Plotto: The Door that Locks

February 15th, 2012

So… I thought it was about time I posted a little ditty of mine up here. Most of what I’m writing at present is tied up in projects and what-have-you, but this was a quick one off from a weekly contest on the Tin House blog. Didn’t win, but I loved the piece enough to share it!

It’s a flash fiction piece, under 500 words.

Female protagonist finds that the knob and lock on the door of a hotel bedroom are in disrepair; the lock apparently locks itself, and the knob will not turn.

Time. I’m running out of time.

Bolted. Locked. No matter what I do, the door remains firmly stuck and there’s nothing I can do to open it. Believe me, my torn fingernails are a testament to my efforts. So much for the manicure I finally indulged in.

Outside my small prison masquerading as a hotel room, the scent of freesias wafts through the open window on the tropical breeze. In the distance, the soft sound of bird calls reach my ears and somewhere beyond that are the legions of guests who have come to witness this day. Unfortunately for me, those people known as my friends and family are on the far side of the resort and I could scream myself hoarse and no one would come running. On what should be the biggest day of my life, I’m utterly alone and not by choice.

Why hasn’t anyone come for me? Hasn’t anyone noticed I’m missing? Or is everyone so busy that not even the bride’s absence is noted?

My hair is in disarray and I don’t want to think of the three foot rip in my dress — the one that took me six months to save up enough money to even put a down payment on the damn thing. The faux-diamond tiara I coveted is now in pieces, thrown across the room in a fit of anger. Countless bobby pins litter the floor in a semi-circle around the door, bent in every direction when they failed to provide escape. One end of the metal prong that once belonged to the tiara is bent into an unrecognizable shape after being used, with no success, to jimmy the lock.

The fairy tale princess has been transformed back into Cinderella long before her time was set to expire.

My hand is bleeding from pounding on the door, trying to catch the attention of someone who may happen to walk outside my door. I’m still in this cursed room with a blood stain marring the pure white dress. Maybe it’s a good thing no one can see me now. I look like a zombie bride from hell, not the pristine woman everyone expects. I wonder what the guests will think… what Kevin will think. Will he come running for me or will he accept my absence with silent resignation? I don’t bother to wipe the tears from my face as the drip from my chin and onto my dress. It’s already ruined.

And somewhere, in the distance, a clock chimes one.

Critiques… It Gets Easier

February 4th, 2012

I have to say, at the start of this journey, critiques were hard to take. Honestly, I think it’s hard to hear “hey, this sucks” (though, hopefully told a bit nicer than that!). It’s something you’ve put your heart and soul into and something you’ve been living with for a very long time. Looking at the calendar, I have been living with this current novel in some form or another for about ten years now. It’s only within the past six months that I stopped putting it off and actually did something about writing it.

So yes, I’m protective of my baby.

The last time I wrote about critiques, it was hard to get the first major one from someone I really trusted — but after some licking of the wounds and letting the dust settle, I took an objective look and realised there was a LOT good there in what I was told. So I edited and moved on.

Now as I have my little critique group formed, when I get comments or line edits, I can’t wait to open them and start going through. I’ve finally realised that it’s not a reflection on ME — it’s just my friends making my work even better. They’re removed from it and know when things need to be tightened up and smoothed out.

Critiques? Bring ‘em on! All I ask: don’t send them at midnight or so — because it’s hard to go to bed. It’s like knowing there’s a present under the tree that you can’t WAIT to open — but you have to wait until Christmas Morning.

So, since I’ve now gotten a handle on critiques, someone tell me when rejection letters get easier?