There are times when I feel a need for a challenge--something that will help me to focus my writing a bit without shutting down my creative spark. One type of challenge that has appealed to me lately is writing stories in a brief format. Flash fiction has many definitions, but the general idea is that a complete tale is captured in a few words. I’ve found venues where flash fiction is defined as anything under 1,000 words; other journals have a 750 or 500-word limit. Writing within these confines is both challenging and fun. Such an exercise makes you aware of how much each word can do.
A few months ago I entered a local Short-Short Story Smash. The word requirement for entries was 100-words. 100 was not the limit--you couldn’t write a story in 99 words or 75 words and enter it--the story had to be 100 words exactly. On a drizzly evening in March a small audience gathered at the local theater and all the entries were read aloud by professional actors; then a panel of judges selected the winners. It was thrilling to hear my words read by an actor on stage. It was also surprising; the woman who read my piece gave it an interpretation I
hadn’t anticipated when I wrote it, but I loved it! And the biggest surprise of all was that I won 2nd place! You might want to give yourself a challenge and see what you can do in 100 words! Several friends have asked to read this piece, so I’m including it here:
Love at the Lost and Found
Lost: My heart, red and beating, dropped as I was handing it to you, along with a small drop of self-respect—the only one I had left—somewhere near your apartment last night . Only you can return it.
Found: Huge apologies surrounding dregs of love bleeding in the gutter. Owner was temporarily blinded by responsibility; emergency resuscitation has begun
Lost: The will to fight; nothing left but hope
Found: Path to your heart– long and winding, but light at the end—intend to follow
Lost: Resistance; loneliness
Found: Diamond ring perfect for you