Hiya, literature lovers.
Yesterday I revealed that the Secret Seed Society in inviting entires for a competition to become a published children's author. A top prize of a massive £700 awaits. Well, I was so excited by the challenge that I literally spent a couple of hours working on my materpiece.
As per the very strict criteria I have split my story into 12 sections, which for 700 words makes chapters of no more than 58.3 words per chapter. Which is harder than it sounds, readers. Brevity is the mother of invention here!
The story had to be about a personified mung bean and I had to give it an alliterative name with Mung as the surname. That's to say, I needed to give my character to have a name that started with the letter M. As a practiced writer of nigh on seven and half months, I have to say I found this part of the challenge quite straightforward. There are literally dozens of names that start with the letter M. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Next, I needed to set the story in an imaginary place called Seed City. Once again, I found this part of the story writing process very easy. The story was practically writing itself.
Next up, I was instructed to give my chracter some real human issues to resolve with a sprinkle of fantasy. It's a personified mung bean for fuck's sake, that sounds like a fantasy issue enough for me. Still, I know that the sectret of drama is conflict. So I decided to make my character's raison d'etre conflict itself.
I also needed to introduce some other characters. Well, that was pretty easy too, I gave my character a girlfriend and a foe. Love and conflict intertwinned.
It was shaping up to be a timeless classic. Once I started writing the story, I pretty soon ran over the 700 word allowance. All I needed to do now was edit the story down.
Anyay, here's my first draft...
1. Marvin Mung Bean stared forlornly out of the cracked and rain splattered window pane of his tiny grey, rat-infested, bedsit above the betting shop next to the railway station of Seed City’s seedier Lower East Side.
“How did it come to this?” he asked himself, “I could have been someone, I could have been a contender.”
2. Meanwhile, prancing menacingly on the balls of his feet in the boxing ring of his purpose built gym at his out of town millionaire’s mansion, the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the world, Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean, was pummelling yet another sparring legume into the canvas.
“I is the greatest!” he proclaimed.
3. Lesley Lentil was in the backroom of her shop when she heard the ‘tinkle’ of the doorbell that she had installed after she was once robbed by an intruder sneaking into the shop one night while she was cashing up. Lesley reached for her sawn-off shotgun and tip-toed towards the door.
“Lesley, it’s me, Marvin,” came the call.
4. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Marvin excitedly, pointing at the newspaper he held. “Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean is taking on all-comers in a chance to take his crown.”
“But what about your detached retina? You could go blind!” said Lesley.
“I’ve got to give it another shot to buy us a better life.”
5. Meanwhile, lounging on the sumptuous white leather sofa in the spacious living room of his out of town millionaire’s mansion, the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the world, Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean, was idly flicking through a selection of CVs featuring flabby out of shape former boxers. He stopped suddenly.
“This is the sucker I is gonna fight!”
6. Looking at Marvin’s most recent bank statement, Lesley could see that her beloved had been spending freely on such things as bejewelled dog collars, sports cars and jackets featuring big cats, ever since being selected as the contender in the forthcoming world championship fight against Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean. A tear welled up in her eyes.
7. Marvin trained like never before in the gym. He did push-ups, pulls-ups, sit-ups, squat thrusts, skipping, jogging and sparring. He ate raw eggs in the morning and punched raw sides of beef down at the abattoir in the afternoon. He was floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
8. Meanwhile, the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the world, Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean, was also doing plenty of training. He did push-ups, pulls-ups, sit-ups, squat thrusts, skipping, jogging and sparring. But then he’d spend the rest of the day lounging by the pool at his out of town millionaire’s mansion.
9. Lesley was proud of Marvin. But more than that, she was proud of her needlework creating his fighting cape. With golden tassels taken from her curtains, sequins spelling out the legend “Marvellous Marvin Mung ‘the Merciless’ Lean Mean Fighting Bean” and the bell from her shop door attached as the cape’s clasp, he’d look a proper bobby dazzler.
10. As Marvellous Marvin Mung ‘the Merciless’ Lean Mean Fighting Bean made his way to the red corner of the ring at Seed City’s Sporting Coliseum, the crowd of healthy, organic, personified, home-grown foodstuffs went absolutely nuts and bananas. Marvin removed his cape to reveal the glistening, be-muscled, torso of a fearsome gladiatorial legume. He feared no one.
11. Meanwhile, in the blue corner, Fabulous Frederick Fava Bean was planning to come out fighting like never before. The two combatants came towards one another at the start of round one - the immovable object versus the irresistible force. Frederick’s blows rained down on Marvin like sledgehammers with gloves.
12. Lesley Lentil couldn’t watch Marvin take a battering so she opted to listen to the fight commentary on her radio in the back room of her shop. Round after round went by, and yet Marvin was surviving. The fight was so engrossing that Lesley didn’t even hear the robbers sneak into the shop and steal her takings.