Lost to the Sea -- Fifty word short

in #fiftywords3 years ago


Lost to the Sea Titlecard.jpg
Public Domain painting by Dutch artist Johannes Christiaan Schotel. Original painting was modified by me.


Storm-strained sails threatened to break the mast. Olandir remained resolute. A surge knocked him to the deck.

Clouds rolled overhead, mirroring the darkness of the tossing sea where Rán eagerly spread her net below. Olandir reached out for the helm.

This attempt to round the cape would be his last.




This fifty word short story was written for @jayna's latest prompt: "break." I've enjoyed these writing exercises in the past and was exited for this one as I get back into a rhythm of posting on Steemit.

Why this is such a great exercise isn't because you can throw together a quick little fifty word vignette, hit post, and call it good. It's because making your original idea into the best fifty word short takes work. You cut words getting down to the core of what you're after and try to do more than paint a picture--you capture a pivotal moment. With this prompt, I instantly thought of a ship tossed in a storm and a mast snapping into splinters. But of course, a good story focuses on characterization, and I imagined the breaking going on in that sailor's spirit.

This version of the story is probably my fourth rendition. Maybe fifth? After a couple of live-edit sessions with @jasminearch, @anikekirsten, and @bex-dk I rewound the time-frame, restructured the narrative, and shifted through a couple of different emotional possibilities for the story. Along the way things got tighter, I had to cut a couple of words or a line I thought I really liked, but in the end--with some help--I think I found the best version.

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Great work. Both story and painting. I too am loving the push to really make that 50 word story the best it possibly can be. My husband does not comprehend how it can take me that many hours to fix a story so short...

After you've done a couple edits you start thinking "if only I could have fifty more words!" But that would ruin the exercise. It almost seems like it would be easier with more words. I'm very excited to take this short and expand it tenfold... of course, then maybe I'll be thinking "if only I could have five-hundred more."

Yup. It will be an interesting challenge. See if we can get the depth without turning them into novels... I'd like to stay under 1000.

Love that image AK. Awesome!

Thanks zombie! The original had two ships in it, but that wouldn't work for the story, so I just got rid of one. 😁

This is an intense and powerful story, @aksounder. I have read it several times, just imagining what such an event would be like in real life.

How wonderful that you guys are supporting one another with edits. Those folks are some of the best editors I have ever met!

Thank you Jayna! I took a look back at the version I thought I was going to settle on as my final, but this one is sooo much better. Good editing is paramount and I know those three appriciate your kind compliment.

The fifty word exercises are so much fun and a tight packed challenge. I'm thinking of expanding this one into a longer flash fiction, but also look forward to next week's.

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That is one of the little perks of a 50-word story. It can spark a much longer one, sometimes bringing into consciousness a whole reality that needs to be explored, like the world beyond the wardrobe.

VERY intense and amazing story in such a short little bit of words. Great job!