So, a little more than two weeks ago, I stumbled across the Shenandoah Valley Writers (SVW) blog. Every Friday, they have a writing contest called Flash! Friday. They give a prompt and a word count limit and a time limit. After the time limit, the voting starts. Once the voting is over, then the winner is announced.
I was busy last Friday and didn’t have the chance to even attempt to participate, but I told myself I would participate the next week. This week.
Well, I read the prompt this morning, and the gears in my brain started turning, and an idea started to take shape. Unfortunately, I was at work. When I got home, I started typing. I wrote my story, but it was too long. The word limit this week was 140 – 160 words, I had 212. I started the process of cutting out 52 words while keeping my story intact. But I didn’t finish before my wife and I had to go out and get a few things done. It was already past the deadline when I got home, but I finished reworking my story (160 words exactly!) anyway. It was an interesting experience. I never worry about the word count when I’m typing something, I just write what sounds good to me.
Even though it’s too late to submit for the contest, there’s no reason to let a story go completely to waste.
First, here’s the prompt from this week’s SVW writing contest:
“With all this talk of new years and beginnings, let’s not let our poor Mayan friends go unforgotten. Today’s prompt is about endings. Your story must be around 150 words (with 10 words’ grace on either side–in other words, between 140-160 words), and it must end with the following (note: it’s acceptable to incorporate this clause into a sentence; the “q” does not need to be capitalized):.Quietly she began to sing.”
He knew. He never said anything, because then they would think he was as crazy as the ones he watched over, but he knew. She never caused any trouble. She was admitted over 5 years ago, and he had watched her all that time. She had never said anything to anyone. He had heard her, though, singing softly to herself when it rained. He hadn’t heard her sing since The Drought had started, a little over a year ago. He knew that it wasn’t that she only sang when it rained. He knew that it only rained when she sang. No rain anywhere in the world, and the riots were getting worse. That day, riots started in every city and town. People turned to monsters with anger and thirst, destroying everything they could. He managed to keep her safe, locked in her room, but few were left alive anywhere after that day of worldwide violence.
Quietly she began to sing.
It’s too bad I wasn’t able to submit it before the deadline. Hopefully next week I’ll manage to submit a piece.
I like it because it talks about how you are in control, you are responsible for your own life, your own choices, your own destiny.
“It is rewarding to find someone whom you like, but it is essential to like yourself. It is quickening to recognize that someone is a good and decent human being, but it is indispensable to view yourself as acceptable. It is a delight to discover people who are worthy of respect and admiration and love, but it is vital to believe yourself deserving of these things. For you cannot find yourself in someone else. You cannot be given a life by someone else. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.”
– J. Couden