As a hopeful novelist, I have a Writer's Group that I go to. There are three of us, and we simply read each others' pieces of work and help to edit, give ideas, and the like. I look forward to doing this every week, and am able to do it a vast majority of the time. I think it is an invaluable tool because it gives me some people I can bounce ideas off of...and gives me an incentive to make sure I am working on my stories. I hate it when I go there with nothing.
I explain all of this because we have decided - as a group - to enter a short story contest. I would call it a short short story contest or a flash fiction contest...because the word limit - including the title - is 1,500 words. I at first thought this would be a pretty easy undertaking. I mean, really, cranking out 1,500 words is pretty easy for me. I used to do it in a couple hours every Thursday evening for my History essays.
Happily, I am finding this to be a challenge. How do you add depth and suspense to something that is only 1,500 words long? How can you develop a plot in such a short time? You need to have some sort of theme...but not let the whole thing come across as unfinished.
The strange thing with the story I am writing is that I know where I want to end up. I have the setting, the theme, the ending, and I know conversation is going to be a large part of the piece. But how do I start? How do I get to the ending? Ah...there's the rub. I think I am liking this challenge because it is like a Haiku...conveying meaning in a very minimum amount of words.
It is nice to explore this kind of intellectual challenge every once and a while. We'll see where this goes.