Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Results came in for Round 1 of the NYCM Flash Fiction Contest. This is a contest that provides you with specific prompts and gives you exactly one weekend to write no more than 1000 words. There are around 4,000 writers participating, placed in groups of about thirty. Those groups share very strange prompts. They rank the top story in each group with 15 points, the 2nd place with 14 points, and so on. So only 15th to 1st place receive points. All others get zero. It's me, I'm "all others".
I scored in the bottom half of my heat. After letting emotions take over and telling myself I'm an awful writer, and what the hell do I think I'm even trying to do....I was able to admit to myself that the story was boring, in a genre I hate, and I knew I wasn't going to do very well when I submitted it. The prompt was as follows:
Genre: Historical Fiction Location: Cattle Farm
Object: Wedding Dress
I wrote an extremely dull story about a wedding party overtaken by rabid wolves. But Holly, how can you make that dull, you ask? Well, I'm no Willa Cather, and this was definitely not My Antonia. If you haven't read that novel, please do. There is an insanely good bit about wolves devouring a wedding party in an otherwise calm novel. I love stories within stories, like carrying a sleeping baby around in a birdcage ala Love in the Time of Cholera.
My story, The Finest French Lace, is about two sisters who have to stay behind while the rest of the family travels a few fields over for a wedding. One of the sisters is sick with Tuberculosis, and cannot be left alone. The family runs a cattle farm in the late 1800's and the story is set in the winter, when there are very few hands left since most of the work is done in the warmer months. The wedding party is taking too long to return, and the sisters are worried. It's getting dark, and the full moon reveals a pack of wolves in the front yard of their cabin. The wolves come closer, and one of them has a scrap of french lace in its mouth. The same french lace that had adorned the bride's wedding dress. And that's where it ends, because the contest only allows for 1,000 words.
I was so bored with the topic that I literally brought wolves in at the end to kill everyone. So perhaps it was more Horror than Historical Fiction. Either way, it's getting shuffled over to the "Retired" folder on my pc. No one will ever read it.
Round 2 was this past weekend, with the following prompts:
Location: Cafeteria Object: Plunger
There was little chance of me moving on to a 3rd round after this (everyone writes in rounds 1 and 2), so I went silly with it and just had fun. The entire thing is written in an epistolary format. The Many Indiscretions of Agent 592 tells the story of an undercover agent who wrestles with a cover change, office romance, and a replacement. After he forgets protocol, there are dire consequences.