I follow lots of blogs and most of them are all about the art of writing. Well, most of them exhibit great writing styles, so maybe more than half help me in my studies. One of my favorite things to do is participate in writing challenges. The only problem was, I wouldn’t share them. Well, I know keeping them to myself isn’t very helpful. Sometimes I think sharing them is in that same boat.
That sounds too much like fear and after some thought, I decided not to be afraid anymore. Besides, how could I get any better?
One of my favorite authors is Chuck Wendig (terribleminds). One of his flash fiction challenges was fun and I stepped out on a limb and posted my response.
Rule: No more than 100 words.
Restrictive, right? I used his story outline list as a guide and gave it a shot.
- Sentence 1: Beginning/Inciting Incident
- Sentence 2: Middle
- Sentence 3: Middle Peak, act turn or pivot
- Sentence 4: Climactic turn or twist
- Sentence 5: Resolution
First try: 126 words
The monster under her bed was coming for her again, but this time, she was ready. Ever since her twenty-fifth birthday last year, no matter where she went or hid, he came out of the shadows every third full moon and gave chase. All of the lights beamed towards the bed, the only thing in the room, she stood ready with a sword, silently listening to the tick of her watch. Fur so black, nothing could be differentiated in the mass, but that didn’t matter, she jumped off the bed, her aim sure. The sword
Second try: 100 words (Posted)
The monster was coming for her again, but this time, she was ready with sword in hand. Ever since her twenty-fifth birthday, no matter where she went, he came out of the shadows every third full moon, giving chase. Lights beamed towards the room’s sole object, the bed she stood atop, listening to her racing heartbeat. Nothing could be differentiated in the black mass of fur, she jumped, her aim centered, hopeful. The sword broken by the sharp, glowing teeth and a furry, clawed hand held her wrist, the other caressing her cheek, he finally had her, no more running.
I couldn’t think of anything else that would make the story even tighter without it unraveling into a jumble of words. Plus, the issue of the final line not showing a clear intent for the ending could confuse readers.
- Do you think the monster is in love with our fighter? (Which was the goal, since I was aiming for a paranormal romance.)
- Or, could he just be using a psychological tactic before torture?
Questions like that can push me into creating a longer story and that would defeat the purpose of the challenge. Or would it? After some more reworking, I switched around some wording to make it flow smoother and even got the word count down a bit more.
Eighth try: 100 words
The monster was coming again, but this time, she was ready with sword in hand. Ever since the incident on her twenty-fifth birthday, he came out of the shadows every third full moon, giving chase. Lights beamed towards the bed, the room’s sole object she stood atop, listening to her racing heartbeat. Nothing visible in the black mass of fur, she jumped, her aim centered, hopeful. Sword broken by sharp, glowing teeth and a clawed hand held her wrist, the other caressing her dark, heated cheek, he finally had her, no more running. Recognition lit her face, “I missed you.”
This exercise gave me a thought. In working out the outline of a story, I often try to fill in everything as I go along. Suffice it to say, I can get a little frustrated with working out the beat sheet and the elements of romance when drafting a graphic novel. But, this one sentence thing is a good way to begin. One, I evidently had to get a separate example of since, Blake Snyder mentioned only leaving enough space to write one line (maybe two) to explain what each beat is, in his book, Save the Cat. Sometimes I wonder just how much of a book I’m retaining.
This challenge really opened some creative wells for me and I know it can help someone else out there. What story would you tell in 100 words? Feel free to stick it in the comments below because you know sharing is caring!
— Ashleigh Davenport (@VuDuLegends) June 11, 2017