PDA

View Full Version : Micro-flash Challenge



bfdc
12-14-2004, 12:25 PM
.

maestrowork
12-14-2004, 03:22 PM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room.

Then I saw you. My sister, in your white pajamas, your face gaunt and pale. I let out a breath as you turned to me and smiled.

You knew. Tommy Sutton had been executed an hour before for his crime. You knew.

"I gotta go, Danny," you said. You smiled one more time before disappearing with the light.

I didn't forget. "Happy Birthday," I yelled, my words swallowed by the dark space.

Tomorrow would have been your seventh birthday. I just wanted you to know, that I loved you.

bfdc
12-16-2004, 03:13 AM
maestrowork, exactly. So many levels here to discover and wonder about. Spooky.

maestrowork
12-16-2004, 03:40 AM
What emotion did you feel?

bfdc
12-16-2004, 09:47 AM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room.

Then I saw you. My sister, in your white pajamas, your face gaunt and pale. I let out a breath as you turned to me and smiled.
I feel the release of tension and hope here.


You knew. Tommy Sutton had been executed an hour before for his crime. You knew.
Sorrow, pain.

"I gotta go, Danny," you said. You smiled one more time before disappearing with the light.
I wondered what happened to the light and how that related to the sister.

I didn't forget. "Happy Birthday," I yelled, my words swollowed by the dark space.
The misspelling of "swallowed" brought me out of the story, somewhat. Back to the story, I'm sensing a mystery. Why did the sister leave and why did you wait till she was gone to say happy birthday?

Tomorrow would have been your seventh birthday. I just wanted you to know, that I loved you.
The use of "would have been" indicates that the sister wasn't really there, and she won't be there the next day to have her birthday. I want to know why. I want to know who Tommy is and what he has to do with it. Maybe Tommy, the executed one, is you.

I'm not real great at deducing stuff like emotions, etc., from writing. I always got that kind of thing wrong in school. I think because I was raised by wolves. If I had to say what the overall feeling was, I'd have to say I felt fear and longing in the piece.

Bob/bfdc

maestrowork
12-16-2004, 10:26 AM
Interesting. I didn't think I left this story wide open for interpretation. Anybody else?

The person who gets my original intention (and the real story) gets a prize.

Anyone else wants to write something?

bfdc
12-16-2004, 09:02 PM
Everything's always open for interpretation.
What emotion does anyone get from my piece below?

~~~

One light shone in the otherwise empty room. Her little reading lamp did its best to dent the darkness, and for what it was worth, it succeeded. If she lay close to it, she could see well enough to read or write, or to close her eyes and know the darkness within was broken, if only subtly.

The roar of the engine outside grabbed her attention. The moving van had arrived.

~~~

Bob/bfdc

maestrowork
12-16-2004, 11:51 PM
Loss. Separation. Isolation.

bfdc
12-17-2004, 03:39 AM
Interesting. The arriving moving van was bringing the new furniture to fill up the room. Kind of makes me hopeful, looking forward to filling up the future.

Interesting.

Bob/bfdc

maestrowork
12-17-2004, 03:47 AM
It's the sense of the writing -- the lone light, the darkness, etc. that gives me the feelings. Also, "The moving van has arrived" -- didn't tell me it was bringing the furniture. For all I know, it was coming to take away stuff from the rest of the house... that she's moving out, and now yearning for a last moment with her house...

That's what I gleaned from it.

bfdc
12-17-2004, 07:50 AM
Needed one more sentence and an edit.

But the fact that someone could take it either way is good, too.

The light was on in the room. I've moved into places and had about the same, though I'd have taken a radio, pillow, and blanket, for sure.

I'd edit:

The moving van full of furniture had arrived. Now to fill up the emptiness.

Something like that.

Thanks for your comments and time, maestrowork.

maestrowork
12-17-2004, 12:52 PM
Welcome.

msQTpi
12-19-2004, 12:49 PM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room.

She rubbed her arms to ward off the dampness and cold, as a shiver began at the base of her spine.

Opening the book in her arms she traced the faces pictured there on it's first page. He was gone, they all were.

