A few streams ago, we did an exercise where guest-star Abbey wrote a story and then I edited it. To get Abbey’s writing juices flowing, we had her write about an embarrassing life experience, and it worked pretty well.
This time, we did the same thing, with Abbey writing about another miserable experience: April Fool’s Gone Wrong. Since April Fool’s was just a few days ago, we wanted to get the story out there while it was still somewhat relevant.
Last time, Abbey’s first draft actually ended up surprisingly good, and we didn’t have to do much editing at all. This time around though, thankfully it was much more of a mess! We had plenty to work with.
Here’s Abbey’s original and our final edit:
Edited version below:
I was on the 22nd floor of my college’s ridiculously tall library doing some homework when bam! Nature hit me in the gut like an intestinal hurricane.
Trying to hide the grumbling sounds my stomach was making from the few other students on the floor, I quietly and quickly scuttled my way through the book stacks to the women’s restroom. It was a pretty janky bathroom with only one toilet. The bowl wasn’t even attached to the ground, it was somehow bolted right into the wall, hovering there if by magic.
But I was in too much poop pain to care. I sat down on the promised throne and took care of business.
Ah! Sweet bowel booming relief! With a smile on my face, I reached behind me to flush, and pulled down the metallic lever.
It felt like a firecracker had exploded beneath me. The toilet bowl had come loose from the wall and slammed into the floor, shattering into a hundred porcelain pieces. The soupy sewage inside the bowl that I hadn’t had a chance to flush sprayed all over my bare bits and spilled onto my shoes and pants, soaking them in fecal water.
Is this real life? I wondered to myself as I sat there in disbelief. After waiting a second to confirm that I wasn’t going to wake up from this, I stood up, pulled up my spongy pants, and left the murder scene behind me as I made my way back to the study room, my sneakers squeaking with wetness the whole way.
As soon as I walked in, heads turned, including my boyfriend’s.
“Whoa, why do you smell so bad?” he asked, eyeing me with disgust. “What, did you fall into the toilet or something?”
I explained what happened, trying my best to stay calm, while he and the few others in the room started chuckling. He suggested I call maintenance, using the ancient red emergency phone on the wall. When I picked it up, a deep, annoyed voice came through the receiver.
“This is maintenance. What’s your problem?”
“Hello…” I said, dread permeating through me as much as the toxic toilet water. “Uh… I kinda… the toilet… I broke it.”
The person on the other end just laughed at me. “Yeah. Sure. Nice one, kid. Like I’d forget what day it is today.”
Suddenly I remembered with horror that it was April 1st. Was this whole thing just somebody’s prank? Had someone unscrewed the toilet from the wall? Either way, I didn’t have time to deal with this guy not believing me.
“It’s no joke,” I said. “I did my business, and when I flushed, the whole kit and caboodle fell off the wall and shattered to the floor. I’m covered in my own waste, and I’m not sure what I should do.”
The voice on the other line stopped laughing. “Wait, really? Was it number one or number two?”
I cringed. “Both.”
“Are you sure this isn’t a joke? Who is this?”
“I promise this isn’t a joke. Come up and see for yourself.”
I stood there, stinking up the elevator lobby for ten minutes until the maintenance guy showed up. He was a skinny guy with an overflowing tool belt that rivaled Batman’s. He took one look at me, clenched his nose, and started laughing. I escorted him to the bathroom, and he gave a low whistle as he inspected the damage.
“Wow, it’s even on the ceiling too,” he said. “How’d you manage that?”
“I don’t know!” I cried. “One minute I was just sitting there, doing my business, and then suddenly I thought I was under attack, terrorists or something, and it was everywhere.”
“Hey, no worries,” he said. “I’m not mad, just impressed.”
He said I could leave, and I went to visit the floor librarian. When I told her what happened she burst out laughing and gave me some lost and found clothes to change into. It helped with the feeling of standing around in my own waste, but it did almost nothing for the smell.
I rode the bus home in shame, no one daring to sit next to me on either side. When I made it back to my apartment, I collapsed on my bed. My boyfriend was sitting at his desk, but he turned around in his chair to face me.
“Man,” he said, “seems like you had a pretty shitty day, huh?”
What a great April Fool’s Day.
The first and second drafts may look similar on first glance, but they’re actually quite different. The beginning of the original didn’t really set the scene/tone very well, and the important moments were just kind of glazed over. In the rewrite though, we did our best to convey the feelings/scenery and emphasize the sections that needed it.
It’s still not a perfect story (tying it all back to April Fool’s would be necessary for another draft), but it’s not bad. A fun exercise to show how important it is to just get words down for a first draft, then tighten things up in the second.
After that we did a writing prompt and chat voted for this one submitted by ghatsim: “Rich Sorority Girl and Timid Teenage Boy wake up handcuffed together in the middle of a forest. She has no idea who he is; he has no explanation, but may or may not have been her stalker. An uncomfortable trek back to civilization ensues.”
We were overflowing with ideas for this one. The only hard part was picking one.
I began writing the story with one ending in mind, but then halfway through, chat came up with a brilliant suggestions. So I abandoned ship, and we came up with something that puts a crazy twist on a crazy idea to begin with.
If you want to join us and help write a story by trolling in chat, or share your own writing for feedback, then we’d love to have you. We stream on Twitch every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7:30pm-10:30pm (U.S. Eastern Standard Time).
Hope to see you next time, friend!
Scott Wilson is the author of the novel Metl: The ANGEL Weapon, forthcoming November 2018.
Featured image: GAHAG (edited by me)