A to Z Challenge: I


Investigator Zambrano shifted his weight in the chair, striving for comfort in an uncomfortable situation. Worst part of the job.

“No easy way to say this, ma’am, except to tell you we located your car, and the man inside, in the driver’s seat, he was killed. He had -”

“NoNoNoNoNo,” Patricia said, speaking over the detective as if drowning him out would change the facts.

“Happened quickly, he didn’t suffer, evidence at the scene tells us.” Zambrano taking liberties with the evidence now, being in the business of investigation but also the business of making the best of a bad situation.


This isn’t a story, of course. It’s a six-sentence excerpt from my work in progress. I’ve spent virtually the entire day reworking the ending to my manuscript, it’s after midnight, and I don’t have an “I” story for the A2Z Challenge. Sadly, I also don’t have an ending for my manuscript yet either. Closer, but I’ll rework it again. Hemingway, the reason I’m doing six-sentence stories for this challenge, rewrote the final chapter of Farewell to Arms 44 times. “To get the words right,” he said. So I still have several words to fix in mine.

But hey, I do have an Investigator in my story. Hence, the excerpt above. This is a scene where he’s beginning to investigate a homicide and doesn’t realize until it’s too late that he’s talking to the victim’s wife.

Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for putting up with me. I’ll get back on track for J. Although I do have a snarky character in my manuscript named Julian. Unfortunately, he’s a carpenter, and we’ve already sailed that C.




19 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: I

  1. Now I want to know what happens! Dang it. Hurry up and finish that thing, will ya? 🙂

    What you say above is exactly why I didn’t submit to the A-Z challenge. I’m running full speed towards the end of the current WIP. 98K in, and it will likely go to 120K. I like overwriting the mark so when I have to kill those darlings, I have the room to do so without it being so painful. Of course I’ll be adding words as I edit. Give/take/give/take. I’m hoping to finish in a couple weeks, then it’s head down editing. Deadlines are…killing me. Is this why they’re called…deadlines? Ba da bum! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! I love a good pun. Heck, I even love a bad pun!

      See, you have somebody important tossing deadlines at you. I only have self-imposed deadlines so far. In your shoes, I probably wouldn’t be dumb enough to do this challenge either. But in my shoes, apparently I’m still on the dumb side. I think I’ve written 200K to finish at 85K … and still counting. Grrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dena. It amazes — no, saddens — me how many of my favorites lines have been nixed by my editing pen. I’m reminded by a card that hangs in my office quoting Kurt Vonnegut: “Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character or advance the action.”

      Indeed, entire chapters have fallen!


  2. Ah yes, the combining of editing with the A-Z challenge. That was my last week’s method. Now I am slowly slipping into madness. I hope I really can win a copy of your manuscript one of these days. Why is the man dead? Who was he? I need to know. Back to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Down that path, madness lies.

      But that’s the path to editing.

      I didn’t say not to go down that path. I’m just warning you madness awaits.

      Small comfort, El, I’m sure, but know that you have company!


  3. Ah, yes, the madness of revising. But, as the subheader on Janet’s blog said a week or so ago – All writers are mad, even if they don’t all start out that way. Revision is one reason for that.

    Excuse me – I need to get back to my revision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would never have known how much revising was in my future. Maybe if I wrote a better first draft, I wouldn’t have so much revising! But it’s been a tremendously enjoyable process for me.


  4. Cool little snippet from your WiP, John. Certainly intriguing. Hopefully the A-to-Z is inspiring you to the finish line! 🙂

    Characters in my flash fiction also tend to have a lower than average life expectancy, it seems!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I owe you (which is not to say “blame” you) for getting into the A to Z challenge. I’d never heard of it before, but I’m really enjoying it. In fact, it’s on to J right now. Janitor? Jockey? Hmmm…


    1. Hey, thanks, M. You were spot on as it turned out. I hit the trails with my dog yesterday and FINALLY worked out the ending. Now, of course, it has to work on paper as well as it was working in my head.


  5. You worked out the ending?! AWESOME!!! CONGRATS!!!
    Surely it’s easier once it’s worked out, yeh? It’s just a matter of getting those words right – like in Farewell to Arms. (Which I heard was 27 times, not 44…!)
    Anyway, congratulations again!


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