Wednesday, March 26, 2014

 

Writing Retreat Ends with "Hayfields"

My wife gave me a fantastic Christmas present this year: permission to go away on my own writing retreat. I picked a location, loaded up my popcorn and veggie drinks, and disappeared. 

My goal was to have time to pray and write on a collection of short stories I’m wanting to get published in 2014. Over the course of those three days, I managed to edit and rewrite 13 short stories. I wrote one completely new story and I left with only one left to edit and update. When I’m done, the collection will have 15 short stories in it from my first effort in 1982 to my most recent short story. 

All of the stories have a character or theme in them connected to my home town of Ash Grove. Most of the stories include events that I actually experienced. Although the book will be fiction, the collection seems autobiographical. And yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I can’t promise the same for the guilty.

I ended my retreat today by finishing my short story “Hayfields.” When I wrote it in college it was named “Cornfields” but I always felt like it was missing some things. So I altered the main character, shifted his farming interest to baling hay because I know more about that, and changed the ending of the story. I wrote the last paragraph before leaving my retreat: “The sun sinking lowly into purple clouds hesitated for a moment. He looked up briefly, and as he did a glint of pink sunlight flashed momentarily off the little 1939 Prize Hay tack on the brim of his cap. It was good to be adventurous sometimes, especially in pursuit of a passion.”

Be watching for “Short Stories from the Ash Grove” in 2014.

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