Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week Seven: April 12th - April 18th (Extended)

So... I had missed quite a few more entries than I had thought since I was on temporary hiatus. So to attempt to make up for it, I have decided to try something a little new. I had reported in the beginning that some weeks, I would just repost "remastered or revamped" versions of previous short stories (seeing as how I don't do much in the form of editing before posting). Well, to try and make up for those missed weeks, I have decided to not only post two short stories this week, but unveil a new reader interactive project, where you guys get to delve your creative hands into the story. "Echoes", although my first story, turned out to be my favorite of the first three. As such, I have decided to use it as a sort of bargaining chip to make up for the lost time previously. I have fixed up the short story a little bit, and here's the thing. YOU get to chose how I issue a final copy. Let me try to break it down for you.

(NOTE: Read the second story BEFORE reading the below text)
Echoes V Echoes 2.0
I have severely (I'd like to think the change warrants the use of that word to be honest) altered the ending of the story. What I want to know is which ending you prefer? The sublime ending of the first? Or the despaired ending of the second? Also, something else that was changed with the story was my formatting. Because the second installment of the story was dragged out much longer then it originally had been, I have chopped it up into several paragraphs. Now the question is, should I end each paragraph with a "[Blank], is the [Blank] that [Blank]'s" like both installments do? Or is the current set up still suitable? My favorite part of the short story are those transitions, and I would assume the viewers as well. Now looking back at that question, does the length of the first installment of the story (The wind) seem too short, in comparison to the second part (The artist)? Or does it still flow evenly? I leave it in your willing hands my friends.

Echoes 2.0

Woeful, is the wind that first sounds the horns of fall’s arrival. The landscape is harsh: hilly and densely forested; so devoid of any sign of civilization, one might wonder if man had ever set foot in it. The terrain matters not to the wind, who changes its run to a crawl with a fluid ease that never skips a beat. Leaves cling to the wind – hitching a ride for a short while – before departing to the forest floor. The wind somberly goes about its way, until it finally bursts out of the forest into a clearing. Standing in the middle of the field, a hill abruptly rises from the earth; a white cube rests on the top of the mound, its shadow never reaching the tree line. The wind quickens its pace, racing now towards the box with no openings to be seen. Upon contact, the wind spirals up the cube, circling the structure twice before reaching the top. Slowly running its fingers along the flat roof, the wind says its farewell, and shoots back down the hill. Solemn, is the wind that never looks back.

Weary, is the hand scratching heavy lines into the paper. Sitting back, the man stares at his drawing for a moment before looking around his room. Walls, ceiling and floor are all white, with no sign of entry or exit to be seen. His protection from the outside world. A single wall is marked by a picture covered with a piece of cloth. A small desk, a rocking chair, and a stack of papers are the only other objects to be seen inside. Turning back to his picture, the man slowly moves closer and sketches tiny hearts onto the bodies of the people he has drawn.
Suddenly, the pictures begin to move with life. Flexing fingers incredulously, and then throwing out cheers, the figures joyfully start to march around their new world. A father, drawn in the artists liking, a gorgeous wife, and a handsome son hug each other, and head into a house drawn for them to start their lives together. The man stares at his work fondly, and smiles for awhile. Hours pass, but eventually his bold grin starts to melt from his face. Sighing, he flips his pencil around, and begins to erase them; his ears deaf to their tiny screams and pleads.
Wiping away the sullied flakes of eraser, the man walks over to the hanging painting, and gingerly removes the sheet covering it. The painting shows him painted in perfect detail, with his right arm wrapped around the most beautiful woman in the world, and his left placed firmly on a boys shoulder. Unlike the stagnant white of the room, the white of their smiles seemed to dull the rest in comparison. His wife, and his son stood in a painting with him; his smile announced to the world that he wasn't afraid to tell it that he was happy – to tell the world that things were perfect. Resting his eyes, the artist leans back in his chair, and starts to regain his smile.
The man starts to think about his family, until like the vehicle that night, his thought process goes off course. Throwing himself from his rocking chair, he can still see the bright headlights of the semi leaving blurry blue spheres in his vision. Tears jump down his face as he leaps forward towards the portrait, with his pencil in hand. Furiously, the man scribbles hearts onto the chests of the characters. Faded sections of the canvas tell us that this isn't the first time he has tried. He stands on his knees, begging the people in the portrait to return to him, but as always, they just stare right past him. Falling, is the man who can never forget.


  1. I like the ending of the second story, even though I love “Regretful is the man who hides from the living,” I think it is more impactful that he as an artist tries to use his drawing pencil to fix the past.
    Definitely keep "[Blank], is the [Blank] that [Blank]'s" to finish each SECTION, not each paragraph.
    I did have to readjust after I transferred from the second to the third paragraph, because I was expecting a new section of the story. Maybe other readers do not experience that need to readjust, .. it actually just might be me.
    I would try adding another paragraph after the first wind paragraph… BUT I think that the “Upon contact, the wind spirals up the cube, circling the structure twice before reaching the top… Solemn is the wind that never looks back.” Should be at the bottom of the second paragraph. (because I love how that enclosed box parallels the enclosed room the artist is in)

  2. I wholeheartedly side with Echoes 2.0. I really enjoyed the more in depth descriptions in this revamped version. This is my favorite sentence: "Sighing, he flips his pencil around, and begins to erase them; his ears deaf to their tiny screams and pleads." Copacetic.

    Should I end each paragraph with a "[Blank], is the [Blank] that [Blank]'s": No. I prefer this one. I feel like having this in there too many times would make it seem less powerful.