The acrid smell of smoke rose from the pages to meet her swollen nose and eyes. She closed the book and walked through the door.

Nateskate
12-20-2004, 01:57 AM
It is funny, because your topic realted so much with my answer on the "Writing is" thread.

Here's my answer to your question:

One light shone in the otherwise empty room, a hospital waiting room, but to me this night, no less than a dungeon, the rankest of prisons. Having lost our first child, I doubted my wife could endure another blow like this, as our newborn’s life hung in the balance.

A single word from the surgeon, and not only the fate of my child he held in his hands, but the fate of my family. Could we as a couple endure, I don’t know, but nonetheless, I could only place this too upon the altar.

souljoy75
12-20-2004, 09:13 AM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room.

I noticed it right away, the way your demeanor lit up the area. Too bad no one showed up for the party. That'll bring your happy lil pollyanna attitude down a bit. You see sweetie, no one, and I mean no one, thinks as much of you as you do yourself. Except maybe your mama and me. Go home sweetie. You're not ready yet.

reph
12-20-2004, 12:34 PM
The person who gets my original intention (and the real story) gets a prize.

It's a ghost story. Tommy killed the narrator's sister. He probably did some other things to her first.

reph
12-20-2004, 12:53 PM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room.

I should make a wish, she thought. Eddie used to tell me, Hurry up and make your wish before it burns clear down. I'd say, It's my wish, honey, I'll make it when I want. Then he'd do that pretend face at me and we'd laugh.

I could still make a wish. For health, I guess, and to keep going. Another year.

The flame sputtered and went out. A smell of warm wax and charred frosting rose from the little cake.

reph
12-20-2004, 01:28 PM
My emotions as a reader:

Maestro–warmth and creepiness.

bfdc–about the same as Maestro's reaction. I too thought the van was coming to clean out the rest of the house.

souljoy–something like "You go, girl!" Identification with the narrator and her confidence.

msQTpi–sorry, I didn't know what to make of this one. The situation is unclear: somebody's holding a burning album? I think you left out too much.

maestrowork
12-20-2004, 11:40 PM
Reph.... ding ding ding... we have a winner! And about your piece, I feel: hope, a touch of sadness (I assume either the narrator is terminally ill, and/or that her husband, Eddie, is gone).

Nateskate: dread, worry, a sliver of hope

Soul: justice, "yeah!"

MsQtpi: creepiness? Even though I'm not sure what it really was about. Possibly a ghost/supernatural story? But it's not clear within the piece itself. It feels unfinished.

reph
12-21-2004, 03:53 AM
I didn't imagine my narrator as terminally ill. Short stories have way too many terminally ill characters. She's old enough that health in general is a concern, and she's alone (widowed, I was thinking). The best part of her life (good marriage) is over. But she's not so depressed that she won't still observe her birthday.

Most of us so far are ignoring the "otherwise empty room" cue. These scenes would take place in furnished rooms.

maestrowork
12-21-2004, 05:04 AM
Yup, it seems like most of these stories can happen in any room, not just empty ones.

Reph, I think it's this line that made me think she could be terminally ill:
For health, I guess, and to keep going. Another year.

But then I realized it had more to do with Eddie being gone, since she talkd about him in past tense.

There are so much in short stories that not everything can be explained fully (not in 100 words anyway), and we really have to read between the lines to get it sometimes.

msQTpi
12-21-2004, 12:40 PM
:o I misunderstood the assignment. I thought the idea was to provoke emotion using the given sentence and to keep it under 100 words.

I've been trying to get away from my normal long winded ways and thought it would be a good exercise to take the minimalist approach. Guess not...lol.

I'll catch on sooner or later...promise.

BTW, my character was in the only remaining room of her recently burnt out house, looking at her family photo album that had survived the fire a little worse for wear. When she left the room, she was starting her life over, alone.

