Skip to content

The Break | 50 Word Story

Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns…
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.


I had so much fun with the challenge last week that I thought I would taking another crack at @jayna’s awesome fifty word story challenge again. This time the prompt was “break.” Never let anyone tell you that writing or editing a fifty word story should be easy just because it’s short. Ha! Here’s a glimpse of the effort that went into this.

Process

I thought it might be interesting to show the steps I went through to get here.

Brainstorming

I started out braintorming the prompt.  During that process I discarded a few words like “shatter.” The ones that really resonated with me where “break off” and “break in.” The word “relationship” also came up.

Scene Ideas

From these brainstorming ideas I had a few images in mind.

I imagined the breakup scene and the fact that the couple were involved in a break in at the same time as the break up was occurring.

First Draft

This is the first draft I wrote. It is 178 words. Just a bit too long for a 50 word challenge.

Base draft

Head jammed inside the cabinet, still twirling the tumblers on the damn safe, utterly oblivious to the found of booted feet on marble. Typical bloody Joel. Cassandra wanted to laugh, but that would only draw security to them faster. The house was huge and this was not the main vault. They would go there first to find out what had tripped the alarm. Joel had, of course. How many times had they gone over this?

“Pass me the snips, gorgeous.” His voice was distant, muffled. He hadn’t even bothered to choose the right tools.

She stepped to the window, then out onto the rooftop. Security would be here any moment. Already she could hear the squad cars racing along the boulevard towards them.

“I’ll come visit you in prison.” She said it loud enough that he’d hear. But she didn’t mean a word of it. It was time for a change, time to up her game.

Without a look back she walked to the roof edge and began the long climb down the ivy towards a new beginning.

(178 words)

Draft 2

Clearly that wasn’t working, so I tried another version:

Boots on marble. Security were on their way. Cassandra held back a laugh. As always her partner and now lover, Joel, was utterly oblivious. A master thief, he’d said. This time she did laugh.

“Pass the snips, gorgeous?”

He hadn’t even brought the tools they’d discussed.

She exited the window and onto the roof. She needed more than this, than him.

(61 words)

Still not much better and still eleven words too much. I went through five more drafts until I reached this point:

Draft 5

Boots on marble. Security.

As always, her partner Joel was oblivious. “Pass the snips, babe?”

He was never prepared. Some “master thief.” Cassandra laughed.

He had no plan. No future.

She stepped through the window and onto the lawn.

The horizon tinged pink. Removing her mask, she walked toward it.

(50 words)

It’s the right number of words, but just… blah. So I decided to flip the scene. It wasn’t him doing the break in work and her walking away, it was her breaking in and him walking away. And that’s how I finally got to my final version.

Final Version

Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns…
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew J. Savage was born in Australia where they trained him as a lawyer and put him to work. After escaping the sand and the sea, he now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. If you look at him silhouetted against a bright light, you might see the hole in his heart where he says his dog should be.

Published inFictionFlash Fictionshort storySteemit

3 Comments

  1. As always, wonderful writing! Really enjoyed seeing the process of how you crafted this. One day when I grow up, I want to be as organised as you in planning short fiction.

    • haha This was more an organic mess than careful planning. I ended up with something far different than I expected. I’m glad people are liking the process part though. I wasn’t sure it was worth writing that up, but seems it was which is great!

  2. Definitely worth it. I think several writers can take this method to help them. I know it has affected me and my process for the good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *