FlashFiction rewrite

Yesterday I posted my edits for the flash fiction contest I’d entered, taking the story down to it’s required 150 words (give or take 25), and I said, that it would be a better story if I could take it to the 300-500 range.

This sounded like a good exercise to me, and so this morning, I did just that.

I think the longer version does make a much better story, and the rewrite came in at 493 words.  Please, let me know what you think.

Before:

A Secret Worth Keeping

He studied the painting as the Docents droned on about its history and the rumors that surrounded it, trying to make the portrait sound more mysterious than it was.

No one had guessed its secret in over six hundred years, but today the world would have a new mystery to ponder. He looked at his watch and smiled.

According to his calculations, the light from today’s summer solstice would finally reach the painting. and when it did, it would blind everyone for a moment.

When the flash came, he quickly slipped his coat onto his lady’s shoulders, and led her away.

A moment later the alarm sounded, and someone screamed, “The Mona Lisa is gone!”

He suppressed a laugh knowing the picture was still there, but the woman with the enigmatic smile was now walking beside him.

“I told you I would find a way for us to be together,” he told her.

She smiled at him.  He had been a secret worth keeping

Expanded version

A Secret Worth Keeping

Leonardo smiled and stretched as he looked around his apartment.  It was June 21st, 2013 and the long wait was over.  The moon was gibbous, almost to its perigee: the signs were all there.  All he had to do was make sure that the light of the solstice sun touched the painting.

He had almost given up in 1942 when the portrait had almost been lost, but today he was in the right place, and the right time.  His hand trembled slightly as he donned his overcoat and carefully pocketed the mirror he would need to make sure the light kissed her fine lips.

-:-

The Louvre had never looked better than it did this morning.  Leo joined the throng of students and vacationers, enjoying the works of the ‘old masters’ until he reached her, La Joconde… The Mona Lisa, his masterpiece.

Even after all these years, her image could still make him smile.  Let them guess at who she was,  let them speculate as today’s docents would add to the speculation with their innuendo and tell tales of the rumors that surrounded the piece.

No one had guessed its secret in over six hundred years, and after today, they never would.  True, they would have a new mystery to ponder, but that would no longer be his concern.  Today, his beautiful lady was coming home with him.

He looked at his watch and smiled.  It was time.

He stood, draping his coat over his arm.  He had practiced this gesture for months.  It had to look natural and casual, and the mirror had to be positioned just so, or the rays of light would never reach her face, never trigger the chain reaction.

He turned ever so slightly, as if to move on to the next picture and the light filled the room, blinding everyone, including those infernal cameras, for just a moment.

It was all he needed.

In that moment he smiled, knowing he was no longer alone.  He quickly slipped his coat onto his lady’s shoulders, and led her away.  It wouldn’t do to be anywhere near the painting when the alarm went off.

-:-

They had less than twenty seconds, and he made full use of it, quickly guiding his beloved towards the exit.

A moment later the alarm sounded, and someone screamed, “The Mona Lisa is gone!”

He suppressed a laugh knowing the picture was still there, but the woman with the enigmatic smile was now walking beside him.  By the time someone had thought to bar the doors, they were on their way to his apartment.

Tomorrow he would return to the museum, follow the routine he had followed so carefully since he had moved to Paris.  They would never know how he’d done it, and they would finally be free.

“I told you I would find a way for us to be together,” he told his beloved.

She smiled at him.  He had been a secret worth keeping.

Commentary

Being able to at least double the story’s length, I took more time, let people see the preparation and  anticipation of what was to come: I better introduced the plan, and its execution.

The interesting thing is, I think this story is better than it would have been if I had been allowed to write the long version first.  By writing the short version I was forced to distill the key elements of the story down to a cohesive tale.

Then in lengthening it, it allowed me to fill out the key details instead of going off on tangents.

Advertisements

About mtdecker

Just your average writer- which is to say, I have a full-time job developing and testing software.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Editing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s