A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thain

Any closet novelists, short story writers, script-writers or prose poets out there?
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A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thain

Post by camus » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:23 pm

I have a story to tell of sorts. It is roughly composed of: Exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, and denouement, but only roughly, for I realised that to facilitate each element of traditional plot structure in such a confined environment, is reet difficult! It concerns nothing in particular and no one of any substance. It is fuzzy around the edges, blurred in the middle but it does finish at the end.

I remember well the day it didn’t really begin, for I had lost one half of my favourite pair of socks, hence I was irked. I hastily wrote a poem about it called:

Shall I compare thee to a sock?

Yes I shall.
Once of a pair,
you tumbled away,
lost yourself
purposely.
It came out
In the wash
you’re much
darker than
presumed,
a loner, a
mismatched
heretic of the
sole.

I then put on a less agreeable pair and consequentially walked the earth wretchedly for the rest of the day, much like Caine from Kung Fu, only less focused.

I walked down a road and heard an old chip shop sign groan in the grey breeze and later on in a greener place I saw cows skipping like lambs, which I found incomprehensible. Then I sat down on a convenient bench and took out my sandwiches from my rucksack. They were normal sandwiches, and I consumed them with little enthusiasm. Then I struck up a smoke, like a cowboy.

I remember thinking: The mundanity of waking up and of going to sleep and of the minutiae in-between is what life is all about! Then I wept.

With weeping came an Ocular migraine (I presume this was entirely coincidental.) They start in the centre of one’s eye with a slight blurring of vision, and then continue to expand with what is known as “an aura” which involves flashing lights and blind spots, shapes of all inconsistencies, eventually rendering one half-blind.

Whilst consumed within my Ocular migraine attack, sat on the convenient bench, I could do nothing but try to focus on something central within the haze.

I saw beneath me an ant pushing a ball of nectar (at least 20 times his size) up a muddy incline. Each time he reached the top, the incline was such that the angle tipped him back and he rolled back down to the bottom again with his nectar intact. He attempted this at least 10 times, and then on his final roll back into the abyss was crunched in half by a rabid stag beetle.

That little anvil-headed communist, that miniature Sisyphus; tried and failed, spectacularly. I had nothing but pure love in my heart for him, an admiration that almost overwhelmed me; attempting a task both laborious and ultimately futile.

I threw my remaining sandwiches into the gauze bush behind, hoping that the local badgers weren’t picky about piccalilli and thought:

I shall aim to fail spectacularly, and that’s the best I can do.
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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by David » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:58 pm

Milliganesque? It's very funny in places, and quite touching in other places, but it's a bit too facetious for me at times. Still, that's all in the mix I suppose.

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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by camus » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:34 pm

Thanks David,

Really appreciated as it's my first foray into short story writing and I'm looking for hard crit! Basically I'm entering a local short story comp with the chance to win a free writing course.

So:
but it's a bit too facetious for me at times
If you could elaborate, that would be splendid, don't hold back!

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K
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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by David » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:03 pm

Okay! But it's sunny outside at the moment ...

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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by camus » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:26 pm

Not in here it isn't!

Of course, all in your own time, as and when.

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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by David » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:56 pm

Actually, I could go through this, separating the good (of which there is some, IMO) from the bad (of which there is some, IMO), but on the whole I think it's too self-reflective, too arch and too ironic. This is basically just throat-clearing, isn't it?

I think you'd be better off going the traditional route, and really having a start, a middle and an end. That's what the judges will be looking for, I suspect, but in only 500 words what they'll really be looking for will be a voice. Your usual one will do just fine, especially in a mere 500 words - just an anecdote from a Thain holiday, night out, or other adventure ought to fit the bill.

Make them think "we want to hear more of this voice". I reckon you can do it.

Disclaimer: I have never won a short story competition. But i have read a few good ones.

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Re: A man of no consequence – 500 Word Short story by K Thai

Post by camus » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:30 pm

Thanks David,

Yes I took the road of most resistance, purposely, ironic and indeed self-reflective.

Why? because I thought it may be a different road to the other candidates and may stand out.

Is that a good thing? On reflection and after your comments:
I think you'd be better off going the traditional route, and really having a start, a middle and an end. That's what the judges will be looking for, I suspect
Probably not!

Still, I may take my chances, there may be a self-reflecting, ironic, trendy teacher into Camus. That said it is Grimsby, so maybe not.

Much appreciated and really just clarified my own thoughts on the matter.

I've got until May the 28th. I might scrap it completely and write a children's short story about my dog. Moog. I have quite few ideas: One where she is carried off by ants (ants again) one where she has to wear glasses, a hearing aid and walk with a stick fashioned from gravy bones and another where she elopes to Doncaster with a sloth.

We'll see.

Thanks again
Kris
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