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Week 98 – Sawdust, Alterations And What’s Missing?

We have every now and then done things a wee bit differently. This is one of those times.

So with that in mind, I hand you over to Diane who will explain more about the story and why we are publishing it.

On occasion we receive submissions that miss the guidelines by miles but for whatever reason they catch our attention and demand an outing. We thought that this story Sawdust was in that category so here is a little extra treat for our readers.


Sawdust by Deng Xiang

Once, there was a boy who was carved out of wood. He had wooden arms, legs and joints that kept him together.

He could walk just like the other students, but a tad more stiffly. He could also motion with his hands and even talk using his wooden voice box and wooden tongue.

However, there was one thing that he had not been carved with: a personality.

He would walk around the school compound, slowly and emotionless, like a walking dead. He would watch as all the people he passed acted in starkly different ways from each other; their behaviour, their speech – they were all uniquely different.

So, on day one, the wooden boy decided to carve himself a personality. He dressed in a tuxedo suit and carved wooden piercings on his ears. He made his legs skinnier and his face chiselled. To top it off, he practised walking like the most important person in the world.

But no one noticed him.

Day two. The wooden boy sanded down everything he had carved previously and started afresh. He carved himself the most toned muscles he could carve. His lifeless body became sleek and athletic. He could technically sprint 100 meters per second and triumph in countless number of sports competitions.

But no one looked twice.

Day three. Desperately, he sanded himself down again, again and again, trying out several kinds of personalities. Suddenly, his wooden figure snapped, and his arms, legs and joints fell apart. He eventually rotted away into a pile of sawdust, fine as sand. Then a light breeze blew, it scattered them, leaving nothing behind.

No one had known who the wooden boy was, and life carried on as it has always been.


A few weeks back we received an exceptional story. We all thought it was excellent and we would have been delighted to have it on site. We let the author know and they were happy. A few days later they came back to us and asked if they could change a few lines. We re-read and advised that we preferred the initial version. The few changes may not have seemed to be much but even though they didn’t alter the story, they altered the character, in our opinion, dramatically. The writer explained the reason they wanted to change it, was due to how certain others would perceive it.

We found this sad, explained our concerns regarding the story but the author wouldn’t stick with his first draft and we had to agree to part ways. The story was the less for the alterations but the author questioned why such small changes could have made such a difference. I will leave it up to you all to think on the points being made from both sides.


Back to normal now folks with our usual weekly round-up. We have murder, wishes, office politics, strong characterisation and an ethical dilemma. As always our comments follow.

James Hanna is quickly adding to his list of stories. He was first up on Monday with ‘The Body In The Bay‘.

‘Another fascinating character.’

‘Absolutely enthralling.’

‘James’s writing adds to his stories and his stories adds to his writing.’

Another writer with a quick return is Dave Henson. On Tuesday he gave us the wonderful ‘Frivolous‘.

‘So much humanity and depth in this story.’

‘I wonder who makes the decision on what frivolous is?’

‘The story made me smile.’

I forgot to mention that we had two new writers this week. Rebecca Field was first. Rebecca has been an avid reader of the site and she has finally plucked up the courage to send us a story. We are very pleased about that and welcome her to the site. Rebecca’s short ‘Workplace Harmony‘ was published on Wednesday.

‘A gentle story, very well observed.’

‘I am happy to see this on site.’

‘Squabbles, preconceptions and the pissing contests of an office are very well observed.’

Thursday gave us our second new writer. Terry Sanville sent us in his first piece of work with ‘Ghost.’ As with Rebecca, we welcome Terry and hope both of these writers have found a home for their submissions.

‘He added a few other layers, a twist and then a conundrum.’

‘The settings are provocative.’

‘I thought the emotions were very well done.’

No writer explanation needed for Friday, we simply have to say…Mr Tom Sheehan with ‘The Back Side Of Sight.’

‘This kind of understated power, is Tom at his best.’


‘Every character was strong and believable.’

Well that’s another week gone. A change is as good as a rest. I didn’t even rant. My rant was as redundant and un-evil as Davros is without his wheel chair. Talking about redundant, no-one has mentioned our omission this week, did you not notice, did you not care or are you all still in shock or mourning??


Banner Image: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Week 98 – Sawdust, Alterations And What’s Missing?”

  1. It’s fine and good that a story should have a wooden character at center and still be interesting. The post also gave me cause to review the submission guidelines, which I fail to live up to three times in five. And I’ll fess up, for when it comes to ignorance, I’m always quick to find it in myself: I can’t locate the omission, though I care deeply. Call it my Omission Statement, signed and sealed.
    My confusion perhaps stems from the realization that with every miracle comes a price, to wit:
    Miracle: Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
    Price: “Long suffering” Cubs’ fans lose whatever limited charm they once had.
    It could very well be that their 108-year drought was punishment for not following the guidelines to success.


    1. Hi Leila,
      Some folks are too cool for guidelines!
      Weird how others not following can irritate!!
      (If you did, how could we believe it was you!!)
      Stay well and happy!!


    1. Hi Tobias,
      I can only agree with you.
      A quirky story with a cracking perceptive message.
      All the very best my friend.


    1. Hi Leila,
      I understand about things that are ‘Oot to git ye and fur ye!’
      Doors, technology and life have a particular dislike of me!!
      Glad you enjoyed the weeks stories and Deng’s bonus.

      All the very best.


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