Flash Fiction Challenge, Round 1. Check.

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Well that was fun. Or was it?  I think it was? Yes, it definitely was.

Welcome to my brain over the weekend. This first challenge was a doozy. I thought about waiting up until midnight on Friday when the assignments were first posted, but this old lady just couldn’t do it. So instead, because this totally makes sense, I went to bed around 10:30 and woke up around 2am to roll over and check my email. The site was busy, so it took me the better part of an hour lying in bed and refreshing my screen so I could make it past the “B” section of assignments.

When I finally conquered the internet and got to see the entire “H” section (there are six Hunters by the way), I was actually quite pleased with my prompt. As a reminder, every writer is assigned to a group, or “heat”, then the group is given a genre, location, and object. My group (Heat #82 what what!) got: Fantasy / Space shuttle / Can of paint. Now I love the fantasy genre and have plenty of experience writing it, so I was all “hell yeah!”. But then, as I fell asleep, doubt settled in: how to avoid trending too sci-fi in a fantasy story set on a space shuttle? How would I finish this thing when I had to travel over the weekend AND do a lot of stuff around the house?

Well I first tackled the story over breakfast with coffee, and got about 500 words down before I had to actually go do non-writing things. I wasn’t really feeling it, but but it was a good start. I did my chores then hopped in the car to drive two hours for a friend’s birthday celebration. I attempted to dictate a story while driving but I just ended up with a lot of clips filled with rambling nonsense. Then I tried writing when I went to bed that night, and ended up writing four very different beginnings before realizing perhaps I had a few too many drinks to be very productive. I resigned myself to just hammering it out when I got home on Sunday. Which is basically what happened.

In the end, real life got in the way. Big time. I assume the tight 48-hour time limit is designed specifically with this particular challenge in  mind, so overall it was to be expected. I managed to pull together a complete story and found time to ask two people to beta read for me; they offered some good advice, some of which I took and some I didn’t. I revised and edited, then submitted my story with over an hour to spare.

Do I love my finished story? Not really. It’s not my finest work to be honest. But I’m proud that I rose to the challenge and reached a goal in spite of the obstacles set before me. It was fun to get my creative juices flowing in new and unexpected ways. And it was comforting to have a friend along for the ride. We bounced ideas off one another, commiserated about our fears and expectations, and most importantly, offered encouragement to each other.

On Wednesday we can post our stories for peer reviews while we wait for judges’ feedback, which we won’t receive until early September. In the meantime I will continue to exercise my skills and dabble in genres I’m less familiar with; this will enable me to gain experience and work toward the ultimate goal:  becoming a better writer.

Check back later for my story.

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