Friday, May 15, 2015

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

A while back, I suggested to my family members and a few friends that it might be fun to write some short stories.  I've participated and watched various competitions involving them and the idea to write something short but with a punch intrigues me.  I'm long winded (or worded) enough that once I start writing, that baby isn't going to be done until I've hit about 80,000 words or more. Probably the reason why I've only finished one novel in the nine years I've been writing.

But I digress.

A short story can range anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 words.  20,000 may sound like a lot in theory but my current WIP which has just hit the middle portion, is sitting at fifty-eight odd thousand words.  So yeah, it's not very much to me.  I wrote a novella two winters back and was super happy with it.  I went back to do edits, started adding to the story, and promptly left it half finished.  Sweetheart Bakery is still sitting in my "To Be Edited" folder.  I got back to it a few months ago and realized I never saved the original and all my messy edits were muddying the book.  My final word count sat around 30,000 words.

My short story idea I suggested to my family was to find a picture and base a 3,000 word story off it.  The deadline is May 31st though it's subject to change.  I finished mine today but some trimming will be necessary to bring it down from 4,000 words. I did something with it I've never done before.  I gave it an open ending.  I don't like reading open endings but when I have to fit my great big story idea into a few pages, a tidy ending was almost the first sacrifice.

.Recently, I've been reading about flash fiction.  Flash fiction purists want a story under 100 or even sometimes, 75 words!   More mainstream flash fiction writers tend to allow up to 1,000 words, still quite a small amount.  A few weeks ago I entered a little competition at Go Teen Writers for showing exhaustion in 100 words or less.  It was almost the hardest thing I've ever written.  One of the fascinating things about it is how every word counts.  Even deleting a three word dialogue tag would give me enough space to show something else.
Hopefully everyone has had time to work on their short stories.  I already pushed the deadline back from April 30.

The picture thing was much harder than I expected.  I started a secret board on Pinterest and looked under fantasy/fairy tale genres to find something I wanted.  My secret dream is to write fairy tales.  I don't even read fairy tales but looking at all the fun pictures made me want to write them so bad!

After we all submit  our stories, I'll post mine up on the blog under the short story tab.  If any of my family/friends are okay with it, I'll post theirs as well.  For any curious, the pictures on the side are a few I almost went with but that didn't end up making the cut.

-Anna Leigh

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