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FFC: How do you prepare?

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jennifer.quail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 2:01pm
At least for Short Story, it's sent directly to the authors. You can check the last Flash forum on here and see if people posted their feedback to share it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote roccapia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 3:53pm
I don't try to prepare anymore. No matter how much I tried in the past, the prompts always threw me for such a loop that whatever preparations I did never did any good. So the most I'll do is generally think of a character quirk for my character and try to work it in. Like someone with a huge gag reflex (this works good in comedies) or afraid of spiders, or something like that. And even then, it rarely seems to work with the prompts. So when I start writing, I'm writing from total scratch.
 
Maybe I should read the winners' stories more, to see what works. But in reality, I write the way I like to write, and I'm not too worried about winning in that respect. I don't want to copy someone's style just because the judges like it. It wouldn't be my style, so I probably wouldn't even do it right. Sometimes you have to stick with what you're good at and hope you get lucky.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Schrifty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 5:36pm
To prepare beforehand:

- Clear my schedule for the weekend.  Hard no on doing anything before 6pm on either day.
- Get a good night's sleep.  Preferably Friday but also Saturday as well.
- Stock up on food so I don't have to leave the house for anything if I don't need to (although, I usually go out for lunch just for a change of scenery and to clear my brain)

To prepare during the competition:

- Keep the NYC Genre definition tab open
- Brainstorm as soon as I get the prompt.  Think of every story I can think of in that genre, or anything that the prompt words remind me of.  I posted a lot of Pulp Fiction and There Will Be Blood gifs on Twitter when my prompt word was "milkshake."  And Fergie.  I'm pretty stream-of-conscious early on, and then I go to bed and see what I come up with when I wake up.
- Get some mood music going.  It helps me focus my thoughts.
- Watch a TV show episode that fits the genre and take notes on the tropes.

To prepare in the off-season:

- Read a lot of flash fiction.  Contemporary stuff as well as best of anthologies.  I read my favorite genres and don't worry too much about the other ones - I can always google examples of anything I'm unfamiliar with, but it's never a bad idea to see what's current.
- Write a lot of flash fiction.  My writer's group does regular one-hour flash challenges to keep ideas fresh and the words flowing, but you don't need a group in order to stay in shape.  There are prompts all over the web - try seeking them out just to keep in practice.  It'll help you write faster and think creatively.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 6:31pm
This will be my first FF challenge. For the SS competition, I didn't do anything to prepare other than write write write, whatever, to get the juices flowing and keep them flowing. Figure I'll do the same thing for this. Reading old stories and feedback is just a guaranteed way to have thoughts that aren't mine in my head when it gets to be time to write. I probably won't stay up for the prompts. Get a good night's sleep in first.

Stocking up on wine, though...that seems smart. :P
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 8:24pm
Originally posted by Sandra Elizabeth Sandra Elizabeth wrote:

Where can I find any judge feedback from the last flash fiction contest? 

If you go through last year's forum, a lot of people updated their post with judge feedback. It's definitely interesting, if not helpful, to read the story followed by judge feedback. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 9:55pm
For me, it's just a matter of clearing the calendar and arranging for beta readers.

I used to panic before each competition and try to imagine what I would do with my dreaded genre.

And then I got the dreaded genre, twice. And panic didn't help. While not pleasant, it was survivable, and here I am, back again. With some war stories. Smile

So. I don't panic anymore. I just plan. 

And remind myself that I'm doing this for fun.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patsy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2018 at 9:57pm
Originally posted by Sandra Elizabeth Sandra Elizabeth wrote:

Where can I find any judge feedback from the last flash fiction contest? 

I posted my feedback from all four rounds at the end of my stories for last years Flash Contest if you'd like to see how their feedback progresses over the rounds.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lookit There Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2018 at 12:11am
Praying I pull Drama all four rounds. Or at least not Political Satire (which I drew once and tanked) or Comedy (which I've had twice - once very successfully and once...not so much). 
I also spend more and more time perusing the file I keep in my computer in which I put in every random story thought that pops into my head: interesting characters or a sharp detail. 
Oh, and asking myself why I'm putting myself through this AGAIN. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sandra Elizabeth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2018 at 12:16am
thank you! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2018 at 12:33am
How do I plan?

I clear my calendar. Kinda. But typically I do better if I have things I have to do as well, as it focuses the mind.

I get the prompts at 9pm Friday. I read it, do some mental brainstorming, and then sleep on it.

Saturday a.m. is for drafting. I sometimes draft 2-3 different stories. If the premise of one seems strong, I send it to my most trusted, honest beta readers.

Then late Saturday afternoon I work on cleaning up the story and making it presentable. It goes out for beta reading.

Sunday a.m. before church I do more stuff, and noodle at bit to polish and tighten the throughline. Sunday afternoon I submit. That gives me about six hours to fuss and worry. My final-final version is usually submitted around 8 p.m.

And I'm done. Hic jacet.
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