Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romatic Friday Writers Challenge #41: Three Things I Could Have Done Better

This week's challenge is to write a 400-word flash about three things that could have been done better. For guidelines, see Romantic Friday Writers.

* * *
Back in the late Sixties, I, Marcel Nassim, was a second-class French citizen and impoverished university student. My pals, Algerian like myself, lived for the summer when foreign students, especially Americans came to study. The fun-loving Americans matched our desperation for smiles and laughter. We were especially fond of the pretty, long-legged American girls. 

It was a warm summer afternoon as I walked to my friend’s table on the outdoor patio of my Résidence, when I noticed they had cornered four pretty American girls. The drill was always the same: strike up a flirty conversation and promise to teach them French in exchange for allowing us to sharpen our English skills. The game was on.

When I first set eyes on her, I was smitten. I think she liked me, but she gently rejected every overture I made. One day I cornered her and insisted she accompany me into town the next day. Finally, she relented. That was my first mistake—thinking I had finally worn her down and the rest would be easy. She never showed for our date.

The next time I saw her, she was on the patio with my friends and hers enjoying an early evening supper. I joined them for a glass of wine. I was annoyed with her, but still I couldn’t resist reaching over and touching her cheek. “Que tu es belle.” That was my second mistake. My friends were mortified that I was so love sick. I was not playing the game right. 

Ah, rejection after rejection, until one day I exploded in anger and told her she was the rudest person I had ever met and I never wanted to see her face again. I kept my promise for two weeks. The next time I saw her on the patio she was with her friends and pretended she didn’t see me. I walked up to her and kissed her full on the mouth. She blushed as I laughed and walked away. That was no mistake.

No, the real mistake was when it came time for her to return home. I went to her dorm room to tell her good-bye and that I was sorry I didn’t have enough time to win her heart. I could not stop the tears as I kissed her on each cheek, never to see her again. If only I had not thrown away those two precious weeks.


  1. Aah, the arrogance of thinking time is always on your side. I enjoyed reading his love story.

  2. My question is...did she feel the same? Very good piece!

  3. Ah love, how can we ever know if just once more won't be the right time. This perked up my evening Linda; so glad you shared it.


  4. Hi,

    Oh lordy, unrequited love and arrogance of the devil. A bit of rough justice, maybe? Nice sense of emotions.


  5. so many passion and soul to soul talking

    a very touching theme,thanks for such share

  6. Dear Linda,
    You know I love...the beauty of love (smile). Your post had emotions of love and passion. How foolish it is to allow love to slip away like a breeze through our fingertips. Well written my friend.

  7. You've followed the writing guidelines and given three clear regrets.
    Goodness, though, this relationship seems very one-sided, as we and they don't appear to know exactly why the girl has rejected the MC's overtures.

  8. The male POV is interesting and quite realistic for this character. It's all about his world and his feelings. Alas his bravado got the better of him and he'll never know what could have been because he let fear get the better of him. Even when he dared to kiss her, he hurried off. Nicely pulled of and effective use of the prompt, Linda.

  9. Thank you all for your comments. Four hundred words is limiting in many respects. If I had a few more words, I would have told you something about the girl and better explained their relationship.

  10. Hello Linda. Sorry i'm so late commenting but I've been racing to meet a deadline for a submission. i made it just a few hours ago!

    I like this. It was a little abrupt at times but that is the arrogance of this young male. I would have liked to know a little about the girl, but I think it was enough to show that he was smitten and had regrets about how he didn't win her in the time.

    Always intriguing LInda.


  11. Dear Linda,
    Ooooh, this is a good one! Well-penned male POV. You rendered this bold and cowardly type perfectly. Like especially the idea of how he regrets wasting time at the end. You have packed or implied so much in this short text. I'm impressed. I don't mind a bit that we don't get to know anything about her feelings about him. I can only guess!
    Well done!
    Fits the guidelines too!
    Best wishes,
    Three things I could have done better