Friday, July 24, 2009


Hiatus - Yes

Contest - No

I didn’t win the Clarity of Night contest. I didn’t place in the top five, or the honorable mention list, or the Top 40 club since you could get a total of 45 points.

Am I sad? No.

I’ll tell you the reasons why after you read my contest entry. Here it is:
Seeking a Deadly Foray

I stare at the red wine on the tray. With her heavy treads vibrating the floorboards of lightened gray, my wife strolls this way. Her rolls of flesh carry the sickly odor of three-day-old nachos lathered in fake cheese spray.

Where did my lovely Clementine take flight? Her once lithe body has vanished into the wreckage of bad breath and 400 pounds of cellulite. I cannot take any more of this sight. Tonight, I will make sure Death wraps bony fingers around her fattened heart and grips on tight. Outside, the windy darkness howls its terror at the coming plight.

My hand shuts the book cover, “How to Poison Your Spouse.” Clementine searches for the hard liquor to become thoroughly soused. In loathing, her eyes throw invisible daggers at me like I am the contemptible louse.

She snatches at the crystal chalice and whips her middle finger high. I cannot lie. The view of it hardens my resolve while I wish she would just die.

After a belch, Clementine tosses the empty glass to the floor. Her crudeness no longer holds any allure. Then she notices the book that will not offer her any cure.

In horror, she realizes the truth within the wine. “Howard, why would you do this to your lovely Clementine?”

I chuckle, “My dear, banish such troubling thoughts and relax. All you drank were several tablets of Ex-Lax. Your lower pipework will rev up to the max, and shed your body of its tonnage tax.”
So that was my entry. Actually, I knew I wasn’t going to win after I hit the “Send” button. I reread the story and shook my head in disgust.

Why did I add so many adjectives?

I don’t normally do this ANYWHERE in all my other writings. In fact, I’ve always been proud about the omission of useless modifiers (versus the necessary ones - yes, there is a difference). Unfortunately, for some reason, I littered the first two paragraphs with modifiers. The only conclusion I have on doing such a thing is that this was the first 250-word contest I’ve ever entered. I think I convinced myself that I needed those extra words to further establish the mood. What I should have done was delete those add-ons and create another sentence to further the storyline.

My mistake.

I’m not beating myself in the head over it, especially since this is the FIRST RHYMING STORY I’VE EVER WRITTEN. That’s right. This was more of an experiment for me than anything else. I proved I could do it while establishing a working plot.

So, did I win the contest?


Did I discover a new element in writing I can improve on?

Most definitely.


  1. I thought hiatus means you're not here? :D Not that I'm complaining, mind you. As for the contest, I'm sorry you didn't do so well. I thought (despite the unnecessary words, as you put it) it was pretty good. The rhyming was nicely done, and the atmosphere came through really well. But hey, if you have something you can take away from the experience that's positive, then the exercise was worthwhile. Good job!

  2. I think you are right about a few of the adjectives being unnecessary, but overall, I thought it was well done. And the rhyming was subtle. I didn't notice it until a couple paragraphs in, and then I went back and re-read to see if it all rhymed, and it did! Very cool.

  3. I thought it was tremendously clever. You deserved better. And I'm not just saying that because I like you.

  4. Eric: Well, I had to make a post. I didn't want people to think the contest was still ongoing and they could enter. Besides, I'm always around in writerly spirit. Thanks for the kind words.

    Legalmist: That first paragraph could use some major cleaning up, and the second could use some tweaking. I also didn't need "contemptible" before louse, since we all know louse means a contemptible person. I don't know where my mind went with all those modifiers. Still, I'm glad you liked the rhymes.

    *UGH! PERSONAL RANT! Although I like doing rhymes, I HATE spelling that word. RHYME. I always mess up on it*

    Suldog: Yes, you are saying that because you like me. :-) Really, it could have used more editing. I'm not upset about losing. But thanks for saying it should have done better in the contest.

  5. Keep on hammering. This will all come together soon.
    Coach O

  6. You can't learn if you don't try. Wow, was that cliche or what? I don't know who judged your piece, but I really enjoyed reading it and appreciate that you wrote it. And that's all that matters to me. Wow, that sounded kinda selfish. It was nice seeing you in blog land. Hope all is well. Bye for now.

  7. Theresa: No, it wasn't cliched. Thanks for your words!

  8. I thought your entry was great!

  9. Well, it sucks that you didn't win, but you're right; it WAS your first 250 word contest And your first rhyming story. All in all, I think you did pretty well.


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