Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BACK TO BASICS (02/16/17)
TITLE: My Story
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Blink - blink - blink - blink – blink
He looked down at the word he had written on the blue sticky pad in front of him. “Bright,” he muttered to himself. He threw up his hands and rolled his eyes, “Who comes up with these words?”
He took a deep breath, uttered a short prayer, and huffed. “Ok. Time to brainstorm.” Brax typed.
“the sun, headlights, flashlights, the moon?”
“people can be bright”
“an executive, geek, teacher”
“let’s go with a computer geek.”
Brax erased the first few lines and brainstormed more about a computer geek. He opened a desk drawer and pulled out a checklist of basic things to keep in mind while writing the story. He looked back at the screen as a story developed in his head.
He typed out the first paragraph. It was always hard for Brax to get started, but he pushed through it. He read it over, and then consulted the page next to him, “Did the entry start well?”
He read the introduction again. “Ugh!” he said. “I don’t even want to keep reading, and I wrote it!” Brax changed his introduction several times. Satisfied for the moment, he plowed forward. After about two paragraphs, things flowed a little smoother. He kept typing.
Abruptly, he stopped. He looked at his cheat sheet, “How creative is the entry?” He looked at the screen, then down at the page, “Does the entry fit the topic?”
He put his head in his hands and moaned, “Why did I pick a computer geek? Everyone knows what a computer geek does. Nothing I’m saying stands out – and, ‘bright?’ Will anyone get the idea that he is bright?”
Brax pushed the chair away from the desk, got up, went to the kitchen, and poured a cup of coffee. He sipped it carefully so he wouldn’t burn his mouth. The coffee was cold. He stuck it in the microwave and started it.
An idea came to him. He hustled back to his computer and typed furiously. The microwave beeped in the background, but Brax didn’t notice.
He typed and typed. It flowed smoothly. “Yes!” That was another one of his checklist points. Brax’s fingers pounded the keyboard. He leaned forward, eagerly getting the story out as fast as he could.
“John, the computer geek, looked up without turning his head. Deliberately, he took off his dark-rimmed glasses and smiled a sly smile. Melody stepped back, shocked. It had been John the whole time. The end.”
Brax made his computer geek into an undercover spy at the United Nations. In the end, he wasn’t a geek at all, but the classic James-Bond-cool-dude. Brax glanced at his list, “Is it well-crafted and predictable?” Another item read, “Does it come to a satisfactory conclusion?”
“Oh, man! This is so clichéd and predictable!”
He noticed a bunch of red squiggly lines. Sometimes, he just typed too fast. He saw the word “analist.”
“I spelled analist wrong?” he thought.
It looked wrong to him, but he couldn’t figure out why. Brax moved his mouse over the word and right-clicked. “Analyst” popped up as the correct spelling. “That’s right.” He loved his word processor!
Over and over he read the story, changing something each time. He checked off another one of the items on the checklist, “Is the entry clearly written?”
“I hope so,” he grumbled.
Then Brax glanced down at the word count. His eyes popped out of his head as he leaned forward to make sure he saw it right. “1479.”
“What! 1479! Oh, no. What am I going to do? How am I going to cut it back to 750?”
The next day Brax sat down with his story again. For the next two and a half hours he toiled over it. Writing too much was a constant problem for Brax. To top it all, it took him three times longer to reduce his stories than it took to write them!
He did it, though. He cut and combined and changed it one piece at a time until it was shorter.
“Finished,” he said. He looked at the last item on the checklist, “How publishable is the entry?” Brax had no way to gauge this item. It didn’t matter, though. He sat back and smiled. He wrote it, and liked it. The story was his.
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