I write fiction, too. And I’m entering a contest.

You may notice that I’m expanding my subject matter lately. I’ve added more pieces on the arts and culture, and you can look forward to a new series of interviews with notable creative and visionary people who inspire me.

And, I am working on my fiction. Yep.

I’ve entered a contest to see if my main character’s voice is strong enough that a panel of experts can guess his age. Today, I’m to post the first 250 words of the story on my blog for the other entrants to see, and submit a copy to the judges. This is actually the beginning of one of my favorite short stories, but I can’t tell you the name yet, or I’ll break the contest rules.

I figure it’s time to open up my work to more criticism, hopefully of the supportive type. I just know I can make it better. So if you’re one of my regular readers, please, send me your thoughts. I care what you think. And if you’re a new visitor, welcome. I’m happy to have you, and I welcome your feedback as well…

And now, here is the beginning of my story…

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Mr. Mooney was in a very bad mood.  Driving home from work on the crowded West Side Highway north towards the Henry Hudson Bridge, he heard a funny clacking sound coming from under the hood that sounded suspiciously like the sound he heard the last time he brought the car into the shop.  Damn that mechanic.  I know he’s ripping me off, he thought.  You just can’t trust anyone.

Alexander Mooney was never one to require reassurance or a softening of hard edges.  He liked his lights harsh, his desk clean, and his coffee on time.  So when his gal Rosemary hadn’t shown up that morning until nearly 9:20 with his morning brew, he knew this was going to be a particularly shitty day.

Rosemary was very efficient, pretty, and cheerful enough, but she had three children between the ages of 7 and 17, and something was always going wrong with one of them.  If she hadn’t been so good at typing and shorthand, or hadn’t been in the habit of wearing particularly tight blouses (with what must have been a brassiere made of gauze for all the good it did her), he would have given her the boot a long time ago.  The girl simply missed too many days of work.  It was always something – one kid with the chicken pox, the other one who cracked his front tooth during a sporting match, and then that oldest girl with her mysterious female troubles – infection, or some such thing…

Photo courtesy of sampsyo


9 Comments to “I write fiction, too. And I’m entering a contest.”

  1. I’m guessing mid to late 30’s

  2. Hmmm… I won’t say yet. But this is interesting feedback. I’ll wait until after the contest is over.
    I’ll jump on your blog later with a comment. Loved your beginning…

  3. Hmm…At first I wanted to say 30s, but as I read on he sounded like an older man, maybe in his 50s. (Mostly because he used the word “gal”.)

  4. I read an older man too–50s or even 60s. Also from the use of the word “gal,” but then he went and used the word “brassiere.” That’s an old-fashioned term for sure! His general attitude toward women was also a bit condescending in a casual way, making it sound like he’s from an era when that sort of discrimination was common. I’m sort of curious about Mr. Mooney, actually…would want to read more about this seemingly straight-edged guy. 🙂

  5. Yeah, I’m going to agree that he’s at least 50, if not 60. He is very old-fashioned in mindset and rather curmudgeony, so he’s up there. He’s got a very strong voice.

  6. Love all this feedback. I will definitely post his actual age after the contest! In the meantime, I will say, these notes are extremely helpful, and have already given me some ideas on how to further illustrate Mr. Mooney’s character through his language. THANKS SO MUCH!! -Deborah

  7. I am going to guess around 54. lots of old-fashioned language and there’s just something about the way he waits for Rosemary to arrive. I really do like the way this reads and Mr. Mooney is a very strong character. Great read. I really enjoyed it.

  8. Thanks for everyone’s guesses and comments! I’m happy to say my piece was chosen as one of the semi-finalists!
    I do have to thank you all for your input, as I took it and made a few changes to the final manuscript before I sent it. You can see the final version on Brenda’s site here: http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/2011/12/semi-finalist-3.html
    Oh, and Mr. Mooney is 70 years old.

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