thegirlintheglasses wrote:CCrawford wrote:I'll be brave and go first (unless someone beats me to it while I'm typing this)!
Here's my initial 250 vignette from the start of the workshop:
The portal snapped shut as Balac stepped over the bodies. Orchid-scent wafted toward him. Home.
He took in the overgrown vines and drooping flowers, and the joy of return soured in his gut. Finally, retirement, after years of investing his singularly-destructive magic to a greater cause... but this wasn’t the future he’d imagined.
“You’re home.” Mala’s violet eyes found him but her smile quivered at the edges. She sank into a chair, winced, then glanced away. “I hate for you to see me like this.”
“Never looked worse,” she huffed, “but better than you.”
A glimpse of her usual spark. “What can I do?”
“Plants need tending.”
Balac kissed her forehead and slipped outside.
“Mind the purple one!” she called.
Balac knelt, careful not to crush anything important, and began stripping weeds. The soil crushed into in his knuckles and fingernails felt oddly satisfying – unlike what usually covered his hands.
Dual stars slipped past the horizon, tinting the world green. Balac’s knees popped as he ambled toward the last flower bed.
The purple orchid stood proud despite weeds attempting to strangle it, so much like Mala herself. As Balac weeded and watered, the plant seemed to straighten and its violet petals deepened to a richer hue. Balac swore he even heard it let out a little sigh –
Something clattered inside the house.
Balac rushed inside to the slumped form on the floor. “Mala!”
Watery, violet-gray irises peered up at him. “Now we’ll have plenty of time.”
And a recent 250 from a few weeks ago (based on the Locked in a Box prompt):
My purgebox pulsed red in my palm as a screen blinked to life on the side of the Processing building. A stern-looking woman stared back at me. “Name?”
A metal tray flipped open on the door and a blinking disc clanked into it. “It will buzz when you’re next. Have payment ready.”
The sense of rejection and failure I’d tried to purge that morning, only to find the box full, churned in my stomach. The reset on my box would deplete most of my remaining credits. I’d have to skip a few meals this week. But what choice did I have? I couldn’t just carry these feelings around all week; I’d be useless.
The door to the Processing Center clanged shut behind a young woman. I caught a glimpse of her as she rushed past me, enough to see splotchy skin, red eyes, tears.
I called after her. “Were you here for Processing?”
She turned back and worried her lip between her teeth. A purgebox pulsed burgundy in her palm. “Been full for two weeks. I keep making appointments, hoping my credits will have come through...“
A reckless thought burst into a gallop in my mind. “Take my turn.” I shoved the disc at her. “I’ll pay for you.”
Her fingers closed around the disc. “You’re serious?”
Her shoulders relaxed with an exhale. “I’m Lara.”
The churn in my chest eased ever so slightly at the relief in her eyes. I smiled and held out my hand. “Kylan.”
Comments/Comparison of the two:
Honestly, I don't notice as many changes as I might have hoped. I did manage to focus in on a more singular moment in the newer one, whereas I was attempting to condense a full story down into just 250 words at first. My original 250 started at the beginning and then kind of skimmed down to the end of the original story, rather than really isolating the "heart" of the story. But this moment in the newest 250 occurred about halfway through the original flash draft, and is a pivotal moment for the character, though I'm not sure I managed to fully convey that all that well. But still, practicing the 250s to get the focus on the "beating heart" of the story (isolating that pivotal moment) has really helped me in writing my stories overall. It's been a very helpful tool, and one I plan to keep practicing!
I love this story too. I think I breezed over it the first time, came back again today and realized, you’ve layered a lot of depth into this Second story. Purging emotions and finding relief in empathy and kindness. It isn’t a gut punching last line, but I think you’ve conveyed a very heartfelt scene that does punch. Well done.
I just had to rewrite this one sentence from above: Orchid-scent wafted toward him.
The scent of orchids and the stench of death. Such a vile reality to lie withering below such beauty? Discovery of other realms within realms. The smells of home greeting him in their familiar layers.
Of course I'm not suggesting you replace your sentence with my sentences. I just wanted to rewrite it as practice.