Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Microfiction Competition

As promised, here's my entry from Monday.  I didn't win, but I'm sure i was well placed!!

Emily and the Rose

It was too hot for studying; too hot for anything but lying in the long grass and waiting for Richard.  Emily clung to the rose he had gifted her; brought it to her nose; inhaled its subtle perfume.

She heard him approach and closed her eyes.

‘Emily, come with me please.’

It was the head master.  She followed him, trembling, to his office.  Richard was there already, his tweed jacket open at the front, his face pale, flanked by two Policemen.

She gasped suddenly, their secret confirmed in that breath.  The policemen nodded and led Richard out.

Writing an interesting story with complex characters and plot twists in one hundred words is not easy (state the obvious: 1). is a really good exercise in telling a story through subtext, and it helped me better understand they way subtext enhances a story and why it is so crucial.  With a tight word limit, you have to choose your words carefully, and craft sentences so that they tell more than they seem to tell at face value.

For example, instead of stating that Emily is a school girl, i make reference to it being too hot to study.  I then reinforce that later by using the word headmaster.

What drives the story though is the knowledge gaps.  In this case Emily knows more than the reader.  She knows that Richard is her teacher, and that what they are doing could land them both in serious trouble.  We assume at first that she's waiting for her boyfriend, but when the head master arrives and she follows him trembling to his office, we start to realise something is wrong.  Then the description of Richard with his tweed jacket and pale face suggests that he is not another pupil, but someone of senior years.  The presence of the policemen reinforces that.  Finally, Emily's reaction, that gasp, confirms the suspicion that this is an affair between teacher and pupil and can only end one way.

I didn't have a go at Tuesday's competition, but here is the inspirational image anyway.   Good luck to anyone entering today's competition.

No comments:

Post a Comment