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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So Many Ways to Win


Okay, so I didn’t come in first, second or third.  When I entered the flash fiction contest I blogged about last week, I told you I’d post my submission, which you’ll find below.  Though I didn’t receive a prize, I won anyway—because I dared to enter a contest in which a winning result would have meant sending the first 10 pages of my manuscript to an agent or an editor. (That's a  HUGE step forward...for me.)  Then, with optimism in my soul, I crossed my fingers and looked at those pages hard, and realized I’m not there, yet.  Though I’ve cut and cut and cut, too much back story crowds my first two chapters.  Had I sent them off, they’d have been met with a yawn.  So more work to do, but knowing so is a win too, right?

Suzy’s (Hayes) Palmieri’s contest required writing a piece— 300 words or less, telling the story about the picture below.  My entry follows the pic.  If you feel like offering constructive criticism, I’d be delighted to receive it.    

   

Here's my take:
 
Annabelle stepped on the sand, her ankle twisting at the unexpected give. The hard pack of the Kansas plains hadn’t prepared her for this alien place, where the earth shifted and as far as the horizon, dark water undulated. Mama hadn’t arrived yet, or she’d have lifted an eyebrow, demanding Annabelle stand up straight. “You’re not married yet, dear. What will Wilfred or his family think if they see you slouching?” She pushed her shoulders back and, heeding her mother’s warning about the sun’s weathering effects, opened her parasol.

A man sat on the sand in front of her. Blood rushed to her face at the sight of his bare legs. Beyond him, two women stood near the surf, clad in short skirts and wool tights, their calves outlined in spite of the knit coverings. Their lack of attire reminded her. In two days hence, when her betrothed, Wilfred Hapford Allings, III, twenty years her senior and a stranger until last week joined her in their marriage bed—she’d be wearing less than those immodest women at the water’s edge.


Annabelle had no illusions. At eight and twenty, she was long in the tooth—a catch like Wilfred far beyond her station. The only living son from a family of vast wealth, he needed to produce an heir. She’d wondered why a man of such fortune would arrange for a mail order bride from Kansas. But when she gazed into eyes as cold as this first glimpse of the ocean and his grip on her arm left bruises, apprehension transitioned to fear. Then she overheard the maid. Two older brothers dead accidentally. His first wife—simply gone. Nothing proved, but she’d been a Wigglesworth and scandal ensued.


Annabelle Tougas from Far Prairie, Kansas? Who would miss her?


If you'd like to read the other entries, you can find them in the comments here. 


Addendum: 9/19/12...and speaking of winners, the winner of an E-Book copy of Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright by J.B. Chicoine, is Robin.  Robin, contact me with your email address and I will forward the information to Rhemalda Press. Congratulations to Robin and once again to Bridget (J.B)!!

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shame you didn't place - that was really good! You saw a lot in that one photo.
But being brave enough to submit it is a big step - congratulations.

jabblog said...

Well done. It is a shame you weren't placed but you learnt something valuable from it.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Your flash story gave me a little chill when I read it on Suzy's blog. It's quite good, and so were many of the others. I was surprised, in fact, at the quality of the entries. So be proud that you stood up strong in a tough field.
Another thing that was interesting was the diversity of stories that people imagined from that photo. Creativity is amazing.
The other thing you took away from this experience is one I notice every time I decide to enter something--I read with fresh eyes and see what I didn't before. There's something about the realization that the words are really leaving home to be seen by others that does it. Best to you in this world of revision we're in. ;)

E.J. Wesley said...

It was great, Liza! I come from a landlocked state (Oklahoma), so it really resinated for me. :-)

Laurel Garver said...

I enjoyed this very much. Great sensory detail. I wonder if this might work even better as a slightly longer story. Try expanding it a little and submit it somewhere.

Anne Gallagher said...

Spinning off a little historical fiction, eh? That was FANTASTIC. I love the twist at the end.

Sorry you didn't win, but you're a winner to me for never giving up. Congratulations!

Lydia Kang said...

I love the historically appropriate phrases you used. Wonderful piece!

Robin said...

Eeeks. Wouldn't want to be her. That ending sent my eyebrows straight into my hairline. You are very crafty with words. Have you ever thought of a book of short stories? Just a thought.

Anyway, my email is prominently displayed on my page, however I shall give it to you again to save you a return trip. rarichards68@gmail.com. I am so excited to read Bridget's book!!! I rarely win anything so this is delicious!

J. B. Chicoine said...

Oh, I do like this! What a setup for a short story or even a novel! Maybe a twist in the plot? ;)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, well, if I were judging you would have placed. :-)

Bish Denham said...

Wow, that's a really good take on that picture, Liza! Scary.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I was SURE I already commented here, but I guess the ether must've eaten it. Anyhow, I think your entry is super, and would have certainly voted for it to place. But like you say, just taking the huge step of entering makes you a winner in my book.

mshatch said...

I really liked this. A lot. In fact, if this was the first page of the book I would've read on.

missing moments said...

Very good. I understand the difficulty of submitting ... been there, done that and will do again. Keep at it ...it will happen!