Oaksjack
12-22-2004, 10:44 AM
A single light shone in the otherwise empty room. Cantwell held the candle in its wind-proof lantern high. "Grave robbers," he thought, "Nothing left but wall hieroglyphs." He studied the unspeakably ancient symbols. The flame guttered in the stale air. His shadow grew large. It jumped and danced among the stylized figures that had guided some lord into his afterworld when humanity was young. Writing had powers then. Cantwell felt the weight of time like the weight of the stone. The figures began to move with the flickering shadow. He stepped toward the entrance. Then the light died.

bfdc
12-22-2004, 11:22 PM
Great work, Oaksjack. Nice use of short and long sentences.

MsQTi, you have the idea exactly. Some people don't like to stay within the 100-word limit, but this is the Internet and about anything goes. As long as the exercise sparks some creativity, that's the important thing.

I like the idea of staying within the 100 words and trying to evoke an emotion as a way to tighten writing. We all need to tighten our writing. At the same time, the piece needs to be understandable for what it is. Make sense? Probably not. But you have the idea, anyway.

Bob/bfdc

Oaksjack
12-23-2004, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the kind words. I found it a stimulating exercise. I did five vignettes off the "light" sentence and tried to make each one different. I found it hard to play fair with the "empty room." And the setup seemed to point me toward a gloomy or scary scene. My one determined effort to make something cheerful from it came out lame. It was particularly good exercise to trim out things to get to the hundred words.

msQTpi
12-23-2004, 12:27 PM
Thanks Bob,

Along with the tightening up I am also working on the show/tell issue. When I posted I really thought I had done myself proud...lol. I am so glad I have people here who will honestly tell me what they think. I can't get better if I am satisfied to be less than I could/should be.

Renee'

bfdc
12-28-2004, 10:16 PM
.

detante
12-29-2004, 12:06 AM
Edited to remove story.

Taking advantage of Reph's advice. . .

reph
12-29-2004, 01:35 AM
detante, I don't know whether you were aiming at an emotion with the Jake story, but you got a good plot out of it. You might submit that to a flash (micro) fiction site. A few of them pay.

detante
12-29-2004, 02:04 AM
Reph, I was going for anger and vengence. But I'll take the plot compliment. Thanks!

I didn't realize there was a market for micro fiction. Any suggestions on where to start looking?

reph
12-29-2004, 02:19 AM
SmokeLong Quarterly is one. Fiction Inferno rarely takes anything that short, but "rarely" beats "never." the-phone-book.com was an excellent market, but it stopped accepting stories (probably lost its funding); worth keeping an eye on in case it starts up again. Pam Casto's FlashFictionFlash newsletter has lots of leads.

detante
12-29-2004, 03:18 AM
Thank you, kindly!

Jen

reph
12-29-2004, 05:27 AM
Jen, if you might submit it, removing it from this not-password-protected board would be wise.

bfdc
01-03-2005, 11:00 PM
.

cyberwraith
01-05-2005, 09:51 PM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room. Bright as the tip of an acetylene torch it burned all the color from everything in its path. What was that pounding? He stumbled to the window. A police helicopter hovered above the house, shining its powerful search light directly into the living room. He hopped back and stood uncertainly, his lower torso in the light. If I move, he thought, I’ll look guilty. Suddenly the light and sound swept away and he was left standing in the dark. Yup, he yawned, sleeping in the nude has its advantages.

cyberwraith
01-05-2005, 11:36 PM
Your 100 words are an entire story! Really lovely. I won't forget them. I especially liked the sense of defiance that comes from your character facing the candle, a confrontation that ends pleasantly with the smell of "warm wax and charred frosting." You really demonstrated how to jump in yet not over work the emotion in such a short frame. Thanks!

bfdc
01-05-2005, 11:49 PM
CW, your sleeping in the nude ending of the "one light" micro-flash was one of those that made me go "hm," wondering if I should laugh and be amused or go back and study it further to see if I missed something. So I did both. Very good, and welcome to InkSlingers.

Bob/bfdc

cyberwraith
01-05-2005, 11:56 PM
Thanks! It was meant to be funny. 100 words is tough! :) I used to pooh-pooh the whole concept, until I tried it. Ouch! A great stretch.

