Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

#FridayFictioneers – 1/2/13 – The Lover (Attempt 17) – Generic Fiction

with 48 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo to stimulate and inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry. Every Friday the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word stories.

Visit Rochelle’s site for the rules on how to join in and check out the other stories by clicking on the blue guy.


The idea for my story gelled quite quickly this week. Unfortunately the words weren’t as easy. I don’t like the last line – I think it’s too much of a cliché – but hubby came up with it and it was better than mine.

/copyright-Claire Fuller

copyright-Claire Fuller

The Lover (Attempt 17) (100 words)

The sledgehammer fell. A crack opened between nose and lips.

It was no good. He hadn’t captured her.

He could replicate her smooth cheeks on paper. He could fashion the plump lips he kissed in wax. The eyes that held his soul came alive in clay. Her dimpled chin carved well in wood. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t preserve her button nose in stone.

He swung again. A split formed across the forehead. If it wasn’t perfect, there was no point.

He laid a block of virgin marble on the bench and sat, contemplating his muse.


Written by Sarah Ann

February 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm

48 Responses

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  1. Sarah – There is just nothing like the real thing. No form of artistic medium can allow the beauty we enjoy from our Creator. Trying to replicate is a challenging endeavor many have enjoyed and come up wanting more. You did a wonderful job here.

    Joe Owens

    February 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm

  2. I think you captured the tortured artist well. I’m glad I work with words…much easier to adjust than stone.


    February 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    • Thank you, and I agree. A wrong word is much easier to change than an incorrect chisel gouge.

      Sarah Ann

      February 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  3. I rather liked this, including the last line (is there supposed to be an “s” at the end of “plump” though?) Nicely done!


    February 1, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    • Thanks you. And no, plumps is a typo. No matter how many times I read and re-read, they still get through. Thanks for noticing and commenting.

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

  4. this is one of my favorites this week, the process and frustration of the artist is so evident in your words. Love the description of her face as you went along.


    February 2, 2013 at 1:32 am

    • Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think I can related the artist’s frustration with some of my writing!

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm

  5. You really captured the frustration of the artist in this, and that third paragraph is so graphic, each word delivering the full effect. Very nicely done!


    February 2, 2013 at 8:46 am

  6. Dear Sarah Ann,

    I had three stories last week that failed to make the grade. I can relate to the artist in your story. Good job.




    February 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    • Thank you, Doug. I relate to him too, but at least he got further than I usually do. The week’s I fail it’s the ideas that don’t come, rather than the words. At least words can be shuffled.

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  7. Dear Sarah,
    Therein lies the reason I’ve never considered carving. I think I’d lose patience and fingers. Well written. You captured the artist.


    February 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    • Dear Rochelle,
      I think I’d lose fingers too. And probably knock a nose off, or chisel too far into an eye socket. Sculpture is an artform I love, but sculpting is something I could never do.

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

  8. Having an artist in the family, (not me, I hasten to add), I can identify with your lovely story.



    February 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    • Thank you, Janet. But you are an artist with your words and the pictures you conjure with them.

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm

  9. A great story, well written, but I’m not sure I agree with the sculptor’s actions. I think carving is a lot like writing. You might write (carve) something that you’re not happy with; you work and work at it, but still it doesn’t go right. If you put it in a drawer (at the back of the studio) for 6 months or even years, when you get it out again after all that time, you’ll nearly always see something worth saving.


    February 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    • Hi Claire,
      You’re right. Putting things away and forgetting about them is great for improvement/ seeing things differently. But it doesn’t have the same dramatic effect.

      Sarah Ann

      February 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  10. Aha! But for me you failed to clarify, I’m pleased to say, whether it his sculpture that wasn’t perfect, or his muse? I prefer the latter, I’m nasty. Ann


    February 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    • His muse is perfect, it’s his sculpture that isn’t. But feel free to take it as you wish! I’m sure you’re not nasty really?

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  11. Oops! Missed a word out … whether it WAS his sculpture that wasn’t perfect ….


    February 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  12. Well written and I believe you’ve captured the process perfectly. Nice work!

    H.L. Pauff (@HLPauff)

    February 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  13. I tend to like the last line. I think you and hubby make a pretty good team.


    February 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    • I’m glad you liked the last line. And we do make a good team, when we can understand what the other one is blathering on about.

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

  14. You did justice to this character’s frustration. I like your take on the prompt


    February 3, 2013 at 12:35 am

  15. I agree with the mob. Too many people shoot for perfection and feel horrible when they fail to hit a home run. sometimes just getting to first base is a major accomplishment.


    February 3, 2013 at 2:06 am

    • I agree, Russell. For me, just starting to write something is an accomplishment, let alone finishing.

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

  16. perhaps the lover needed only to contemplate…and that was made possible only because his attempt to capture her in his art failed. ❤ you did great!


    February 3, 2013 at 4:16 am

  17. Very well written I love the general tone. And any artist need to shoot for perfection, but unfortunately in reality even mediochracy is better than 50% of what’s done.

    Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    February 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    • Hi Björn, I’m glad you liked it. Your comment reminded me of a quote from Pablo Casals, cellist. He was asked why at over 80, he still practised four or five times a day, to which he responded, “Because I think I am making some progress.”

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

  18. Perhaps this artist will never achieve what he’s after. He’s a bit tortured, yes? You captured that very well. Nice job on this, Sarah!

    The Bumble Files

    February 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    • Thanks, Amy. Yes, he’s a bit tortured, feels a bit inadequate maybe. Still, he tries.

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

  19. There are times when the only way to move on is to destroy that which is holding you back. Good story.


    February 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    • Thanks for reading. Hopefully most of us don’t have to carry out too much destruction in order to move forward.

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

  20. As writers, we get to go back and edit over and over again. Occasionally it’s a cruse, but I couldn’t work with a more permanent medium. I love how you showed the frustrated artist and the lover in one man. I admit that I agree about the last few words. They don’t have quite the novelty of the rest of the piece, but I can’t offer you any suggestions, sorry!


    February 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    • Yes, as writers we can go over and over and try to perfect. It’s the point at which to stop we need to choose, and I stopped too early/ couldn’t see how to improve. If you do come up with a better ending at any point in the future, please let me know. Thanks.

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      • Back again. It’s only a suggestion, so feel free to hate it, but I’m wondering whether you could just cut it back to “He laid a block of virgin marble on the bench and sat”. This is a powerful image – the determination not to give in, to start all over again – and maybe anything after it just detracts from it. You could go for something like “and sat, ready to start over” but I personally think that’s weaker. I’d finish with “sat” and then insert the extra words a bit earlier in the piece. For example, “He hadn’t captured her – his beautiful muse” or something like that. like I say, just an idea that came to me, possibly not a good one.


        February 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      • That’s it. You see, a fresh pair of eyes works wonders. ‘… and sat.’ works much better. And yes, I could stick three words in somewhere else or just run slightly short. Thank you, Jen. Please come back and edit next week. 🙂

        Sarah Ann

        February 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      • You’re welcome. To me, getting the crits and views of other writers is the best thing about the Fictioneers. Obviously praise is always welcome, but it’s the critiques that help me grow as a writer, so I try to reciprocate.


        February 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  21. Wow.. You really captured the frustration of the artist well. Great take on the prompt.


    February 4, 2013 at 12:27 am

  22. Kinda sad to think he might never achieve the perfection he wants. Good job.

    Shirley McCann

    February 4, 2013 at 3:00 am

    • Maybe he will. Maybe attempt no.18 will be the one. I live in hope!

      Sarah Ann

      February 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

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