The long and the short of it

Posted: January 28, 2015 in Reading, Writing
Tags: ,

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One of my nine sisters-in-law once rang on a Sunday night, to share a snippet she’d found in the Weekend Shopper classifieds. It read:

‘For Sale: Size 22 wedding dress. Never worn.’

Just eight little words and an entire story ballooned out . . . But what that story meant depended on the reader.

For her, the main character was overweight, jilted before her big day, perhaps consoling herself with great slabs of wedding cake, while an over-sized gown hung unworn on the cupboard door behind her.

For me, there was an alternative, more optimistic, reading. In my version of the story, the protagonist had lost 36 kilos before her big day – the dress no longer fitted!

My point is that readers complete stories that writers begin – whether our stories are novel-length, with months if not years, separating writer and reader, or short, like the one I finished today (which hopefully makes the cut for an anthology coming out later in the year).

Stories are needy things – they demand to be written and they demand to be read. Only then are they truly finished.

So, wish me luck finishing today’s short story. It has been written. It has been flensed. Now it needs first readers, and all going well, a publisher, editor and proof reader. When it finally makes it into the hands of its readers, it will be ready. When they finish reading it and decide what it means to them, my story will be complete.

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Comments
  1. Good luck, Chris!!! And love YOUR interpretation of the story. Though, if your sister-in-law was right, and he dumped for the implied reasons, he was never worth it anyway… xx

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Karen, and you’re right, she would have had a lucky escape! Cx

  3. […] One of my nine sisters-in-law once rang on a Sunday night, to share a snippet she’d found in the Weekend Shopper classifieds. It read: ‘For Sale: Size 22 wedding dress. Never worn.’ Just eight little words and an entire story ballooned out .  […]

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