted and talented writer. Hand-y hah ha.

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  3. Yes. He has three hands. And apparently, a case of color-blindness, because his outfit does not really match.

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    1. I was hit with a case of giggles when I read your response, and then hit afresh when I got a better look. Yes, the orange in his tunic really clashes with the red cape and blue tights, huh? Let's hope Princess Anne hires him a stylist.

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  4. Hari Om
    Better late than never Tammy - and both very worth the effort!!! (Love the Asimov quote too.) YAM xx

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    1. And thank you for checking so late, YAM! :)

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    2. Chase widgets and dance. Girls just 'wanna' ...
      "Princess Anne happily signed the wedding register" Sigh, .. Girls just 'wanna' ...

      Two very nice micros, Tammy. You can be late. I think Mr. Linky shuts off after a certain time.
      Thank you for peeking in on mine and for your nice comment.
      ..

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    3. Thanks to you, Jim, I've had that song stuck in my head since I read your comment. If you take a look at Week 151, you'll see that boys just wanna, too. That song has always made me wonder, though: is there anyone who doesn't?

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  5. Nice job. Your are very observant. I kind of wondered too.

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    1. Thanks, Judy! Glad I'm not alone! ;)

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  6. You really know how to rock the micro fiction! Twiggy was my favorite with terrific plays on words.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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