500 Words

Exactly–not 499, not 501. That was the challenge put out by Marco Polo Arts Magazine last year. I thought it would be a terrific editing exercise, and it was: slicing and dicing a 3000-word essay down again and again, until it was just a shadow of its former self, while trying to keep the essence intact. Writing in the second-person plural was my other challenge with this piece, using the voice of “we”–a kind of Greek chorus–that I so admired in The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

The result is “Kissing Frogs,” linked here, which was one of the winning pieces and just published. It’s about online dating–a true story, though fortunately not my personal experience; I’m just a bystander, coach and chronicler, one of the chorus. Names and identities have been changed to protect all of us.


About Alice Lowe

I am a freelance writer, avid reader and Virginia Woolfophile in San Diego, California. My personal essays have been published in more than 90 literary journals and can be followed on my blog: www.aliceloweblogs.wordpress.com. I have published essays and reviews about Virginia Woolf, including two monographs in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series published by Cecil Woolf Publishers, London: "Beyond the Icon: Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction," and "Virginia Woolf as Memoirist."
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5 Responses to 500 Words

  1. jrbrega87 says:

    Congrats, Alice! I think the piece is very successful as a 500-word story–concise, richly detailed, suspenseful. Well done!


    On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Alice Lowe blogs … about writing &

  2. priscillalong@comcast.net says:

    A great one! Bravo!

  3. Dave Lowe says:

    A challenge to say the least.

  4. Patricia Paquette says:

    A perfect little sweet-sour amuse bouche, crisp, complete and satisfying. Loved it, bring us more!

  5. Big Mark says:

    I love it, Alice!

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