Closure – The Process

Closure is story number seventeen in the #52ShortStories challenge.

**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**

When you swing for the fences, it’s easy to take your eyes off the ball.

My goal in this story was to stretch, stretch, and stretch some more in order to write a “relationship story.” I wanted to focus on the dynamics of an unhappy relationship and what that meant to someone who was brought out of it through somewhat shocking circumstances.

Needless to say, that’s so far outside of my wheelhouse as to practically be a solar system or two away.

It’s exactly why I needed to do it.

Part of this challenge isn’t just to meet a story quota but to learn. Failure is a great teacher, and my first reader made it pretty clear that I fell flat on this one.

My problem? Lack of likable characters.

There was no one really to root for here. If I were to come back and rewrite this story, I’d turn Dominic and Anita’s relationship into more of a friendship. Dominic would be so devoted his friend that he could easily have put her life ahead of his, but to have them married seemed to turn Dominic into more of an over-the-top martyr.

Anyway, as Dean Wesley Smith recommends, I’ve taken note and now I’ll move on. There’s always the next story. No need to go back and revise a mistake to death and increase the potential of sucking any remaining life out of the tale.

Here’s the general scratch file:

And the daily journal entries. I skipped many days due to studying for a certification exam, so this one took a two-week time span to finish:


4 thoughts on “Closure – The Process

  1. This is exactly the sort of story I struggle with too. I thought you did quite a good job, especially considering how far it is from your comfort zone.

    My beta readers always ask for more detail on character relationships, and I always try to avoid writing it because it’s really uncomfortable for me. Credit to you for tackling it head-on.

    1. Thanks for the supporting words, Berthold. I guess we can only get better by continually facing our fears!

  2. Don’t forget that it’s often the reader that determines if characters are likeable… you just need to give them glimpses that allow the, to interpret based on their own experiences and shortcomings. I get what you are saying about the marriage potentially being over the top, but it’s a short story, not a novel, so maybe it needed to be ramped up to get things across. Personally I thought Barbara was the least likeable. She was the one who didn’t seem sensitive to Dominic’s situation.

    1. Man, great points all across Colin. What you said in the first sentence is the exact reason I didn’t do a last-minute, late-night revision. And yup, Barbara was definitely insensitive about the whole thing!

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