Monday, January 15, 2007

How To Write It Much More Betterer

This year I'm making it a point to improve the quality of my writing, so I decided to rewrite my Clarity Of Night contest entry as a learning exercise. It's easy to do this on something short, and it helps that it's been out there in the real world.

M. G. Tarquini sent me an email giving me feedback on the story, suggesting a way to improve it. If you read the original, it becomes obvious that the wordy science lesson at the beginning drags. It serves the purpose of setting a tone and mood, but what's the point if it doesn't keep the reader interested? Mindy's suggestion was to work this information into the rest of the story, starting it a little later in the piece, the point where it kicks into gear.

Here's the revised version:


In the alley next to the wall I wait.

Among the garbage and the flies, the smells of long-spoiled foods, the mould-covered carcass wedged between the rubble up against the wall.

The mould feeds on the moisture and the warmth, its spores crawl up the wall in a speckled pattern, random and chaotic in its beauty. I watch the wall and I wait.

I wait for those that make the alley their home, surrounding themselves with fortresses of cardboard boxes. As if this would offer them protection.

I wait for one whose hair is matted and grey, face riddled with liver spots, whose life is not far from its end.

I wait until he sleeps.

The spores flee my body like wasps from a nest. They fly towards the old one and seep into his tattered clothes until his decaying skin is covered completely. He will wake and he will scream, but who would care for him in the dead of night, in this sewer of an alley?

No one to help him, but he will help me. He will sustain me.

And when the work is done, I will wait in the alley, next to the wall.


Sandra Ruttan said...

That Mindy, she's a smartie.

Glad to see you reading Billingham - one of my personal faves.

Mary said...

Ya, like it much better now that the food is "spoiled" ;-)

angie said...

Okay, that is seriously creepy. Mindy is a kick ass editor, so now I'll have to zip over and read your original version. I don't think most folks realize how difficult it is to write truly good flash fiction.

M.G. Tarquini said...

That Mindy...she's a pain in the mold...

This works well, Daniel.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thank you very much, ladies.

*tips hat*

angie said...

Yep. This version is much, much better. Not only does it move along nicely, but the creep factor is much more intense. Amazing what a good edit can do!

Daniel Hatadi said...


Thanks for the feedback, Angie. Feedback definitely helps the learning process.

anne frasier said...

wow. very nice!! i really liked the orginal, but this revision is proof that it's all about rewriting.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thank you, Anne. A 'wow' from you with this piece means a lot.