Recently I got bit by the flash-fiction bug — like writing a headline on deadline, only meatier. Most contests, though, had too-long lead times. Needed it quick and dirty.
Yesterday, I found my fix via #TuesdayTales on Twitter. (Its host is a fellow wordpress blogger, at glitterword.wordpress.com). The simple rules: Write 100 words. Incorporate “bellwether.” Take a cue from attached photo. GO! I had 20 minutes before my shift. Below is what burbled out.
What’s great about this exercise is you have no clue where it will take you until you’re done, like a sprinter against a stopwatch. This is better than Facebook SCRABBLE or iPhone’s Words With Friends, people. Prompts can be addictive. Just as I’m ever curious what kind of headline someone else might put on the same story I’m editing, this is an opportunity to see how other minds interpret the same stimuli.
Theirs was no balcony scene from Shakespeare.
Harold fired up the briquettes, pretending to host a summer soiree at the precise moment Ruby cleared her stop, bus doors squegeeing shut another grueling day at the diner, white wedgies sponging the sidewalk, leftovers leaking from foil inside her gripsack.
“You should join us, neighbor!” he bellowed, too eagerly.
She squinted upward. Crikes, who said that?
No bellwether of fashion in plaid plum smugglers, he swatted air in a grand wave, forgetting his grip on the lighter fluid. Sparks snaked into a fireball.
Later, at the shelter, ’twas a night to remember.
The judge — author, award-winning screenwriter and writing coach Ami Hendrickson — gave this flattering review. I’m only repeating it here for the benefit of my 80-year-old mother, because she subscribes to my blog and wouldn’t know where to find it otherwise (Hi, Mom!).
”I loved reading these entries. There were so many good pieces that I ended up focusing on writing-craft things to narrow the field. I made myself get nitpicky about things like spelling, grammar, and word redundancy just to help whittle down the contenders. Sadly, this affected some of my first-glance favorites. But it helped me make my decision.” ~MuseInks
“I love the sights, sounds, and set-up here. This piece combines both pathos and humor in a memorable way. It quickly places the reader in the thick of the action. The piece moves. It’s bold, active, and rife with robust, lively words. It also packs a punch at the end that makes the reader revisit the beginning and see it in a different light.
“Furthermore, this piece contains my favorite use of the Secret Word. “You’re no bellwether of fashion” may well become a catch phrase of mine.
“Well done!” ~Museinks the judgemaster has spoken!
Winner has received an edit & critique of the first chapter of their manuscript (up to 20 pages) and a critique of their synopsis.