Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Cast of Wonders Flash Fiction Contest is Live!

17 Oct

I mentioned a while back that I was writing again. Well, at least a little flash fiction. I entered the Cast of Wondered TriWonders Flash Fiction contest which is wonderfully Harry themed. The stories are now open for voting so if you have some time, please go vote! I can’t say which story is mine, but I will say it’s still in an open forum so you could still find and read it. You have to register as a forum member and post at least once to see the stories. All the stories are less than 500 words so reading all of the ones in a single group takes no time at all. The voting poll is housed in the top thread of each folder.

It took me a bit to figure out how all of this works so if you have questions, ask here or in the forum. Remember, you have to post something before you can see the folders with stories. Most people are just saying ‘hi’ in one of the general threads.

Every hyperlink in this post should take you to a page where you can register, but here it is again just in case.

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Advertisements

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction: Round 2

8 Oct

Round two is over! Okay, by the time you read this it will have been over for a while, but my relief is the same. I found out my Round 1 score on Wednesday before the competition and was SUPER EXCITED to see I’d come in 3rd! The top 15 people are awarded points with first place receiving 15, 2nd 14, and 3rd (me) 13! The highest combined scores after the first two rounds move on to the third round so I’m well positioned to move on. Woo!

To combine with my excitement, I was nervous about round two. It had the unfortunate timing of starting while I was at a wedding. So at 11, I stopped dancing to look at my phone and saw the wonderful, glorious prompt.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Location: A secret lab
Object: A mouse

Hallelujah! This could not be better. If you’ve been a fan of the blog for a while, you’ll know I adore historical fiction. And because the era is not specified, I could write about the 20s! I went back to dancing at the wedding, confident I could deal with the writing on the way home on Saturday.

While my wonderful husband and I got ready to leave in the morning, he helped me craft some ideas. We came up with a plan for a secret lab and throwing a mouse in was no problem. So on the way home, I pulled out my laptop and in about a half hour, typed up the story. I put it away for a few hours (while we listened to a football game on the radio), pulled it out for some quick editing, and sent it to Beta readers. By the time I got home, I had some feedback and did some small tweaks. A little more response trickled in on Sunday but to be honest, the story I submitted was 80% written in the car.

It was a surprisingly calm weekend as far as writing goes. I know I lucked out with that prompt. I hope I do well and can move on to round three. Though I’m not counting on ever getting a prompt that I like that much again. I’ve got to be ready for romance or political satire. Those would be a lot harder.

I get the results of round two on October 21st at midnight. Round three starts at midnight on the 23rd. This is bad timing for me again because I’m obligated to be at a football event with my in-laws on the 24th. (As a side note, I hate football. All football references in this post are to demonstrate the only bad thing about fall to me and how it ruins my life.) This will be a challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge: I’m IN!

6 Jul

This will be a short post, I apologize. As you read this, I hope to be hiking in the Smokey Mountains with my husband but I didn’t want to ignore my blog while I’m on vacation.

Fellow writing blogger Jen at Jen’s Pen Den has posted previously about her participation in the NYC Midnight writing challenges. I first saw her posts on this about a year ago and thought “I don’t have the time to do that.” Truly, I don’t have the time to do anything. I don’t have the time to knit all my friends baby blankets, train for triathlons, go back to school, or run a book blog. OH WAIT. When you decide something is important, you make time for it. So I decided to make time for writing. I’m signed up!

I’ll be taking part in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. The first round is July 31 – August 2 and I already know I’ll be sleeping in late on August 1 because I have plans with my mom. But I’ll make the time! I’m going to make writing a priority. The challenge is to write a story under 1000 words with the given genre, location, and object in the challenge. I think I’m up for it. Everyone participates in the first two rounds and will receive feedback from the judges. That’s the part I’m nervous about! But, to be honest, they’re not seeing my best-best work. They’re seeing 48 hours of blood, sweat, and finger cramps. My best is yet to come.

So what do you say: ARE YOU WITH ME?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Saturday Writers Group: Pacing, Detail, and Dreams

31 Jul

You know I’ve been writing a lot of book reviews when this meeting was 28-June and I’m just writing about it now. I realize I could just not tell you these things, but we might as well be honest with each other, right? I think so. The weekend writers’ group I’ve joined got together and helped me go through a story I’ve been struggling with one more time. While we talked, I took away a few other nuggets of information that I want to explore here with you.

