I wrote some flash fiction yesterday! Click here to read it. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to concentrate enough to do that. When I sat down to write it all I had was the determination to do it and not much else. This particular story went through an unexpected evolution. Most of the flash fiction I write starts off with an idea that pops into my head or a prompt.
If you read my blog you know I’ve had back problems and I’ve been very sick for a week. Yesterday I was feeling halfway decent and I decided that I was going to write a flash fiction story. I stared into space for a while, listened to some music and glanced through my idea notebook trying to come up with something, anything to write. Space and my bedroom walls did nothing for me, music didn’t work and all the ideas in my notebook are things I want to either spend more time on or are for longer stories. For a moment I thought about working on a longer story but I’m pretty stubborn and I told myself I was writing flash, period!
I turned to prompts. I searched WordPress tags for: prompts, prompt, writing prompt, writing prompts and 100 words. Nothing really grabbed my attention. I don’t know if I was being moody or extra picky or what, but I searched for an hour, going back days in the list of blog posts and came up empty. I even went through my own Wednesday and Saturday posts looking at previous prompts.
Eventually a vague idea hit. I don’t know where it came from. For all I know it was from the third or thirtieth prompt I saw or from thin air. I was going to write about a lady who wanted to make a garden but was scared to. My very first thought was the first sentence: “Sara hated gardening.” I didn’t know what it was but something about it bothered me, but I forged ahead, writing whatever came to me. I was 400 words in before I realized that I didn’t know where I was going with it. Originally Sara was going to hate snakes. They say write what you know, and I know I hate snakes so that worked for me. As I wrote a bit of description for those horrid creatures I got a little freaked out. Add that to not having any way to twist the story and I had 400 useless words.
Then I decided to change the animal from snakes to something people don’t normally find threatening. This was an interesting process because I had to figure out many words to use that were descriptive and I didn’t want repeats. Thesaurus.com is my friend suggesting creature, monster, critter, beast, vermin, etc.
After going through a few different animals I settled on the final one, which meant I had to make several changes to the story. I also realized the name Sara didn’t really fit the character so I renamed her. By the time I was finished it was sitting at a little over 600 words. I figured I should whittle that down to 500 but since I hadn’t planned that from the beginning I decided not to have the restriction.
There is still something about the piece I’m unsatisfied with but I don’t know what. It’s probably the fact that I haven’t written anything in so long. Maybe it’s because the process was so different from what I’m used to. What really matters though is I sat down with nothing but the will to write and ended up with a story. I wasn’t feeling inspired. The mood to write hadn’t struck. I was simply irritated with myself for not writing lately, no matter the reasons/excuses, and I was determined to write one story. I could say I wish that it hadn’t taken so long to come up with something but the truth is, I was getting in my own way.
My normal process is not normally so messy but I’m all for using whatever works.