When I started writing in earnest two years ago I created this blog and stumbled across a weekly flash fiction challenge called Friday Fictioneers. A photo would be posted each week and participants were invited to use the prompt to create a hundred word story.
It sounded fun and a good way to kick off my blog. Writing the first story was difficult. It took me ages to edit it down to 100 words. It was nerve wracking sending my first story out into the world but if I’m honest, I didn’t expect anyone to read it, but read it they did. I was soon enveloped into a supportive writing community who have critiqued with kindness, encouraged and soothed every step of the way on my journey to publication, commiserating with every rejection and celebrating my first two novels hitting No. 1 on Amazon. I am so grateful to those bloggers. I don’t feel my writing would be what it is today without my love of flash fiction.
Creating a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end in only a hundred words is far harder than it sounds. Every word needs to count. Every action needs to be clear. Superfluous words stripped away. There is no place, no space for waffle, irrelevant backstory or those annoying adverbs that can sometimes sneak into a longer piece, no matter how vigilant we are. Writing becomes tighter, clearer, pacier.
My first attempts were pitiful. At that time I didn’t know past and present tenses were different things and my writing was muddled. Sifting through the comments each week I rewrote my pieces. My writing became sharper. The intent behind my words became more apparent. And gradually I found I needed to explain my stories less and less. I became more selective about the language I used. Choosing words for maximum emotional impact. Bringing in the senses. My vocabulary expanded and my voice began to shine through.
The last prompt was a photo of a cream tunnel with a grey floor. This was my contribution: –
“There are grey spaces in my mind where my memories used to be. Even now, I can’t quite remember the events of that night.
That’s what I tell them anyway. Regret stings yellow and sour at the back of my throat as I swallow down my lies.
It was an accident. It must have been.
Except it wasn’t.
My shame burns red.
Green was the colour of the carpet I loosened at the top the stairs. Blue was your language as you tumbled to the floor.
White are the lilies I lay on your grave.
My soul is black and weeping.”
This photo produced pieces ranging from sci-fi to murder and part of the fun for me once I’ve posted mine is reading everyone else’s stories. We all interpret things in such a different way.
If you love writing why don’t you have a go at joining in? Every Wednesday Rochelle will post a photo with instructions on where to post your link when you’ve written your story so it’s visible to everyone. You can find Rochelle’s blog here.