Friday, May 21, 2010

Larry and the Last Line

My husband and I took the tortoises to the vet for a check-up.  It was the first time for all of us, and I don't know who was more upset, the tortoises or us.  Really, it was more of a toss-up between Larry and myself.  At one point, Larry was so nervous, he pulled so far into his shell, you couldn't even see his head.  But it all worked out fine in the end, and by the time we were on the way home, he was out and walking around the carrying tub.

The whole experience got me thinking about a particular story I'm working on.  I'm happy with it overall...except for the last line.  It just doesn't work.  I don't know why, but it just doesn't.  The line is there, though - in the back of my mind, hiding in the story's shadows, waiting in its shell until it's safe to come out and walk around.  I've learned that prying it out when it's nervous and scared, when it's not ready, doesn't do anybody any good. 

So, I wait.  I tempt it by changing the word order, by trying out other words, by scratching my original idea and coming up with something new.  So far, nothing has worked.  But I know that, just like Larry, my last line will eventually emerge, stretch its legs and find a comfortable place to settle down...right at the end of my story.

Anyone else have any ideas for how to coax out a line or a scene?  (Chocolate only works on the author...)


  1. A great line might end up being the beginning of a new story? I always read my stories out loud. If I stumble while reading it, then I know it needs work. Too bad we can't feed our stories chocolate!

  2. If I fed my hint and flash fiction chocolate, would they then get so big as to bust out of their confines (word limit/pages) and become a full-blown novel? :)