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Yesterday, I wrote about the elusive source of my ideas, then followed up with a second post introducing an opening line that came to me from who knows where. “And from that line come other lines,” I wrote. “If there are enough lines, I discover a voice and a work of short fiction.” Today, more lines came.

The original line:

Koestler plodded along, uncomfortably seated in the rank cockpit of middle age, face contorted by the foul odor of his own crisis.

Today, the following lines occurred to me:

And such an odor, a stench, something beyond metaphor: the metallic manganese reek of an aluminum casting works[edit]–for him, electrical wire casing scorched with a butane cigar lighter–[/edit] that drained down through the sinus and into the back of his throat. Koestler dubbed that the “high note.” It rode atop a yeasty, cloying base of aging brewery, boiling malt. Strange, he thought, he should be so overcome. After all, by this stage of the game the senses have begun to dull, which might explain the Tobasco Koestler added to nearly every dish, anything to conjure a sensation–if only a tongue-pricking heat stripped of the vinegar and pepper.

Having had the benefit of these additional lines, I’ve decided to see if I can conjure more. And, in the spirit of those brave painters working color and shadow in the open air of the city park, wrestling to right imperfections in full view of picnickers, dog walkers, and ultimate Frisbeeists alike, I’m going to attempt to report every addition here on Maximum Fiction, building the work in full view. I suppose this will be akin to serial on small scale, but the first-draft warts and reworkings will be on full display.

I’m not sure what I hope to get out of this exercise, but perhaps by the end I’ll have found out.

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