Writing Adventure Group Theme #25 – Crimes and Misdemeanors

Writing Adventure Group LogoOne of these weeks I really should try to get the Writing Adventure Group exercise finished up with time to spare. The rough draft was written a couple of nights ago but I hadn’t had the time to read and revise until my lunch break today. Like usual, it turned into more of a re-write than an edit. I think this piece could use some polishing but i like the direction it moves in.

I’m a little concerned that the piece is a bit vague as to why the character is in this particular situation. I was temped to expand it but didn’t want the story to get too heavy with back-story. In any case, please take a minute to read over it and leave me some feedback in the comments section (which can be found at the head of this post).


Writing Adventure Group theme #25

“Crimes and Misdemeanors”

The decision was made and there would be no turning back. The red brick was rough, even against his calloused and filthy hand, as he tumbled it one last time. Before he could yet again debate the right and wrong of his predicament, he let the masonry fly. When the brick made contact, time slowed. The dingy sheet of glass flexed and rippled before exploding into the night. Shards of glass glittered in the air like fireflies in the yellow cast of the streetlight. Before the first shard hit the ground, Joe was moving. Time was of the essence.

Joining the sounds of cascading glass was the dull thud of a brick and the sudden wail of alarm bells. In two swipes the loose glass was cleared and Joe hefted himself through the window. His mismatched boots ground pieces of broken glass into the linoleum floor as he made his way into the building. Visibility was poor beyond the reach of the streetlight but Joe had been here hundreds of times in his former life. He knew precisely where he was headed.

In his haste he stumbled on a rogue brick and toppled a rack displaying bags of potato chips. Pulling his dingy coat tighter against his chilled body, he continued on. After a half dozen strides, and as many ragged breaths, Joe abruptly turned and headed down a small aisle. Several items were snatched from their displays before he dropped to the floor and took a seat. With his knees in his chest and his back leaning comfortably against a bread display, he let out a small sigh of defeat.

“Why must it come to this.” Tears stung his eyes as he ripped open a slim-jim and jammed it into his mouth. Before it was properly chewed and swallowed, a packet of tuna was torn open. He wanted to get down as much food as possible before it was time. Food had been much harder to scrounge than he anticipated and the cold winter night finally broke his spirit. Before long he would be sitting in a warm car with a full belly. When they were finished with him he would then be in a warm cell with warm food. That thought put a smile on his cracked lips.

As his belly grew full, a flickering of red and blue began to fill the small convenience store with light. Joe dragged himself to his feet, interlocked his fingers behind his head, and began walking towards the broken window. Outside an officer spoke into his radio while another paced the length of the building.

“I’m unarmed and coming out. I’m ready to go to jail now”

Please visit the comment section, located at the head of this post, and leave me some feedback. I would greatly appreciate it!


WAG Topic #25: “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. We all break rules from time to time (just look at past WAG posts to see evidence of that!) and our characters usually have to do that in order to experience change and growth and to add a little spice and drama to our plots. So this week write about someone (a character or someone you observe) who is breaking a rule. It can be anything from a major crime to a breach of etiquette. It’s up to you! No Rules! Now Write!

10 comments On Writing Adventure Group Theme #25 – Crimes and Misdemeanors

  • Hey Walt,
    this was great. Short and sharp and yet said quite a bit. Raises quite a moral dilemma. Well done.

    • Adam,
      I wanted to present a situation to the reader where there was clearly a line being crossed and the character doing something illegal. I also wanted the reader to have a gut feeling that what he was doing was morally acceptable to survive. Taking advantage of the system to further his life seemed like an interesting way to go with it as well.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Thanks for the comment

  • Hey, Walt, your guy sounds like he lives under the same bridge as the guy eating grapes in my Wal-Mart .

    You took us right into the brick-throwing and broken glass — real and believable, all the way. I didn’t find it vague, at all, as you mentioned it might have been. One thing I noticed, that I found a bit distracting, was the use of *was* and *were* zigged us into passive voice then zagged back when you switched to the active. Just a detail; hope you don’t mind the observation.

    This sounds like a scene from an on-the-road story. Nicely told; vivid details.

    Cheers, Kate

    • Kate,
      I don’t mind the observational at all, thanks for pointing it out.

      My concern with it being vague was perhaps the reader not understanding how bad the situation had become for him to choose prison/jail over a life of freedom. Its easy to deduct why he would make that choice with him being stuck in the cold with no food, but I wasn’t sure if it required more back-story to fill in the gaps in his life that lead up to that moment.

      You are right, the two characters do sound very similar.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story.
      Thanks for the comment

  • For me the strongest part of the story was the description of the mad scramble for food and the wolfing down of the slim jim. You’re showing us how desperate he is. Interesting that you mention, he knew the cold nights would be hard but didn’t expect scrounging to be so tough. Sounds like this character has made a choice to live rough. Nice, evocative writing.

    • Rachel,
      I hadn’t completely figured that out but I was leaning towards him loosing his home. Maybe he thought being evicted wouldn’t be as hard as it seemed. This is part of the back-story which I was tempted to get into but wasn’t sure about.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Thanks for commenting

  • Really well done, Walt! You put so much thought and work into these pieces, and it shows. I really got a clear picture of the emotional state of the scene, and it defined your character beautifully.

    Great job!

  • I enjoyed this just as it is. I think giving any further background would just detract from the story there and then – it would almost insult the reader’s intellegence (something I’ve read about in my writing course!) because you’ve told them enough to get that he’s desperate.
    I like the way you’ve created a villian, but I think anyone reading this would feel sorry for him!

  • So descriptive and yet short and direct to the point. I loved the attention to even the smallest details from the dirty hands to the mismatched shoes. Great job!

  • Great descriptive writing! Just enough detail to make me feel involved.

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