Resolution Confusion Writing Challenge: Anger Management

10 Jan

I’ve been so wrapped up in reading for (and distracting myself from) my dissertation, that I almost forgot to post my entry for ‘Timony Souler’s Resolution Confusion challenge! The challenge was to take one of six resolutions and make it go wrong, and my resolution was:

5. I will go to anger management classes.

I’ve noticed that most of my flash fiction pieces end up as a fragment of a scene, so I think that I need to set myself another challenge to write a proper self-contained short story. I’d be interested to know what other people think though.

Anger Management

“So how did this happen?” Sadie asked, dabbing gingerly at the cut on my forehead with the alcohol wipe. For a trainee nurse, she was surprisingly squeamish when it came to the sight of blood.

“It’s all Emma’s fault.” I grumbled, wincing and pulling away as she attempted to cleanse the wound. “Her and her stupid anger management classes!”

“Oh?” Sadie’s face, a picture of concern only a moment before, was now taking on a pink tinge thanks to the effort of containing her amusement. “So they didn’t go well then?”

“I went to one.” I explained, in what may possibly have been an exaggeratedly long-suffering tone. “The instructor made us sit on the floor for two hours doing breathing techniques. Two hours, Sadie! I’ve been breathing perfectly well on my own for the past twenty years, I didn’t need her telling me that I was doing it wrong!”

“Maybe…” Sadie began, before trailing off when she saw the expression on my face. “Never mind. What happened next? One failed anger management class does not explain why you’re bleeding all over my kitchen.”

“Well I tried to explain what a disaster the class was to Emma.” I continued. “But she wasn’t having any of it. Said that I’d made this resolution for her, and she wanted me to see it through.  And then she said that if I really didn’t think the classes were working for me, then I should explain why in a calm and rational way.”

Sadie cocked an eyebrow at me. I glowered back.

“Sorry, John.” She said, pressing a bandage to my face and securing it with what looked like masking tape. What was wrong with plasters, that was what I wanted to know. “But this does not look like the result of a calm and rational conversation.”

“Oh but it was!” I defended myself. “It was very calm and extremely rational…right up until the moment I punched him.”

Sadie blinked, her expression the same one that she wore whenever I explained my messes to her. It was the ‘tell me you did not just say that’ face.

“It might still have all been OK.” I continued, not wanting to deprive her of the full explanation. “If he hadn’t had anger issues of his own. And a black belt in karate.”

4 Responses to “Resolution Confusion Writing Challenge: Anger Management”

  1. David A Ludwig January 12, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    I’m absolutely terrible at trying to write short-fiction myself, so I can relate to the struggle. If there’s no room for side-plots or foreshadowing or plot-twists I end up implying those things without ever actually addressing them–as soon as I think of a story it becomes a long one.

    This one in particular I feel like the number of characters–particularly the off-screen ones–make it feel like a scene from something larger. I want to know more about John, Emma, Sadie and the guy John got in the fight with (unless Emma is the guy?).

    Love how John was forced into anger-management classes he didn’t feel were at all useful, though my favorite part was Sadie’s use of the masking tape. Just gave me this great image of caring incompetence.

    • julieffisher January 13, 2012 at 12:27 am #

      Thank for the feedback, David! The trouble is that when I start longer projects I tend to abandon them due to lack of time. I think I need to discipline myself better!

      • David A Ludwig January 17, 2012 at 6:32 am #

        Abandoning long projects has historically been a problem for me too–coming up with ideas faster than I can write them. For me the solution ended up being simple: Write Faster.
        Don’t know if it would work for you, but I found getting out a complete draft (with desperate need of additional drafts and extensive editing) quickly gave me the sense of accomplishment I needed to see the project through to a final draft.
        Also I found script-writing to be a handy tool for getting the story written quickly regardless of the intended final form of the piece.

      • julieffisher January 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        Thanks for the advice, I did try doing NaNoWriMo last year in the hope that it would help me to actually finish a story, but unfortunately it clashed with a lot of university deadlines and I decided that I really had to focus on my degree. I might try a similar challenge over the summer, when I have more free time and fewer commitments.

        I’ve never tried script-writing, but I might give it a go at some point!

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