I'm really enjoying this forum.

smrobbi
01-06-2005, 12:44 PM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room. One of those damned two sixty watt bulbs smack in the center of the ceiling, light fixtures from hell. It was an old one from the fifties not kitschy or special, tarnished brass and a frosted glass cylinder. The tiny space took on a particularly depressing demeanor under the auspices of that thing with absolutely no help from the one brick wall facing window… so this is it, my spacious 350 square foot studio apartment in Chelsea. I set the first of my boxes down and breathed deep the New York air.

smrobbi
01-06-2005, 01:12 PM
Every grain of sand on the beach reflected a different color from the afternoon sun. I studied his face wishing I could float forever in that unbelievably light feeling I would get in his presence. “Don’t worry…. It’ll be over in no time… we’ll winter in Paris…” Tears came from nowhere, grief slamming me like a sudden pungent odor in the midst of a sweet breeze. I fought crying, Dear God I wanted to be stronger than this, but the lightness had gone and tomorrow he would leave our safe Mendocino hideout, to work as an American journalist in Iraq.

smrobbi
01-06-2005, 01:36 PM
Her eyes reminded me of a Lemur’s as I explained to her the finer points of interpreting Mozart. Students like Simone… so talented, ravenous for knowledge, once in a lifetime if you’re lucky. Her father never truly appreciated her gift, he was too caught up impressing the world with his child prodigy. I’d be a better parent for her. I understand her abilities and potential from a more spiritual place than that of mere showmanship. No need for all the bragging and forced performances for anyone and everyone like some trained monkey. She is a young Goddess finding her power…

bfdc
01-06-2005, 10:31 PM
Excellent work, smrobbi. Looks like you had an inspirational morning.

novelator
01-07-2005, 10:02 AM
I'm late with this--but I just found the thread tonight and I so love a challenge. (99 words)

One light shone in an otherwise empty room. The illumination blinked in an even rhythmic pulse to the shush, shush, shushing contraction and expansion of taut, moist walls. Gelidity had superseded warmth long before in concert to a rising selfishness, a pervasive immorality that, lacking any semblance of conscience to restrain the lurid urge, had shrunk the square footage by degree at each slaking of aberrant thirst. And now, as the beat slowed with the advent of the poison, the light dimmed, the shushing walls ceased their function, the wizened heart of a child killer stopped by lethal injection.

Mari

Mari

bfdc
01-08-2005, 02:41 AM
Ooo, Mari, eww. Great writing. Never too late to do one of these things. You'll find a few more prompts throughout the thread, so jump in!

Bob/bfdc

novelator
01-09-2005, 09:37 AM
Thanks, Bob. Glad my little contribution evoked a chill out of you (or so it appeared)...LOL

You know, I could actually see the heart the moment I read the line. That's when I knew I should write.

Mari

reph
01-09-2005, 04:50 PM
Thank you, cyberwraith!

bfdc
01-09-2005, 09:46 PM
.

Betty W01
01-11-2005, 01:37 AM
One light shone in the otherwise empty room. The painters were coming. About time, she supposed. She touched the dated pencil marks on the door frame lightly, then stared
blindly at the pink walls dotted with jagged nail holes and bits of tape. It really did need painting, she assured herself.

She looked around. It looked bigger now, with Lisa’s stuff gone. For such a small kid, she’d taken up a lot of space. Now, all she filled was a small plot of ground in the cemetery next door and the yawning hole in her mother’s heart.

maestrowork
01-11-2005, 04:04 AM
His hands felt clumsy on the keyboard. So he left them there, and let the maggot finish them off.

He still had one foot left. It wasn't even dawn yet.

bfdc
01-11-2005, 09:56 AM
Betty, a heartbreaking, poignant story in few words.

Maestrowork, ROFL. Hilarious.

Bob/bfdc

bfdc
01-22-2005, 12:24 AM
.

reph
01-22-2005, 11:57 AM
James didn't know what to say.

It's all wrong, maybe. But where would he begin?

The flowers? He'd never liked carnations–too cheap, fillers in mixed bouquets. Helen must have placed the order. Carnation wreaths, a carnation spray.

