Friday Fictioneers – The Last Curtain

ff130313It hadn’t been the career she had hoped for. There were good moments. Just not many. She deserved more.

A lifetime of bad reviews and grimy hotel rooms. At least this would be the last one of those. As the camera continued to record, her final monologue was complete. One farewell performance for her critics.

The stool fell to one side as the rope gripped tightly.

The show was over. Meanwhile the camera continued to film the plastic flowers and the raindrops on the window. Tragically even the last performance would play to an empty house.

She definitely deserved better.

This is my entry in this weeks 100 word writing challenge over at Friday Fictioneers.

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42 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The Last Curtain

  1. yepiratehere

    Oh you are warming up nicely! This one is really a powerful piece, story and style-wise. Really a dramatic end that still ‘continues’…the raindrops still landing. Nice tone too.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks for your comments. The story actually came to me within a couple of minutes of seeing the picture. Problem I had this week was fitting it into 100 words. Think I just about pulled it off.

      Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Glad you got the kink in the tail. Wasn’t sure everybody would get was I was describing at the end. Was obvious to me but I found it quite tricky to come up with choice of words to try and make it obvious to other people.

      Reply
      1. cmdrysdale

        I liked the fact it wasn’t obvious, and I’ve also made the same mistake with video cameras myself (so much footage of my feet that ends just as something interesting is going to happen!). It just makes the end more bailful.

      2. paulmclem Post author

        I think most people who have commented got the ending. In such a short piece of prose sometimes you can only hint at something and hope people are seeing the same picture as you.

      3. cmdrysdale

        Yeah, I think that’s what I like about flash fiction. Have you tried Twitter fiction? Getting an entire tale into 140 characters (all words must be written in full – no shortenings or initials). That takes it to another level in terms of needing to use words sparingly to get your story across.

      4. cmdrysdale

        Yes but incredibly satisfying if you can manage to do it and still end up within something good!

        I read somewhere recently that Hemmingway once did a complete story in six words. It was something like: For Sale. Babies shoes. Never worn.

        There’s a certain poignancy to it. I doubt I could ever manage something that concise.

      5. paulmclem Post author

        Got to say I’m not totally sold on these extremely short bursts of fiction. 100 words could be my lower limit. You end up leaving so much to the readers imagination it might be pot luck if they get what the author is trying to say. Something I’ll need to ponder on.

      6. cmdrysdale

        True. It’s not something I do often but it makes for an interesting challenge and a nice break from writing longer pieces (such as just now when I’m procrastinating over finishing the first draft of my second book that really should have been done by the end of January!).

      7. paulmclem Post author

        Good luck with your book. I look forward to the day when I have the opportunity to procrastinate over a draft of one of my books.

        Have started working on something which I hope a couple of years from now might develop into my first full length book. For now though I am concentrating on doing three short stories as scene setters. Lots to learn but I just enjoy writing so even if leads nowhere I’ll still enjoy the journey.

  2. sustainabilitea

    Well done, Paul. You really caught the loneliness and feelings of futility of both her life and death. While the 100 words isn’t a strict limit, enforced if broken by lashing with a wet noodle, it really helps hone skills and make the writer choose words and sentences carefully. You’re doing very well.

    janet

    Reply
  3. denmother

    Great story! One little piece of feedback. The one word I didn’t like was “Meanwhile.” For me it weakened the finality of the moment. I think you could have gone straight to the word “the” in that sentence and started there. As a reader, I would have understood that the camera was filming after her demise. Again, great work. I hope I’m being constructive!
    Denmother

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Great feedback. You are spot on. I struggled with the start of that sentence. I agree “Meanwhile” does sound a bit clunky. Too harsh a word for the moment.

      Probably spent 99% of my time on this story on that one sentence. Think I felt I needed something to make it obvious what had gone wrong with the camera.

      Reply
  4. jwdwrites

    Hi Paul, I really liked this piece. I know that you said you are not convinced about 100 word fiction as it is hard to be sure you get your message across, but I think the flipside of that is the interesting alternative takes on the story that you can get from your reader. I think as writers this feedback is great because it helps us to revisit our writing from the perspective of many different readers. I enjoy reading these stories, then the comments and then the story again, and I often get a completely different story the second time around.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks for commenting. Not so worried about 100 words, was more the idea of 140 characters. I do agree that smaller pieces allow the reader scope to complete or view the story in their own way.

      Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Bill. Really pleased that so many people enjoyed this story. Makes me doubly determined to maintain and indeed improve the standard moving forward.

      Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Yes, I did a make conscious effort to do a complete tale. Some of my earlier efforts might have been seen as teasers to something else or alternatively left a lot to the readers interpretation. However, this time I think I tell a whole story.

      Reply

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