Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

The TUFFest Ride (Part 1 of 5)

Okay, I wasn’t one of the five writers selected by the judges for this TUFFest ride; however I was shortlisted and have been encouraged by Charli to participate… so here goes.


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“We begin the TUFFest Ride with a free-write. You have five days to draft 297 words to the prompt: mudslide. Your technical challenge is to include at least three of the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound). This is the story you will revise and rewrite as a final entry throughout TUFF.”


GERONIMO

by

Kelvin M. Knight

‘Mudslides are great. Nothing beats a mudslide!’ 

‘Really?’ Fenton peered over the top of his monitor.

‘Really, darling.’ Dressed like a lemon soufflé, Terri nodded. ‘I want you to enter the mudslide race at the village fete this year.’

The dutiful husband, Fenton got straight to work. First up, mud wrestling videos. He found female mud wrestlers to be particularly educational. The way mud entered every nook and cranny to ensure maximum slide ability.

‘Fascinating.’

Lurking behind Fenton, Terri glowered. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Practice makes perfect.’ He gave Terri that certain toothpaste smile.

‘Practice makes permanent.’ She stomped away.

*

Come fete day, Fenton felt faint. The height of that muddy slide! ’You did this deliberately,’ he grumbled. ‘You know I suffer terribly from vertigo.’

‘You can always wimp out.’ Terri appeared draped over the arm of a mountain of muscles. ‘I know someone who won’t.’

Fenton could see from the dreamy look in his wife’s eyes that she was going gooey inside. ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’

‘The bigger I am, the faster I slide,’ squeaked Mr Muscles.

‘We’ll see.’ Steeling himself, Fenton marched up the stairway, chanting something his Nanna said, ‘Don’t stare up the steps, step up the stairs.’

He peered over the top. The slide plummeted away into a canyon. And this platform was so tiny. Wind buffeted him. Legs trembling, Fenton gripped wobbling handrails. Their coldness did nothing to cool his fevered brow.

‘I can’t do this. I won’t do this.’ Bile rose. He spat the vile taste out.

The pistol cracked. He teetered. Someone tittered. Behind him? Shoved… hard.

Whoosh.

Mud splattered him, swallowed him, spat him out.

‘My hero!’ At the bottom, Terri threw herself at her trembling, spluttering husband. ‘I knew you would conquer your fear!’

(297 words)


After Penny Gadd’s comment in the comment section below, I opted, while still in the 5 day deadline, to fashion a swift re-write of a more important part of the story… creating the story you have just read, above. My original finished and posted version – Revision A – is below so people can see the power and invaluable nature of constructive criticism.


GERONIMO (Rev A)

by

Kelvin M. Knight

‘Mudslides are great. Nothing beats a good mudslide!’ 

‘Really?’ Fenton peered over the top of his monitor.

‘Really, darling.’ Dressed like a lemon soufflé, Terri nodded. ‘I want you to enter the mudslide race at the village fete this year.’

The dutiful husband, Fenton agreed then got straight to work. First up, mud wrestling videos. He found female mud wrestlers to be particularly educational. The way their bodies embraced the mud before embracing one another. The way mud entered every nook and cranny to ensure maximum slide ability.

‘Fascinating.’

Appearing behind Fenton, Terri glowered. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Practice makes perfect.’ He gave Terri that certain toothpaste smile.

‘Practice makes permanent.’ She stomped away.

*

Come fete day, Fenton felt faint. The height of that muddy slide! ’You did this deliberately,’ he bemoaned. ‘You know I suffer terribly from vertigo.’

‘You can always wimp out.’ Terri appeared draped over the arm of a mountain of muscles. ‘I know someone who won’t.’

Fenton could see from the dreamy look in his wife’s eyes that she was going gooey inside. ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’

‘The bigger I am, the faster I slide,’ squeaked Mr Muscles.

‘We’ll see.’ Steeling himself, Fenton marched up the stairway, chanting something his Nanna used to say, ‘Don’t stare up the steps, step up the stairs.’

