A regional publisher (Engen Books) along with a local photographer (Kit Sora Photography) have offered a series of contests entitled; “Flash Fiction Photography Contest”, and I tried my hand at it.
Flash Fiction is something I haven’t tried before, so a little homework was in order. As best as I could tell, anything between six (6) words and 1000 words is “Flash Fiction”, though there seems to be several sub-categories within that limit.
The rules seemed simple enough, write a piece of fiction inspired by the supplied photo in 250 words or less, seemed simple enough right? I should have known…
Draft 1: 458 words
- I could tell right off that I was way over the limit, but I wrote it to the end. I felt finishing a complete story would give me a firm idea of what was important to the tale and what was unnecessary.
Draft 2: 336 words
- My first major cutting was easy enough, I tend to “babble-write” so with some simple editing and liberal use of the red pen, I felt good about where it was going.
Draft 3: 269 words
- This was by far the hardest draft for me to work on. I scrutinized each word to see if there was a way to convey meaning with fewer words, losing none of the impact. I also found that I swapped words (one for one) often in this edit, to find the “perfect” word.
Draft 4: 247 words
- Three words under the limit, Hooray!!! I’m done right? Well, I thought so. Somewhat pleased with myself, I reached out to a writer friend (thanks Jenn) and asked her opinion. She suggested I cut the first 25% of my story, and to use those “extra” words to expand upon the ending.
Draft 5: 247 words
- After cutting out the first quarter of my story and expanding upon the ending, I’m feeling good about my first piece of flash fiction. I will sit on it for a day or two, then give it a final “polish” before sending it off to the publisher.
This has been quite the experiment for me, one which took little time to do, but had big payoffs in skills learned. A worthy exercise for authors of all skill and ability, try it!