DEADLINE LOOMING • by Arthur Chappell

“Leo, take a break for God’s sake. You’ve been writing since dawn and it’s almost ten o’clock at night now. Please eat something and come to bed.”

“Sophia, I know you mean well but don’t distract me now. I have only hours to finish this off in time for the flash fiction competition. It has to be done by midnight tonight. I fear I may not make it, though. Three hundred words. Why did it have to be three hundred words?”

“What’s the problem? Have you run out of ideas? Is it a touch of the old writer’s block?”

“Just the opposite, actually. I have written rather more than I planned for and I need to get rid of some of the words. Even if it is three hundred and one words they will disqualify me from the contest.”

“Well, surely it is easier to lose words than find more?”

“There are rather a lot of words I’m afraid, darling, and the work is very tightly penned. Losing even one word or apostrophe will ruin it completely.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, just how long is your story at the moment, Leo?”

“At present, I have it down to 587,287 words.”

“Good grief, Leo, that’s long even for a novel.”

“What can I say? I ran with my ideas and got a little carried away. Now I need to trim it down a bit.”

“What’s it about?”

“The usual, fighting, romance, and history.”

“Have you at least got a title for it, Leo?”

“I have indeed. I’m calling it War And Peace. Now be off with you. I have to discard 586,987 words in the next two hours. “

“Then will you eat and come to bed?”

“Yes, I will.”

“Good luck, Leo.”

Preston, Lancashire UK based author, performance poet, public speaker, pub historian, photographer, recently diagnosed with Bowel Cancer but fortunately came through the surgery. Arthur Chappell spent half the 1980’s brainwashed into a cult that declared writing and reading taboo. Since escaping, Arthur makes up for lost time.

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