Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Unfinished stories -- first lines

I'm taking a leaf out of matociquala's book[*] and posting a bunch of first lines here in an attempt to get one or other of them moving again. These are from stories that are either languishing half finished, are barely even started, or have been rejected and need a quick look over before going out again. They're approximately in order of newest to oldest, the newest having been started just a couple of weeks ago while the oldest goes back at least 10 years.

Short stories:

No dwarf should ever have to wear pink.

Nuri smoothed the front of her floral dress, only too aware of how her body was softening and losing muscle in her new job. A few stray crumbs from her meagre breakfast fell to the floor, but she didn't have time to sweep up now. Her father would do the dishes and clean the house once she and her mother had gone out to work.

(As yet untitled, dwarf miners short version)

"All aboard!" Darren cried. He blew his whistle and the plaintive phee-eep echoed around the damp car park, bouncing back from the red brick walls of the cafe and conveniently positioned toilets.

(Heart's Desire)


Melanie ignored her daughter's cry and marched straight towards the automatic doors of the supermarket, trundling the pushchair in front of her. She hadn't the time or the energy to play games.

(As yet untitled, escape to faerie story)

So this was the man she had come to kill? From her hiding place behind the door, Melanna watched Alphonse Augustino enter his music room.

(Alingard Variations)

Hot sun glinted briefly on sleek black fur as the cat stopped, one paw raised. Siwsi, watching from the speckled shade of a huge oak, slid into its mind, as easily as a swimmer slips into sun-warmed water.

(Witch's Cat)

I'd found myself a place comfortably in the middle of the rows of seats. Not on the front row -- I didn't want to look conspicuous -- but not at the back either; I didn't want anyone to think I was trying to hide.

(Video Diary)

Lari heard the scrape of flint on steel, saw a shower of sparks light up the darkness. Something glowed, smouldered, then light flared further down the main tunnel as a torch blazed into life. His nostrils caught the acrid smell of smoke.

(Vicious Circle)

"Doesn't it freak you out?"

"What?" Meeshel looked up from her final adjustments of the Echo[TM] Psi-field Detector.

"Talking to the dead." The bodyguard had his back to her. He wore body armour -- as did Meeshel -- and cradled an automatic rifle in his arms. Inner city areas were hell to work in.

(The New Book of the Dead)

Once upon a time, when fairies still walked freely amongst human kind, when they mingled in the crowd on market days, and sometimes asked the aid of human midwives, there lived a fairy maiden called Briallen.

(Briallen and Gorse)

I was late coming from work that night. If I'd left at my usual time, I would never have seen them, and then God only knows what would have happened.

(The Devil's Timepiece)

A wave broke right over the bow of the ship. Dark water and pale foam poured down the deck. The weight of it nearly dragged Nikhal from his seat; the cold of it took his breath away.


Without moving a muscle, without even a flicker of an eyelid, Karys slipped from deep dreamless sleep to complete wakefulness.

(To think only of vengeance)


Blood oozed over Huw's hand. A slowing stream trickled down his wrist and soaked into the sleeve of his shirt.

(A Necessary Evil)

"Is that it?"

(As yet untitled, Stonehenge Abduction novel)

Some (if not most!) of these are probably no-hopers in terms of publication, but I want to get into the habit of finishing things properly, not writing half a story and then leaving it to languish for years. Even if they're not strong enough to sell, making them as strong as that story can be will be good practice. It should also help me look at beginnings, middles and ends and enable me to better see how one relates to the other, something that's difficult to do with novels because they're so big and I spend so long on just one story.

I want writing to be fun. Some of these were abandoned because I thought they were too slight to sell (there's that word again!), but so what? Until they're absolutely finished, how will I know that? I take photos that are rather blah straight out of the camera, but sometimes they can be tweaked in Photoshop and turn out to be some of my most popular. My big problem is that the ideas that seems so shiny and attractive when they first pop into my mind seem flat and trite when I start to get them down in words. The execution never seems to match the inspiration. Then, when it comes to the point of really working on a story to push it past the sticking point, I've got into the bad habit of abandoning it and rushing to the next new and shiny thing.

So basically my current writing target is to get as many of these as possible out of the Ongoing folder and into the Finished folder. They may end up in the Virtual Trunk rather than the For submission folder, but at least they'll be complete stories, not fragments.

[*] Actually my mother used to do this too, though in her case it was sewing projects. She did a lot of sewing but the less urgent things would sometimes languish in the "just cut out" or "cut out and tacked together" or "sewed up but needs zip, buttons and hemming" stages. Every so often, she'd decide to have a blitz on unfinished projects.

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