Flash Fiction Addiction

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m addicted to Janet Reid’s flash fiction contests.  They’re fun.  They’re great practice for learning how to use words sparingly while building a story, which must include a beginning, middle, end.  They give you a sense of accomplishment – yay I finished something! – especially if in the throes of a WIP.

Lucky for us, Ms. JR held a couple contests the weekends of May 30th, and June 6th.  For May 30th’s contest, I think blog comments may have prompted a North Carolina themed contest, and the one on June 6th was a suggestion from Colin Smith a “reg’lar” on her blog.  He reads a lot of books by a client of hers, author Gary Corby, whose latest book, DEATH EX MACHINA was released.

Of course I entered both.  As usual, she gave five prompt words, and then we have to write a story in 100 words or less.

Here is my entry for May 30th, where I placed as a FINALIST (whoop!) out of about 75 entries. Prompt words:  balloon, heart, wife, dare, plott (yes, with two t’s)

I watch the sun rise, a red balloon in the eastern sky. Haint stands at the river’s edge while Banner runs nearby sniffing traces of yesterday.

Never had much heart for anything other than these old Plott hounds, God love’em. Last year when that water moccasin bit Lloyd, then Haint, it tested that very fact.

Lloyd had hollered, “Wife! Move your ass, I’m bit!”

Forty years. Never once called me by my name.

I daresay my decision came then.

Is puttin’ a dog ahead of a human a sin?  


I wipe spittle off Lloyd’s chin and watch the dogs.


For June 6th contest which I WON (!)  Double WHOOP!  Prompt words were:  chorus, ghost, actor, crane, stage

Back when I won’t more’n a speck, I heard what sounded like a chorus of voices under my bed mumblin’ some word.

I couldn’t rightly make it out at first, so’s I kept on listening, night after night.

Finally, I got it.


I reckon they was ghosts.

That actor what shot Lincoln? Useless was last word he said afore he died, no foolin’.

Troublin’ what I see when I crane my neck like so. They been hammering since yesterday.

Come dawn, reckon I’ll be center stage.

It’s alright. I ain’t ever amounted to nothin’.


Useless comes to mind.

These are The Shark’s words verbatim, below my entry in the finalist area, “This is a stunning demonstration of how to show rather than tell, and establishing character through diction.”

Reading that was SUBLIME, and then she added this with her determination of how she chose this piece as the winner, “It was very hard to pick a winner this week because all of these stories had things I loved.  In the end though it had to be Donnaeve for a compelling demonstration of craft and story.


Then, I got up and did this:

Happy Dance

courtesy LOL.ROFL


I always love reading your entries. It’s fun to have a writing community. We’re pretty lucky, a late congrats on your win. Cheers Hank


Excellent writing in such a spare format!

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I, too, am a big fan of QOTKU, though I’m more of a lurker than a contributor. Learned everything I know about queries (little enough as that is) from her QueryShark blog. And I, too, find myself anxiously awaiting the next flash fiction contest. I entered this last one and got the “Oh my GODiva” award… Color me glowing since last week…
Congrats on the win!!!

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I keep missing the contests because they’re on the weekend, and I don’t do much internettin’ on the weekend. Still, If I Remember, I’ll pop in and hope there’s a contest.

I’m not as good as you and Colin, though. Out of practice. That, and for a novelist, a hundred words is usually a single glance or a sigh, not a whole story.


    I don’t know what it is, but soon as I know there’s one happening, I can’t seem to NOT enter – even when I know I have other writing to do.

    …, and thank you for that, but I think we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to these. I’m a novelist too – three finished books and working on the fourth, and I think, for me anyway, the contests are exercises in paring words down to a fine point. Sort of like skimming the fat off gravy.


Congrats again, Donna! 🙂

I love those contests, too, and I enjoy reading everyone’s entries. It always amazes me what different people do with the same words. And when the Shark recognizes your entry, it feels fabulous! 🙂


    Thank you! I enjoy reading all of them too. I had mentioned before (can’t recall when) how interesting it is to get five words and see all the variations in stories. And the unique voices. And for me, all recognition is special no matter what – even a “special recognition for…” and then her comment on use of words, beautiful sentence, etc.


Congratulations! You earned it.

I’m glad you’re addicted to them, your entries are always awesome! (and the Shark agrees, so this isn’t just flattery….)

I enjoy participating, it’s a fun exercise, and I hope to continue improving. I’m very good at writing “not quite a story” in those 100 words, and frequently think I’m dreadfully clever indeed. But that part is the story of my life 😉

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    Thank you! I’ve had a few land in the “not quite a story,” category. And that’s why I ended up asking her what made her decide it wasn’t quite a story. And she came back with that answer about a defined beginning, middle, end.

    I like how she provided a more in depth explanation this time. They ARE fun, and in truth, your entries have (IMO) always been some of my favorites. I.e. you know you look for a particular person’s story? I look for yours, 2N’s, Colin, Amanda Capper, Terri Lynn, Julie W, and Amy’s. Lenny Liang’s, although he hasn’t been around much. Michael Seese. Trying to think of others off the top of my head. Bottom line, I look forward to reading them all, but I do look for certain ones. 🙂


      Yes, I liked how she gave the breakdown this time, it was an interesting view into the thought process.

      Aww, and thanks! That makes me super happy ^^ I look for yours as well, and NN’s, and other regulars. I do read them all, but yours and hers and some others are who I gravitate to when I’m looking back at the entries through the day. I remember the closest I got was “This isn’t a story, but I’d keep reading if it was a novel start” and…..well, I’m *kind of* working on that novel now? making gestures?

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