The first was pacing as it pertains to dialogue in particular. A story that’s pure dialogue is boring (unless done purposefully) because there’s no movement. Consequentially, a story that’s all movement where the characters don’t speak can be dull because we’re stuck inside one character’s head. There’s a way to pace dialogue and action to stay away from both. I found a passage from the but I’m reading, The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen.

“The seedpods were quite interesting,” said the King. “They are said to be quite nutritious, though they do look a little off-putting.”
I gazed at the shriveled brown stalks
“What is the name of the ridiculous weed?” asked Dona Juana.
The King patted the Queen’s neck as she turned to look. “I believe,” he said, “they call it ‘maize'” (254).

I think this is a great example because it helps the reader see that though the conversation is between the King and his sister, Dona Juana, there are other people around; people who are moving and interacting with what’s going on, even though they’re not talking. We have our narrator, Sofi, who is gazing at the stalks, and the Queen, who is walking with her husband and curiously turning around. Without the action in this scene, we have only a conversation between siblings and the other characters are ignored. With only action, we can’t sense the tense silence the Queen and Sofi are keeping (if I’d expanded this, you would see how tense it is! But I’ll leave some mystery so you read it.).

The next thing we talked about was the balance of detail and brevity in flash fiction. I brought a piece that was originally limited to 1000 words and ended up being closer to 700. A few people recommended adding details about what the two characters looked like or description of the setting, but I wonder if that’s too much for a 700 word piece. So I ask you, Reader; What’s a good balance of brevity and description in flash fiction? Have you read any pieces that you think show a good example? I’m tending to lean toward less description myself, but I tend to do that in all my writing, be it flash or novel length. I’ll be interested to see what you all think.

The final think we talked about was basing a piece on a dream. I think there are several ways to do this, and I have my preferences. I think inspiration for fiction from dreams can be really good. I know several authors who were inspired to write their pieces based on something strange from a dream. Nothing wrong with that. I think our subconscious can give us images that we feel a need to share with the world.

However, I see a limitation to this. The piece that comes from a dream needs to make sense. I don’t like when writers re-tell their dream, either in prose or poetry. To me, you need to be answer a writers question of why something is a certain way or if it represents anything. The answer ‘That’s how it was in my dream’ isn’t enough for me. What’s your opinion on pieces based on dreams?

Until next time, Reader, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Library Writers Group: Flash Fiction

11 Jul

Another yay for the library writers’ group! We talked about two things this time; July writing goals and Flash fiction. So, I’ve decided to set a goal for the month. I’ll report on it in my posts and in the monthly wrap up. I’ve started already, so don’t think I got a late start. Here’s my goal, short and simple: EDIT! I have a huge pile of critiqued stories and poems on my desk that are doing nothing for me. I’m going to get through the pile and then start revising my NaNo. If you follow me, you know I finished reading through it a while ago and now I’m going to make it a point to re-write the first 20. Hopefully they come out to more like 35 pages, but we’ll see what happens. The story now is 96 pages, so this will be a good solid chunk of the editing. Wish me luck!

The second thing we talked about was flash fiction. We shared this awesome article from the New York Times. One of the main things we got from it was the Iceberg Analogy. In short, it says that only 10% of the story is written, the other 90% is implied. A good example is the one given in the article, Ernest Hemingway’s story:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

We can get a lot from those five words. Why weren’t they ever worn? Were they the wrong size? Did the baby die? Were they stolen? We can make a story in our heads from that simple beginning.

Nicole commented how a lot of five-word stories like this are more poetic than they are prose. I can see this extending to short works because the Iceberg Analogy has to be used more. Poetry tends to give us less concrete detail and we have to rely on our imaginations to fill in the rest.

A member commented how he’s always been taught every story must have conflict and that in flash fiction, that was hard to do. But is implied conflict enough? There are several ways one could assume conflict in the example story. Does a writer have to state the conflict, or can it be implied?

We took a hand at our own flash fiction. I’ll share a couple here but I’m wondering if I should try submitting the rest to flash fiction magazines. We ere challenged to do stories no more than three sentences in length. Enjoy!

She measures, measures, again, makes a small mark, measures again, marked again, and finally with great trepidation, makes a short cut, defiling the polka-dot pattern with her will; her imposition. Again, again, and once more she repeats the process before she can lift up the perfect shape; the quilters’ ideal parallelogram with sharp edges which will ultimately be hidden in seams. With tears of joy in her eyes she lifts the scissors and ruler again to repeat and repeat and repeat.

Hearing that zipper finally go up makes me cry because the voice in my head is so loud as it screams, “YES! I DID IT!”

Do you write flash fiction? What do you think of mine?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!