My first short story

As I explained in this posting, I intend to use a quiet summer to attempt to be come a short story writer.
I have now published my first short story. It is titled “Making A Difference” and you can read it here.


  • mavis

    And your love of desserts shone through.

  • Eric Lee

    First of all, that’s very brave of you — I think many people write short stories (or poems) when they’re very young, and then move on to non-fiction and never look back. It’s unusual to begin writing fiction as mature adults.
    Second, it’s very well written. I could smell the urine, taste the baklava, hear the accent in the waitress’ voice. And of course knowing you and knowing London, I know the streets, the restaurant, the fire station, the theatre. I don’t know how someone would read it who has not known these things.
    Third, is it autobiographical? I don’t think so, but I thought I’d check. I don’t see you as the kind of person who’d invite a homeless man into Gaby’s.

  • Roger Darlington

    Thanks, Eric.
    I did try short story writing as a teenager and soon gave up. Now I think I have more to say – but it’s scary putting myself out there.
    I don’t know how others will react either. I might find out soon…
    It’s not autobiographical – but it’s inspired by a thought I’ve often had when I’ve been approached by a beggar in the streets (and I have seen one in that fire exit door).

  • David Eden

    First of all, congratulations! Harnessing the imagination and discipline to write a piece of fiction is an accomplishment.
    It was a good read – the two main characters are believable, and even though it’s been a while since I was in London, I could visualize the setting, the streets. And having lived for the major portion of my life in Israel, I salivated at the mention of baklava. I can understand someone spending their last pennies on a piece . . .
    As to the story itself, it reminded me of the American author O. Henry, who wrote a lot of short stories set in New York.
    I look forward to reading your next one!

  • Roger Darlington

    Funny you should say that, David. As a young man, I read a lot of O Henry and really loved his stories which involve stronger narratives than much contemporary short story writing. I especially liked his endings and have always thought that all storytelling – books, films, plays and so on – should have good endings.

  • Georgeanne Lamont

    Great story – very haunting and memorable. Like all the specifics – so you can imagine yourself going to Gaby’s or the Curzon. And hear the Northern accent and the inner dialogue of the protagonist.
    I woke up this morning with the story in my mind. It is very striking. I love the way it grows out of your experience and mixes your reality with imagination. It could so easily be true.
    What a good story teller you are! Looking forward to the next one.

  • Jennifer

    This is wonderful Roger.
    I found a compelling honesty in your story, especially around Robert’s reactions to Bill. Thoughts we all think, but dare not speak aloud.
    Your story is a gift because it illuminates corners of human behaviour that we would rather not dwell on, but you do it with compassion, without judgement.
    I really look forward to reading more. Well done!

  • Terry Stafford

    Congratulations on the story – I’m glad you’re using your time well. I’ve long wanted to write short stories, but never have any good ideas!
    I liked the pace of yours, and I’m glad you avoided a few tempting clichés – I wouldn’t have wanted Bill to be an entirely blameless victim of circumstances. I suppose his story was an example of your ‘shit happens’ philosophy – events over which we have no control creating circumstances
    which we might handle badly, with ever more desperate consequences.
    It could happen to any of us, with a bit of bad luck.

  • Andy R.

    Frankly, Roger, this story is appalling. It is extremely insulting. The words ‘inexcusable’ and ‘intolerable’ also leap to mind.
    Your story is, to be blunt, offensive and distressing. Yes! Offensive and distressing to those of us who wrestle with the muse for months or years on end, desperately hoping to produce some assorted scribbles that are not immediately consigned to the bin and which might, one day, be reworked into something half-way decent which we might, if feeling brave, tentatively ask a very trusted friend to give us feedback on.
    And here you are – wretch! – declaring on July 17 your intention to try your hand at a short story for the first time, then producing same on July 24. And the damn thing is really rather good to boot. I have a good mind to report this without delay (and in an extremely unfavourable light) to the Amalgamated Union of Struggling Artists.
    Words fail me!!! (I’m off to lie down with a cold compress upon my brow.)

  • Hannah Nepil

    Just to say that I’ve read your short story and I found it really engaging – your style drew me in so that I really wanted to find out what happened at the end, and there were some very nice tongue-in-cheek moments too. Keep going with it!!!

  • Nick Hobson

    Some feedback from a friend…
    “Hmm, I like your friend’s story! Very neatly structured, with clear, crisp prose. The twist at the end & irony of the title remind me of some of Tolstoy’s stories (I am thinking of White Nights).
    The ending was a little predictable, though, possibly because of such precedents. I have written a story a bit like this too. Somehow it did seem fitting that the poor guy was killed in the same way he accidentally killed others: an end to his misery the same as the beginning.
    I guess everything seemed a little too neat for my taste. But he’s a good storyteller (all the elements of fiction are developed: character, setting, plot etc.) and he does examine a poignant and important issue. Many a reader would come back for more, I’m sure.”

  • Nick Hobson

    Further feedback from the same person…
    “And on the topic of your friend’s fiction writing, I think he is brave to start in his 60s. It’s hard enough at any age, and new things must be harder to start when you’re older. I didn’t mean to sound too critical either. His work is very accomplished for a beginner (I have read some truly heinous fiction in the various workshops I attended in New York, by people of all ages, and not all beginners!!) He’s definitely got the knack, but all art is a matter of taste, I believe.”

  • Maureen Edmondson

    I read your story on ‘Making a Difference’. You should write more. It is quite a powerful little story and well written. It attracted me initially because of the title since I listened a few years ago to a very rich man who started his talk ‘It is easy to make a fortune. It is hard to make a difference. And it’s making a difference provides the fulfilment and purpose in life’.
    But seriously, you should write more. We need more stories with moral content that will grip people and encourage them to emulate those that make a positive difference in life.
    Keep up the good work and thanks for letting me have a read.

  • Jane McCarten

    Yes, enjoyed your short story. You’ve really got the hang of setting a scene and leaving with a punchline at the end. I think that must be really hard to do.

  • Art Shostak

    The short story is engaging, moving, and sad – both men have made the least of life’s possibilities, and Angels above must weep for them.

    You do them justice – and more.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>