The Break | 50 Word Story

in fiction •  4 months ago



Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns...
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.


I had so much fun with the challenge last week that I thought I would taking another crack at @jayna's awesome fifty word story challenge again. This time the prompt was "break." Never let anyone tell you that writing or editing a fifty word story should be easy just because it's short. Ha! Here's a glimpse of the effort that went into this.

Process


I thought it might be interesting to show the steps I went through to get here.

Brainstorming


I started out braintorming the prompt. During that process I discarded a few words like "shatter." The ones that really resonated with me were "break off" and "break in." The word "relationship" also came up.

Scene Ideas


From these brainstorming ideas I had a few images in mind.

I imagined the breakup scene and the fact that the couple were involved in a break in at the same time as the break up was occurring.

First Draft


This is the first draft I wrote. It is 178 words. Just a bit too long for a 50 word challenge.

##Base draft

Head jammed inside the cabinet, still twirling the tumblers on the damn safe, utterly oblivious to the found of booted feet on marble. Typical bloody Joel. Cassandra wanted to laugh, but that would only draw security to them faster. The house was huge and this was not the main vault. They would go there first to find out what had tripped the alarm. Joel had, of course. How many times had they gone over this?

“Pass me the snips, gorgeous.” His voice was distant, muffled. He hadn’t even bothered to choose the right tools.

She stepped to the window, then out onto the rooftop. Security would be here any moment. Already she could hear the squad cars racing along the boulevard towards them.

“I’ll come visit you in prison.” She said it loud enough that he’d hear. But she didn’t mean a word of it. It was time for a change, time to up her game.

Without a look back she walked to the roof edge and began the long climb down the ivy towards a new beginning.

(178 words)

Draft 2


Clearly that wasn't working, so I tried another version:

Boots on marble. Security were on their way. Cassandra held back a laugh. As always her partner and now lover, Joel, was utterly oblivious. A master thief, he’d said. This time she did laugh.

“Pass the snips, gorgeous?”

He hadn’t even brought the tools they’d discussed.

She exited the window and onto the roof. She needed more than this, than him.

(61 words)

Still not much better and still eleven words too much. I went through five more drafts until I reached this point:

Draft 5

Boots on marble. Security.

As always, her partner Joel was oblivious. “Pass the snips, babe?”

He was never prepared. Some “master thief.” Cassandra laughed.

He had no plan. No future.

She stepped through the window and onto the lawn.

The horizon tinged pink. Removing her mask, she walked toward it.

(50 words)

It's the right number of words, but just... blah. So I decided to flip the scene. It wasn't him doing the break in work and her walking away, it was her breaking in and him walking away. And that's how I finally got to my final version.

Final Version


Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns...
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.

 



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I love the look at the process here. I think some of those longer versions have potential for a longer flash format...

Oh my gosh, this is marvelous! Thank you for showing us the development process for your story. I've resteemed this one! Great story, too. It provides a fantastic moment in time in the midst of a much larger drama. And I agree with Bex that this has potential for a longer version.

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Thanks @jayna. That's high praise. Really appreciate it. I'm glad the process part of the post is interesting . I wasn't going to add it, but it seems like it was helpful to folks.

Cool short story and I really liked the break down of your editing process.

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Thank you @gmatthe2. I'm really glad it's useful.

You did such a great job on this. It's amazing and humbling. I can see the story that lies behind it and it, too, is amazing.

I always did have a thing for badass female MCs. You nailed it!

Oh sneaky, how very very sneaky!! Great story, nice one..

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Well you know us zombies, always super sneaky. ;-)

Great story, well written, @thinknzombie.

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Why, thank you kind @pyemoney. I appreciate you taking the time to read. The feedback is nice too. ;-)

This was AMAZING. You did great with so few words! It is so difficult for me to even get a scene in those few words. I'm practicing, but I must say you did a fantastic job with this. I loved it!

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Thanks @eroticabian. I really appreciate the kind words. These are really tough. I'm learning more about word choice from these than anything else I've written recently. They also really help to nail the internal character arc of the main character. All good skills to have. But doing that in just 50 words... it's really kicking my butt.

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I agree! It is a great exercise in finding out what you REALLY want to say or focus on. I love writing longer works, but I also love the challenge of these. I feel like it is a good practice exercise.