Worse than failure

Success is always close to failure — Michael locks the doors carefully. His gleaming dream is waiting for tomorrow; well prepared.

Would hours training, tuning engines pay? Would he stand there tomorrow, race-queen by his side, sprinkled with champagne? Or would he yet again have to return to trim his engine for another effort? Or ..? he shrugs and leaves.

Anticipation — then floor it to the hairpin bend; screaming fireball; burning rubber.

Even later – white and silent lights; charred flesh; searing pain; mother is sobbing..

As he fades he realizes that real failure means losing more than champagne race-queens.

Copyright Claire Fuller

Copyright Claire Fuller

A picture that took me some problem to make into a story. I experimented here with fractured sentences and a time-jumps. Not really my style, but I needed to stretch myself a little. Please be honest and say if it works.. this is a little out of my comfort zone.

Friday Fictioneers is lead by our chief Mechanic Rochelle Wissoff-Fields, go to her site to see how to join up.

November, 19 2014

39 responses to “Worse than failure

  1. I thought this worked very well. I had little trouble following the jumps in time, although I initially thought he’d had an accident on the way home, and not during the subsequent race. Or maybe he did? Anyway, good one. It’s good to experiment.

  2. I think it really works – I loved the ending. But since you asked…I’m not sure present tense works with the time jumps, because to me present tense almost suggests it is happening as you write it or as we read it, but if that’s the case, then time jumps are difficult. And one other minor thing are the words ‘even later’. They suggest a long time, whereas it’s really ‘seconds later’. Anyway, just my thoughts – it’s still a great piece.

  3. I think it’s difficult to unpick the exact storyline, but the way you write it makes it very pleasurable to read. The words seem to slip through my mind.

  4. Bjorn, I agree that this story worked well. It looks like you’re really benefitting from the creative writing course. I wish you continued success in this different style of writing. I had no trouble following the story. Well written. 🙂 — Susan

  5. Yes — those champagne race-queens are petty in the full scale of life, aren’t they? Here’s hoping he doesn’t push that fine-line in tomorrow’s race —-

    At first I was a bit confused with the anticipation / even later — but you’re extraordinarily brave to attempt time jumps in 100 words, and I applaud you for that!

  6. Dear Bjorn,

    Reads sort of like The Ox Bow Incident. The time jumps are perfect for the POV of the man at the end of his tale, telling it with the last of his consciousness. Very gritty and gripping. Well done.



  7. It definitely worked for me, and to my mind reads all the more powerfully for all being in the present tense – it makes everything more “immediate” (if that makes sense) even though the events are spread over time.
    Nice job!

  8. This is very well done, Bjorn. And there is more to life than dancing girls and race-queens. Present tense worked beautifully. Puts this reader right there, right now.

  9. It read well to me, Bjorn. I thought your opening line told the entire tale. There is a fine line between success and failure, especially in auto racing. Here’s wishing him a full and speedy recovery.

  10. Ouch, very visceral in the second half there, very impactful writing. Sometimes our ‘worst case scenario’ isn’t really the WORST case…

    Well done.

  11. It does work! it becomes quite filmic in that way. I find that, when editing video stories, the space between the sequences you show becomes filled with certain quality that is bigger then merely the 2 sequences together. Do not know if I make any sense ; ) Anyway, it is a brilliant, albeit very difficult way of telling a story ! Go for it Björn, it is good!

  12. I followed it. That’s saying something today. For some reason I’ve met with tech troubles all day. My trivial pursuit pales by comparison. I liked the shift of his thinking from superficial failure to epic fail.

  13. Oh hell. A hard less learned for him. The time jumps, changes of scene work really well. It’s easy to follow and you’ve covered the senses – smell of flesh, hearing mother’s sobs. Very evocative.

  14. It worked, Bjorn. Worked on all cylinders 😀
    Seriously, though, the human element was definitely there, I wanted to read some more if you had it. Blast the 100 words anyway! 🙂
    Nice work this week! Good job!

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