This week, I’ve been looking through some of my old short stories and flash fiction.
I started exclusively prose in 2010 before moving gradually to poetry. As a result, I have an archive of pieces that are complete but are unedited.
Looking through them, I can now immediately spot where I’ve told the reader what was happening instead of showing it through action or dialogue, and any clumsy phrases that I’d now strike down. Here’s an example:
“How much have you had to drink?” she laughed, as he picked himself up. They had enjoyed only a small wine before heading out.
Today, I would probably have shown the character picking himself up in a different way, and placed the information about the small wine into dialogue.
However, I did spot a piece of flash fiction that I still wouldn’t edit very much. This is You’re Going Down.
The referee in the first boat shouted to the other two.
“The race is from here to that island. I want a fair competition, no funny business, no putting each other off. Understand?” They agreed, not quite in unison. “All right. On your marks, get set.” He blew a loud horn.
As soon as they picked up their oars, the man on the left began to regret his drunken bragging the previous week. Still, he felt sure he would win. The small hole he had drilled in his opponent’s boat would take care of that.