Over time, writers inevitably create innumerable pieces of writing, some of which end up as mere fragments that needed to be written at the time of conception. Some of these fragments go on to be part of a larger whole, a story or novel, while others languish.
Recently, I’ve decided to review my own such fragments. It’s well past time to take stock of what pieces I’ve written, whether they’re worth salvaging, scraping, or filing away for future use. Besides, it’s always interesting to see what ideas these vaguely-remembered pieces might generate.
Here’s one such fragment of mine, titled The Lady in Gray:
Midnight, and quiet descended on the deserted streets. The moon, in her fullness, demurely illuminated the night sky, reflecting off the tranquil waters of the lake.
One solitary figure slowly strayed along the boardwalk. The heels of her faded silver shoes sounded hollow as she passed. She paused under a lonely lamppost; its light revealing the weariness on her face and the pitiful array of her clothing.
Leaning on the railing separating pavement from beach, she regarded the inviting waters thoughtfully as the wind moaned through her curly gray hair dressed up in a tousled coiffure. Leaves rustled and scrapped against the pavement until they came to a stop at her feet. Another gust of wind and she tried to warm her frail body with her thin, torn and sanded, fur coat.
She thought of the cold waters before her. In despair, she turned away with tears in her eyes. A twinkle of light cast a silvery glow on her face and revealed the disconcerting sight of her light eye whose corner was as crooked as a pin. She bowed her head. A tress of hair and the half-tied silver ribbon touched her powdered cheeks.
Unsteadily she lurched back into that darkness beyond the lamppost like a fallen angel fearing to remain long in the revealing beams. This wandering creature of the night had no where to go, no face to greet, nor no friend to whom she could turn. She was alone in the world, and the world had abandoned her…
And here’s another that was titled Miss Pendleton:
The narrow path that led up by the gorge was always considered dangerous. It was too close to the edge. Too slippery when wet. When Miss Pendleton, who was fond of her morning walk, disappeared one morning, it was no surprise when she was found dead at the bottom of the gorge. Of course, no one was really sorry to see the old coot go. She had owned much of the village, but she was not benevolent. She horded the money her father had made, and she made a lot of enemies because of her miserly ways.
The only unusual thing about Emily Pendleton’s death was that it wasn’t murder. The police searched every last bit of evidence; they checked the Pendleton family’s alibis. They doubled-checked everything they could think of that might in any way be connected to her death. There was just no way to prove she’d been murdered.
Everyone knew how much Miss Pendleton enjoyed making others’ lives miserable, they were quite surprised to learn that her death had been labeled as a death by misadventure. Well, no one could believe that this was possible, and rumors flew back and forth. Many felt that the police were incompetent. After all, Charles Pendleton, Miss Pendleton’s eldest nephew, threated to kill the old lady the evening before her death! Everyone knew Charles hated his aunt. All of her relatives were of like mind. Well, all but Georgina. The old lady had doted on her niece. It had been Miss Pendleton’s hope that her niece grow up to take after her. A sadistic idea of the eccentric old lady, but then she had always been regarded as strange.
Naturally, Georgina, a mere girl of thirteen, was exempt from suspicion. Not so the rest of the family. Local gossip traded theories as to which one of them did the old lady in. Was it Charles who could charm anyone, but his own aunt? Melinda who so despised her Emily Pendleton’s usurpation of her role as mother to Georgina? Or weak-willed Michael, Melissa’s husband, who seemed very afraid of his aunt?
Ah, Miss Pendleton, you old bat! The town is glad you’re gone! They never liked you, and you never liked them. Pray for your soul because there is no one who will do it for you. You finally got what you deserved. It is only a shame that you died so instantaneously. You deserved a more lingering death. Now you will become a forgotten memory. No one will ever shed a tear for you, and people will only shudder at the sound of your name. Goodbye, Miss Pendleton, though you don’t deserve even this farewell. Good riddance, witch!
These two very different fragments are just a sample of the half-forgotten pieces that I’ve begun to rediscover. I know the first was inspired by Grizabella in the musical, Cats. I’ve no recollection where the idea of Miss Pendleton arose.
Both of these fragments, however, might need to be scraped. They suggest elements I might use in other works, but I’ve no clue what plans I had for them or how I might now use them. They don’t fit well with the staple of characters and storylines I’ve been working on. But I know there’s more to discover, and it’ll be a fun project.
It’s always advisable to review one’s writing periodically. What fragments might you rediscover, and what might they lead to?
I think you should continue with the first story – it sounds VERY interesting and I KNOW you could make it into a GREAT story. Think about it.
As I go through more fragments and existing stories, I find I have a character who thematically fits with the “Lady in Gray” so maybe it might be salvageable after all.