The minister? A big, frizzy-haired woman James thought he remembered from Helen's Wiccan circle; hard to tell from up here. Meaningless words drifted to the ceiling. Even Helen seemed not to pay attention. One hand clutched a white handkerchief, stark against the black skirt. The other rested on Greg's thigh.

Greg?

I don't know my powers yet. But I'll be back.

reph
01-22-2005, 12:07 PM
Bob, may we see your own responses to the prompts you provide? There's been none since page 1.

wurdwise
01-22-2005, 01:11 PM
James didn't know what to say. The crux of the reason he couldn't keep a woman around for very long.

"Are you going to stand there and gawk, or help me with these boxes?" Betty asked, ugly with contempt as she stood in the doorway.

James worried the knife in his pocket, smiling at this leather faced harpy, another barfly he'd picked up, hoping his love would soften her bitter heart.

The knife found it's destiny, the look on her face worth all the torture she'd put him through, constantly nagging, like all the rest, you never talk to me!

bfdc
01-22-2005, 01:32 PM
.

wurdwise
01-22-2005, 09:27 PM
Hey, Bob. That doesn't sound fair. Mine took over an hour. It really is a challenge to make a complete story out of 100 words. I am new, I assumed this was a challenge set up by AW, and that everyone was participating, until I saw that note that came up after my posted and your reply.

Please tell me we are not your guinea pig muses?

bfdc
01-22-2005, 10:33 PM
.

wurdwise
01-22-2005, 11:28 PM
Why would you go to such drastic measures over one person's very simple question, even stated with a please? I was actually not thinking that, if you want to know the truth, being a bit tongue in cheek, but your fierce reaction makes me wonder if I didn't hit a nerve.

My goodness, if this is all innocent fun, why not just say so?

reph
01-23-2005, 12:19 AM
I got an ez-inbox mail from Bob today. Apparently he found my question hostile. He says he's asked the moderator to delete this thread.

I simply thought it would be interesting to see what kind of stories Bob imagined would develop from these prompts.

wurdwise
01-23-2005, 01:00 AM
Mmmmmhhhh, I didn't find your question hostile, it was perfectly reasonable that it be asked. Oh, well.8o

maestrowork
01-23-2005, 01:46 AM
Don't take things too seriously here, that's my advice. Everything is tongue in cheeck in this forum.

Yeshanu
01-28-2005, 05:40 AM
My apologies for my absence the last couple of days -- I've been busy with school. Yes, Bob asked me to delete this thread, but as I see he's deleted his posts himself, I'm going to leave it up. It's a good challenge that has prompted some great work, and I hope that the thread will return to its original purpose -- challenging you to create masterpieces in 100 words or less.

Go for it, folks!

Yeshanu
01-28-2005, 05:43 AM
New Prompt:

The snow blanketing the ground glittered in the fading sunlight.

Vipersniper
03-17-2005, 06:12 AM
:hi: The snow blanketed on the ground glittered in the sunlight. As she walked over to the tree she saw the blooms emitting through the snow and she sighed. Upon glancing at her ring finger she touched the ring. Why it was a message that he had sent her in the form of the Violets in the snow. Now she knelt down and touched them to see if they were real and they were. For she had thought to herself that perhaps old age and longing for her dead husband had played tricks on her. So she spoke to him in a whisper. "Yes now I believe that you do still love me just as you said that Christmas Eve, when you gave me the ring." The glistening snow made the perfect backdrop for her delicate hand that belied their age and the ring sparkled in the sunlight. A ring that he had made for her and it was from hand mined amethyst, emeralds and diamonds. He had done the goldsmithing himself a hobby that he spent time on when he was not building roads.
She wondered to herself how long it would be before she joined him and again her thoughts were about the Violets in the snow. The words of her poem played throughout the finely tuned mind.

Soon I will pass from here below.
We will be together again my love.
There were Violets in the snow on Christmas Eve.
They were sent from you by God so I would believe.

A section of what I should write in my novel that is in the works. The Power and The Glory. It is for my character Pearl who is based on a real life woman.

The Country Cousin.