Monday, September 14, 2009
Casualties - The Short Story
Back in the winter of 2005 I took a flash fiction course at University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio which was taught by Eileen Favorite (author of the novel “The Heroines.”) It was a great class – every week we would have a prompt to write a 400 to 800 word story. Everyone read their story in class and then the class provided immediate feedback.
One class in January we had to write four two hundred word stories from specific word prompts. I came up with the brilliant idea to integrate my four stories so that in reality I had an eight hundred word piece. It wasn’t a bad story, but the ending was sort of an unnecessary shock and the reaction of the class was what I guess could be called a palpable silence. Maybe some uneasy murmurs. But Eileen got the discussion going by saying, “Well, that’s why we workshop these stories - to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
I wrote about a fifty versions and eventually expanded it to four thousand words. I had special affection for the story, probably because of its rocky start. I workshopped it seven times on Zoetrope and sent it out to over twenty different publications, but had no luck. I put it away thinking maybe I would try rewriting it someday.
Then this spring, I decided to give it one last shot. I sent it out to four online ezines and two days later I got an acceptance from the Short Story Libray. So Casualties is now one of the “Stories of the Week,” at the Short Story Library, which is the creation of editor Casey Quinn. If you have a chance, please check it out and also check out the other stories that are posted there.
Saturday: Bike 45 minutes; Sunday: Yoga 30 minutes at home (I taped a show from the Fitness channel)