Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Challenge – ‘Love’s Song’

I wanted to join in with the other Friday Fictioneer participants this week, but I have to admit that my contribution is ‘illegal’ — being closer to 180 words. However, since this is the little story that kept nagging at me from the very first moment I saw the picture below, I have written it anyway and edited it down as far as possible in the time I had available.

The challenge is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to take part, hop over to see her at this link:

The prompt is the following picture, which comes to us courtesy of Roger Cohen at



They’d met at a rehearsal in this very theater. He, with his polished coat of dark walnut, was instantly captivated by her honey-maple coloring – but even more so by the sweet voice she gave to every note assigned her in the performances. Bravely, he’d professed his love, and she’d responded. They had made exquisite music together for 74 years.

Now, with their respective masters in their graves, the two aging instruments rested against the wall of an old closet behind the stage. His coat was battered and marred significantly. But her luster still had the power to draw music from him every time he looked at her. They sighed quietly. They still had each other – and the music that lived within them. He kissed her gently. She kissed him back. They embraced.

Outside, people slowed their stride as they passed the old theater. “There it is again,” said one. Others nodded in agreement.

“Strange,” said a young woman. “Every night, I’m just sure I hear music coming from inside, but there is never anyone there ….”



27 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Challenge – ‘Love’s Song’

  1. Dear Sandra,
    Beautiful story with the perfect ending. The 80 extra words aren’t troublesome. I love it the way it is. But just for grins and giggles I’d challenge you to take that story and see if you can’t find ways to cut it back. I think you’d be surprised. (Not saying to repost…saying it as a self challenge).Suggestions: Adverbs such as ‘softly, gently, quietly can be cut to start with…just something to think about….for next time.:)
    Lovely piece nonetheless,

    1. Yes, I agree. I’m planning on MAKING myself cut it down to no more than 110 words — just for the discipline. I’m determined.

      And if all else fails, I’ll run it by an editor who has always been my trump card when doing a story — or especially a synopsis — that has no options for length. This lady is, without question, the finest “cutting” editor I’ve ever known. Every time I think I have cut something to its barest parts but MUST do more, I take it to her. It’s amazing what she can do and what I learn every time.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

      1. For my agent I had to write a one page synopsis of my 80,000 word novel. I attribute Friday Fictioneers for success with it. This exercise really has taught me how to economize words. Any time I can encourage or help, let me know.

        1. Yes, I have had to do that same kind of thing a few times. It’s hard. Working as a newspaper reporter for years really helped me, as did years of teaching writing — helping my students to be as crisp and succinct as possible. Even so, it still takes me much longer to write “shorter.”

          I also found Michael Seidman’s books on writing fiction very helpful. One particular book by him is in my library, and I have read it more than once. Every time I spend a few hours in that book, I find I’m able to go back to my own writing and cut it down ruthlessly. I feel so proud of myself when I do that!

  2. Splendid story, I love it. Especially the ending. Myself I am on the opposite end, I always try to start very short and then expand the story.
    Have you tried twitter-stories? Check out the #vss tag. It’s amazing what you can get into 140 characters.

    But I still think that the flow of words is the most important, and the flow you have is superb.

    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I’ve never gotten started with Twitter, but I do Facebook, and I have noticed that even communicating on there — especially in the earlier days when they had a word limit for normal posts — forced me to be more ruthless in my editing.

      But I agree: it’s really all about the finished product — and sometimes getting the effect you want requires a few more words. These kinds of challenges are great discipline though — and fun. Thanks again for taking the time to read the story and comment.

    1. Thank you for the compliment. I enjoyed yours as well: It is downright CUTE!

      I know what you mean about the exercise in conciseness. I have promised myself that I will keep working to cut this one way down and not lose anything important — just for the personal discipline involved.

  3. Good Lord, Sandra… don’t you know what short attention spans the Friday Fictioneers. I for one loved you story and do not begrudge the extra 80. Don’t let it happen again!

    1. I promise to try much harder next time! Thanks for extending mercy on this one.

      In all seriousness, I’ve been noticing the past few years that the attention span of the general public has indeed diminished dramatically. I’ve been a writer all my life, and have found a receptive audience for my prose at its “natural” length the vast majority of the time — as have many other authors. But in the last ten years, I have found it imperative to CUT TO THE QUICK in order to get people to stay the course on any topic that isn’t just fun and games. Challenges like this help me keep pressing toward that mark.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to pass on that encouragement. Often our words are like our children, aren’t they: a true extension of ourselves and worthy of our protection.

    1. Yes, I’m still going to MAKE myself cut it down — just for the self-discipline. I won’t repost it, but at least I’ll know I can do it — I think.

      Thanks for taking the time to read it and let me know your thoughts on it.

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