A to Z Challenge: Long-awaited W

Reader, you have an assignment following today’s piece. Stay tuned after reading.

WRITER – Version 1

Ringmaster P.T. Ringling juggled bowling pins on his way toward the grandstand as the two-horned Unicorn loped off stage, the spotlight dimming with its exit.

“Ladies and chain smokers,” P.T. barked over the catcalls, dodging an errant tomato fromW the house and imagining the jeers were cheers. The big top was a sellout and P.T. knew the take depended on this next act.

“Cast your eyes on the curtain behind me and prepare to stare in awe…”

Drumbeats pounded, a curtain rose, and the spotlight illuminated a solitary figure behind a desk, dipping a pen in ink and scrawling across a notepad with flourishing strokes.

Drawn-in breath from the hushed crowd, Sunday quiet, as they gazed upon a relic they’d heard about on their handsponders but had never seen in person.


WRITER – Version 2

“What the hell,” John said, “I thought R&R meant rest and relaxation.”

“They want your next chapter tonight,” his agent said, “and it’s your own fault since yesterday’s installment had too much suspense – everyone wants a resolution.”

“But the resolution they want is for my protagonist to die.”

“Yeah, that might’ve been poor planning on your part.”

John shook his head, said, “That day-after pill better work as advertised or I’ll regret signing the contract to write an autobiography murder mystery.”

His agent smirked, “I still remember the day you said you’d kill for a bestseller.”


Okay, reader, you get to vote! Scroll down to the comments answer one question: which six-sentence story above best describes the writer of the future:

Writer 1: with a citizenry that refuses to read and visits the circus to see a freak writer, OR

Writer 2: with a fan base clamoring for immediate gratification of grand storytelling.

By the way, crafting six -sentence stories has been my pleasure during the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway who created the six-word story (For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.). Each six-sentence story is about an occupation. Feel free to offer suggestions for the upcoming X-pisode. (that’s a lame mashup of episode and the letter X.) Thanks for stopping by.


23 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Long-awaited W

  1. I am praying that we writers stave off the freak show and keep people reading. Isn’t reading a great book far preferable than dealing with the madness that is this world right now? In the second one, I feel for you. I killed off a favorite character in my WUS. I couldn’t cope with it so I endured another revision to keep him breathing. So X,Y,Z and then all focus on edits, yes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, yes, then back to editing. So funny you mentioning killing off that character. I had also killed off a main character right near the end of the book. Based on feedback I received for an agent, I’ve made a major revision. While I anticipated still killing off the character, the story evolved and she survived. Never saw it coming. I’m not sure the rewrite will be any better, but she’s probably happy with it! Actually, I’m kidding, the rewrite is crazy better. That agent gave me an excellent springboard — an “aha” moment.


  2. Where’s the writer up on a pedestal with throngs of adoring fans throwing money at her?

    I think people will continue to read. But the nature of what and how they read will change [is already changing]. So my vote goes to #2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Dena, where is that writer? I had a third option, but I already felt guilty asking people to indulge me with two stories, so I shelved the six-sentence structure with the writer getting killed under the weight of his own success. It was a great way to go, but still he was gone. So gone, in fact, he didn’t make the final cut!


    1. Writers, for the most part, are introverted freaks. So I think it’d be kinda freaky to be part of a circus sideshow on display like that. Then again, that’d be a freaky existence for just about anybody. See also: Elephant Man.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm that’s tough to choose. I think I liked the first story better because it had me grinning at the end. The second story, though, has an idea that fascinates me: how far will people go to get what they want? So really, it’s just too hard to choose. Helpful? :p Also, I am a percussionist and I would be totally okay if you killed off a xylophonist since that is by far the most obnoxious percussion instrument there is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so musically inept, I would have needed multiple choice to guess that a xylophonist belongs in the percussion family. But you’ve given me an idea, so thanks…

      Oh, and yes I completely agree, it’s fascinating to explore how far a person is willing to go to get what they want. See it all the time, don’t we. Sometimes people will hurt others and sometimes they’ll hurt themselves. And sometimes you give up the very thing you’re after.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Unless you faked your death to collect the insurance, which, of course, would lead to another book deal. So while you might not be able to continue collecting insurance while you’re serving time in federal prison, you could likely collect royalty checks on your follow-up smash hit. And then, it just becomes a vicious cycle. Assuming you could continue faking your death and live forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. #2. Although I loved #1 – it’s just too scary to contemplate. That they could be a day when there’s so few of us?!! Horror story!
    X is for ‘xylographer’ – although ‘xyster-seller’ may be more ‘crime fiction’ appropriate…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I don’t want to ponder a day where there’s so few of us and everything is formulaic enough for robots to write it all.

      Oh, Kae, you’ve got me reaching for my dictionary with those suggestions! Nice.


  5. John, I couldn’t resist checking out your stories for this letter, and I wasn’t disappointed. 😀 I find “Ladies and chain smokers,” hilarious, but I loved reading both versions. I would have to go with #2 as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always love a good non sequitur, and Ladies and chain smokers seemed to fit the bill. Thanks for noticing! This month is exhausting me, but it’s been a blast at the same time.


  6. Mmmm… good stories, and an interesting dilemma. I’m not sure I like either. If #2 simply means writers will have to be better at their craft, then I’m all for that. But if it means writers will pander more to what the market wants as opposed to writing the story that’s on their hearts and minds, then no thanks. Perhaps that would make me a #1. With a side of fries. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kinda laid out one desolate future or another. It’s like when you put your protagonist in a spot where he can go left for a death threat or right to harm his spouse. Or the short story where a train engineer sees his young son on the tracks and must choose between saving his son or risking the lives of everyone aboard the train. Yecchh.

      I musta been feeling down and exhausted when I wrote W late last night. On to happier times with X … maybe.


    1. Bizarre as it sounds, I love when someone doesn’t like something because I can look at it with an eye to improve. It gives me something to examine, which is great. So thanks for throwing that my way, Angie. I’m gonna re-visit the story and see if I can decipher what would change that aspect for you and see if it’ll improve the story.

      Also, thanks for noticing the rhythm in number 2. I love rhythm, and it’s why I read everything aloud before I post it, so I can get a sense of the rhythm and make sure it’s in there. Definitely went for rhythm in my X entry, due out in a matter of hours. That said, rhythm is a tough customer when you lock yourself into the six-sentence format. Still gotta get a story in there!


  7. I’d choose your two options over farenheit 451 any day. I tend to prefer option no1, than 2. In no2, writing feels more like an obligation than anything else. And the writer seems to be quite restricted in his writing and the mapping of his own story. In no1, writing’s rare, but at least it’s not generic. It’s in the spotlight.


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