The platform at the top swayed. Bile rose in Fenton’s throat. He gulped. How he despised that vile taste. He conquered it by smelling the mud, feeling its texture – so earthy, so smooth.

The pistol cracked. He teetered. Someone tittered. He felt himself shoved forward.

Mud, mud, glorious mud. It splattered him, splurged him, swallowed him.

‘My hero!’ At the bottom, Terri threw herself at her coughing, spluttering husband. ‘I knew you would conquer your fear!’

(297 words)

Author:

First and foremost I am a reader, then a storyteller. My reading tastes are eclectic. My writing can focus around the intimacy of closed settings and may tend towards characters who might be hiding something from themselves.

15 thoughts on “The TUFFest Ride (Part 1 of 5)

  1. A fun draft and creative take on mudslide, Kelvin. The interesting thing about TUFF is that we don’t critique. Why? Well, authors, when drafting, need to hone their creative instincts. Critique can stifle creativity too soon. By distilling the writing (revising tighter and tighter) the author learns to pick the most compelling elements. Also, at the 99-word level, the author can experiment — for example the POV challenge we are now doing. If you do TUFF all the way down to 9 words, you will learn from the process in ways that will surprise and inspire your final rewrite. I hope you enjoy the process!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, and sorry my readers gave me constructive criticism on this polished revision of my story, Charli. They were not aware of your TUFF process. Me too, a bit. What I will do is follow along , posting my efforts on my blog, if that’s okay with you and you don’t showing my drafts and polished revision will not dilute your process. Many thanks , again, for all your encouraging comments. And the hard work you do at the Carrot Ranch. 🥕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t mean to come across as anti-critique or bossy on your own platform, Kelvin! But do give the TUFF process a go. Critique is something valuable to secure after drafting revisions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Practice makes permanent’. Quite so.
    I don’t think I fully understand the rules of the challenge, but I get the impression that you will be revising this story in the light of concrit. My concrit would be that although you’ve hit the different senses, they feel a little contrived. Many of your stories are very vivid and believable, even when you’re describing things that are hard to believe. This story is less so. Did you go in imagination to the top of the slide? Did you see it toppling away from you, vanishing into infinity? Did you feel the way the wind buffeted you, destroying your sense of balance? Did you hear the way the shouting of the spectators went dim in your ears as panic took over? Or, indeed, however you envisage the scene, were you there to tell us about it?
    I hope this is helpful, Kelvin. It’s offered with best wishes and affection. And, BTW, I always welcome concrit on my stories; I find it so helpful!
    All the best
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Penny

      The challenge here, on this TUFFest ride is to draft a 297 words exactly story in five days (during the competition to find the winners we were given 24 hours) then the story has to be revised, week on week, from 297 words, to 99 words exactly, to 59 words exactly, to 9 words exactly then to 495 words exactly. Each week there will be unique technical criteria, revealed at the beginning of each week, to be meet. It’s a once a year challenge and is the first year I’ve entered. D. Wallace Peach recommended it to me, as I am doing to you. It would be lovely to see your keen observational eye(s) in this challenge along with your zest for words and storytelling with a difference.

      And thank you, thank you for your conceit – which I original read as concrete (it was late and my spectacles were off!). I have taken the liberty of applying your concrete concrit to revise my story.

      Is there a particular story you want me to cast my concrete eye over?

      Take care

      Shalom

      Kelvin

      Like

  3. I do like this. And it will be fascinating to see how your piece plays out with the rest of the challenge.
    I’m not quite sure what twists will come into play and how that will work with my own challenge piece.
    May we both have fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jules, so kind of you to say. Yes, I am not sure how this is going to play out, but that’s the beauty of storytelling, letting the characters steer it… along with Charli! I will search yours out forthwith and look forward to seeing the fun shine in your revisions. Lovely to make you acquaintance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Carrot Ranch is a great place to meet.
        I posted in the CR blog this link:
        Slippage
        So you don’t have to hunt too far. 😉

        Last year when Charli introduced TUFF I wasn’t sure about it as I’m more of a short story teller 😉

        Learning something new can be good 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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