500 Words or Less:
So there’s this writing contest that I’m trying to enter. The challenge for me? A captivating, complete story in 500 words or less. I’m not always the most wordy person, but there’s a reason I have more novels (finished or not) than short stories in my personal portfolio.
To me at least, writing short stories is harder than writing a novel. Especially 500 words or less. Flash fiction I guess you could consider this?
I did take one January-term seminar on flash fiction, and it never got easy for me. I hardly ever feel like my story hits its potential in 2 pages.
I did write one piece to try submitting, but I had 3 people read it, one who was also an English/CW major, and two who aren’t, and got some interesting feedback. Confusing too, because everyone has a completely different opinion about it. Everyone read into it differently (although that was intentional). And everyone thinks it’s a different stage as far as being turn-in ready. Gah! What am I supposed to do now? Hm.
I think it’s partly my own fault though. I tried to write some really introspective, abstract piece that I don’t know that I’m capable of writing in less than a month. I think this piece needs to sit for awhile while I brainstorm how to get the result I was wanting.
I’m trying to come up with another idea, but I keep making everything too complicated. There’s a reason I turned in novel chapters during my creative writing seminars. Short stories are hard!
I think what I’m going to try to do, is create a character and try to write several short stories about said character all in one document. Then it will FEEL like I’m writing something longer, but really I’m not!
Part of me really believes that this is a mind over matter thing. I’m most likely more than capable of coming up with something short AND great. Telling a good story like I know I’m good at, just in a shorter time span.
I tell good stories, dangit! (I’m motivating myself here) And I CAN write something good in 500 words or less!
I guess the problem is that we as writers (or really just humans in general) tend to be extra critical of ourselves in everything.
I see it in fitness groups on Facebook: people post their before and afters, claiming they “don’t see a difference” when to the world, it’s obvious! Sometimes, I read my own work and think it’s shit. But someone else reads it and thinks it’s great!
I’ve gotta work on turning my criticalness down a notch (not completely though, of course). I’ve gotta just let myself write and stop hating it simply because I wrote it.
And I need to share my stuff with other people more. Their nice comments make me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Off to try this short story thing again.
And also, this post is 495 words. Booyah!