Friday, July 17, 2009

Hit Me

Hey everyone - my little flash fiction piece is getting some kind reviews over at Clarity of Night, but I'd love to get my bloggy lovers' thoughts.

I appreciate everyone's comments. I'm not satisfied with this as a flash-fiction piece, but quite pleased with it as a writing exercise in general.

What do y'all think about how much showing v. telling there was? I was really trying to hit that; it's a hard distinction for me. Thoughts?

by Aerin Rose

Twenty-two hours from San Francisco to Kathmandu. Four hours until the layover in Hong Kong. Caelin will have finished grading papers by then. She arches her back, stretching, then wiggles her toes, and catches the eye of the flight attendant.

“More, please.” She indicates the travel-sized wineglass. The remaining ruby droplets glisten in the spotlight of her reading lamp. The attendant nods from the galley.

“You realize that’s basically grape juice?” Chloe peers around the headrest as her business class bed reverts to its upright position.

“It’s a second growth Bordeaux and you know it, O Queen Food Critic,” Caelin retorts. “How’d you sleep?”

“Not well. Looks like fourteen bottles of questionable Bordeaux didn’t help you sleep, either.”


“And nervous. What if she hates us?”

“Sweetheart.” Caelin strokes her wife’s cheek as Chloe unfolds the passport she’s been clutching. A little girl with dark eyes and copper skin gazes at them, unsmiling and unafraid. “She liked us well enough before. Any kid will hate her parents at some point. Let’s just focus on getting her home.”

The flight attendant materializes with the bottle of Ch√Ęteau Cos-d'Estournel 1989, which streams like scarlet silk into the stemware.

“Like the orphanage is going to let her come home when you show up drunk,” Chloe teases, leaning close. Caelin smiles into her spouse’s black curls. Points of light play on the surface of her wine, casting images against the back of the seat in a rosy haze. 


  1. I liked the writing very much, and I think you did well with showing, not telling. The only quibble I had in that regard was the "Chloe teases, leaning close." The dialogue communicated that she was teasing, so I think you could omit the speech attribute and have Chloe just lean in. (Also, maybe add some sensory input there--the smell of her hair?)

    My main reservation about the piece was actually the fact that it didn't gel for me as a story. I understand what these women are doing, but the scene has no turning point (i.e. nothing changes.) That said, it does work well as a slice-of-life piece, a nicely captured moment.

    I particularly liked the "streams like scarlet silk" line, by the way. Well done!

  2. Phew, glad you posted it here. Thought I'd have to go over there, then I'd feel guilty about only critting yours and then I'd have to do everybody else's, and then it would be three in the morning...

    But anyway. Definitely very nice writing. The sensory detail is largely visual, so as JJ suggested, you could think about adding a little more. I thought the balance of show vs tell was good. However, while it's intriguing, it did read more as the start of a longer piece than as a standalone. Hope that helps!

  3. Very nice, Aerin! There are so many entries I just haven't read most of them, even my blog pals. So I'm glad you posted it here, too.

  4. I really like this too. I read it on the Clarity of Night site, but didn't comment, sorry. I think you have a great balance of showing v telling -- I wouldn't change anything!

  5. Here's how good it is: I didn't notice it was in present tense until I read through the comments here. That's skill!

    Loved the level of detail you added. Very excellently done!

  6. Congrats on the Honorable Mention!

    I liked it so much I voted for it!

  7. Drinking while grading papers? Tut tut :)



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