Getting the Hang of Flash Fiction

Just six months ago, I was convinced I couldn’t write short fiction. Novel writing is just too different from building short stories. (I explained my apprehension in detail in a recent guest post on Stupefying Stories called Scared of Short Stories.)

Scared as I was, I had to face my fears—that’s what I tell my kids to do in this kind of situation. So I started participating in flash fiction writing contests organized through Codex Writers’ Group. My first piece won that round, which gave me courage. My second took an honorable mention.

And my third, Calling the Cloud, just placed first again. It’s a modified drabble: 100 words, plus a seven-word line provided by editor Pete Wood: “I’m pretty sure he wasn’t our waiter.” Check it out if you have time!

Update 7/30/2021: My new drabble At Wits’ End was published on Stupefying Stories.

History Is Alive and Well

My first drabble appeared today in Stupefying Stories together with Alicia Hilton’s, as part of a new Pete Wood Challenge. I’ve only recently learned what a drabble is: a piece of flash fiction of exactly 100 words. The constraints are surprisingly liberating. The story is just a moment in time, no space for backstory or anything else.

Here’s the text of the challenge:

In keeping with this being the first week of summer here in the northern hemisphere, and therefore of summer vacation season, the challenge was to write a 100-word story centered around the concept of “tourist trap” without resorting to any of the ideas that have become shopworn and threadbare horror movie clichés in the past 60 years.

My story is called History Is Alive and Well. My previous entry in Stupefying Stories was For Sale: Used Time Machine. No Refunds! I hope you enjoy reading them if you have time.

First Place in Stupefying Stories Writing Contest

This is a quick note about a short story I wrote for a prompt contest run by Stupefying Stories, 500 words with the title “For Sale: Used Time Machine. No Refunds!”

I’ve been working on novels for many years and haven’t practiced my short-story skills as much. But this piece of flash fiction worked, and won first place in the contest. Here’s what editor Pete Wood said about it:

When I created this contest, I expected nothing but tongue-in-cheek takes on time travel tropes. While several writers didn’t disappoint with humorous entries, the variety of the stories surprised me. It never occurred to me that my writing prompt could inspire a serious story, a literary story.

Roxana knocked it out of the park and she had some tough competition. Her depth of character and pathos in only five hundred words is a feat. I hope you like her story as much as I did. I think we’ll be hearing more from her.

And here’s the link. If you have time to read it, I hope you’ll enjoy it.