Writing Prompt (editing process): Heartbeats – Week 1

It’s Friday, which means it’s time once again to share my writing. 

This week, I want to try something a little different. I reached way back into my writing past and pulled this goodie up. I loved the prompt and the rough idea I came up with, so I’m sharing the terrible story I wrote then. 

Next week, I will share the EDITED version of the story. To be totally honest, I’m sure I’ll get it fully edited in a week since a short story contest I’m entering starts TONIGHT but I’ll try. 

When I look back at this story, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer since I’ve really started focusing on it, so I’m excited to share the editing process. 

The truth is that the real magic of writing is in the editing. It’s turning a lump of a story into something that people actually want to read. The first drafts are always terrible because it’s always the exploration of the idea. It’s in the editing that the story really comes into its own and becomes something WORTH reading. 

So, here’s the lump we’ll start with and over the next week (or maybe a few weeks if I share the multiple iterations it will go through), I’ll improve and we’ll see if I can turn this lump into something a little better. 


My feet pounded on the empty highway heading out of town. Never much traffic out here. I like that.

Scuff scuff–scuff scuff–scuff scuff.

I always had an unusual cadence, landing harder on my left foot. I focused on matching my breathing to my footfalls, but soon my mind wandered away again.

“Stop with that stupid running!” my mom screamed at me, her green eyes wild beneath her frazzled, curly orangey-red hair. I looked just like her. “I’ll die from it! You will kill me!”

“No, mom. You will,” I replied coldly. I walked away from her. Again. Always. I swear the woman has ten times as many heartbeats as anyone else for as often as she gets worked up about nothing.

I run to get away from her. No one will give me a job. I want to be a professional runner. It’s a hard career to get into. They say only crazy people want to do sports. Suicidal people. People who can’t wait to die.

It’s not true. Not for me.

Some people save their heartbeats for love. For children.

If love is what my mother has for me, I don’t want it. If this is what having children does to you, I don’t want them. I want to run. I want to be free. Where it’s quiet. Where she isn’t yelling at me. I hate that I look like her. Everyone knows we’re related. They pity her. Her. If only they knew.

I glance at my watch. Almost two hours. Nearly sixteen miles. I could do a marathon in just over three hours. Not fast enough. I need to go faster. I need to train harder. How can I train harder with her always yelling at me when I lace up my shoes to leave?

Scuff scuff–scuff scuff–scuff scuff

Ten miles later, I arrive back home. I am drenched with sweat. Gloriously tired. I walk around the block to cool down. I see the stares of our neighbors as I walk, slowing down my breathing, drinking my recovery drink that I stashed in our bushes.

I can’t delay it any longer. I really need to pee. I need to get inside.

I walk back into the house, surprised that mom didn’t greet me at the door. Whatever. I sneak downstairs and into the bathroom. Ahh…relief. I might as well take a shower while I’m in here too. There is nothing better than a scalding hot shower after a long run. I stand in there longer than I should. Why isn’t mom yelling at me? Maybe she went out.

I finish up and get dressed in my room. I’m starving. I need to eat something. My body is starting to shake. I walk back upstairs and glance into the front room. That’s when I see her, sitting in her green chair. Her head is lolled back, her eyes glazed over.

I breathe a sigh of relief.

“Finally.”

Now I can train.

4 thoughts on “Writing Prompt (editing process): Heartbeats – Week 1

  1. Ooh! I know that prompt. What a wonderfully creepy, dark take on it! I love it! I can’t wait to see your edited version.

    I love this idea, too. Showing a raw story and following it up with a revised version. I 100% agree that the magic all happens in editing. I keep telling myself I need to go back into my previous stories and revise them, because they’re all very raw. One day! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you!!

      I’m excited about this story. It’s funny that when I wrote it, I thought it was pretty good. Now I read it and it’s a bit painful, haha!!

      I have my first round of editing completed on it and have next week’s post scheduled already, so I can focus on my NYC Midnight Challenge story. The story has moved into the realm of consistent, but I think it’s probably still a bit painful to read.

      I mean to go back and find the actual prompt, but clearly I forgot. Maybe I’ll add it to the final version of the story. 🙂

      Like

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