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Candyfloss &Vinegar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Candyfloss &Vinegar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2022 at 7:55pm
I am one of those awkward people that just needs to write or I won't get anywhere. I need to put pen to paper and get words out. Half the time I have nothing more than a vague concept or a character when I start. Then, once the words dry up I go back and start pulling a story out of the chaos . Then I pad out that story to give it life.

Writing shorter things such as flash is helping me channel that need to just let words flow by giving a goal to hit. A finish point to aim for before I start editing. The prompts also narrow the target as I have a tendency to get distracted and write a tangent...

Titles was something I got from my round 1 flash feedback. Hadnt even considered them as part of the narrative until then.

Beta readers and a writing community are also things I am learning are invaluable. Especially when I'm outside my comfort zone.
FF:FINAL
MF250: R1
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Deschain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2022 at 8:38pm
I think my biggest mistake was staying up until midnight to get my prompt and start my story. I tried falling asleep around 3:00 a.m. but I kept getting ideas in my head and would have to wake up and drop them down. next time around I'm going to check my prompt first thing in the morning, after a good night of sleep.

The other thing I really wanted to push myself to do was to write a complete story, not the first 250 words of a longer story. but I'm new to micro fiction, so I have no idea if that matters to other people, but for me that was something I strived for.

along those lines, I also wanted to write a story that didn't feel rushed. I didn't want to write a 400 word story that I crammed into 250 words by  over-editing. Even if everything is grammatically correct, at some point writing just becomes too claustrophobic when I over-edit. I was happy with how my story worked out on this point, because I was able to employ parallel structure in a couple places and had an extended metaphor in there as well.

The biggest challenge for me was that the story just went in this direction that was really uncomfortable for me (in terms of disturbing subject matter), and with the time constraints there wasn't enough time to scrap it and start over. I feel like I grew from that experience, and hopefully it will help me in the future. I just have to let the story go where it wants to go instead of always trying to bend it to my will.
Read my 1st Round story titled The Incubus
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zero11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 12:27am
Originally posted by CHartman CHartman wrote:

I love this thread!  Writing flash has improved my long form writing so much. Some of the things I now consider:

- I want my first sentence to grab the reader - shock or curiosity are my go-tos
- I examine every word to see if a. its necessary b. could be more emotive c. adds to the narrative
- eliminate as much necessary backstory as possible - this is my biggest struggle, I want to make sure my intention is clear so sometimes I don't give the reader enough credit for inferring my intention.
- Using Beta's is essential for my process but I need to trust my own instincts if the feedback does not serve the intention of my story - I have been swayed to make regrettable changes.

THIS is expert advice, and your entry in the 250 illustrated its application. Amazing!


Edited by Zero11 - 25 Nov 2022 at 12:28am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 1:46am
Originally posted by slinkylink slinkylink wrote:

...for 100- and 250-word stories, I shoot for two characters at a maximum.

I think this is great advice! I feel it would be hard to do do justice to the characters and their development to try and cram much more in, especially with a tight word limit.

Thanks for your response
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 1:54am
Originally posted by CamsynClair CamsynClair wrote:

For my MF100s, only one character got a name. In fact, for my R2 and R3, the characters were "Me" and "You". I think that takes a lot of work away from the readers (and me needing to come up with either symbolic or properly generic names in 24 hours LOL).

That makes me feel better, and a great idea to also keep naming characters simple!

Originally posted by CamsynClair CamsynClair wrote:

if my stories are <600 words, they're first person. Any longer is third.
Will keep this in mind if I try the other challenges!

Originally posted by CamsynClair CamsynClair wrote:

I worried I'd over-fiddled, but I think I may have fiddled just enough LOL Since I'm used to writing scenes instead of standalone stories, my biggest goal in any Short is to write a story that fits the word count and fill in as many plot holes as possible. I've only written 2/9 NYCM stories that I think really do that (this one included), so I think I'm getting better at that slowly but surely! 
Getting any you feel good about I think is definitely a win! I'm not 100% with mine but currently working on a major redraft. I did a mini-redraft, but life got in the way from being able to really take time to step away and return which is why I'm doing that now.

Originally posted by CamsynClair CamsynClair wrote:

...Whew, I think this may be the longest comment I've ever written! Thank you for the fun conversation!

I thought this might make for an interesting alternative to external feedback, allows a bit more introspection with less risk of hurt feelings.

Also it works as a great resource for newer writers/competitors (like myself).

Thank you so much for contributing!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 1:58am
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

Don't be boring, but my R1 is so boring I have limited confidence in getting to R2. I think I went painfully literal (and uninspired; this is the fourth time, iirc, I've gotten A/A) and there's nothing interesting, and everyone else who posted in my group was much more engaging and fit in way more story. 

Its hard to be original & engaging with such a short timeline and (potentially) odd prompts. Having seen some of the other groups, I know I would have had major issues with some of the others.

And remember getting anything in is an achievement (finishing a race can for many be a greater achievement than winning it).

I didn't know whether there was an option of not progressing to Round 2. That makes me a little more nervous now.

Fingers crossed for us both!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 2:02am
Originally posted by Carelizafor Carelizafor wrote:

  • The judging will be more subjective than the flash and short stories. Like I had directly contradictory reactions to my 100 word pieces. A word choice one loved, another hated. 
  • A trusted editor who I feel comfortable letting rip my piece to shreds, but isn't in the competition as well. 
  • See what I feel is worth changing, and what I feel are things I want to double down on - things I feel "make" the piece. It helps me see if my message is getting lost, or if I've got a hole-y plot. 
  • Letting go of "pretty" sentences is always the hardest part for me, but micro fiction just doesn't need that. Stick to a plot and a message and you have more impact. 
  • The other thing is to start as close to the end as possible. One scene, never more than two. 

I'm curious to see what the feedback is like, which is also why I created this post - to try and offset what I think they'll mention about my submission.
I wrote my sub with Grammarly open, which I usually hate as it takes my voice out of the style, but wanted to have some live copyediting regarding my spelling and phrasing so I could really focus on concept.

I called my sub "In Media Res" to remind myself that it should start in the heart of the action. But now in retrospect, it seems very pandering to call it that and have already retitled my redraft!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 2:05am
Originally posted by iress iress wrote:

One thing I’ve learned through observing some really brilliant writers through a few rounds of micro is the title is an opportunity to set the scene. Am I great at titles now? No. But I do put more work now into asking, especially in micro, how can I get my title do more work? 

Totally! Having reviewed some of the other submissions on this forum, I can see how much impact a good title can have on setting the scene. Can really feel the difference when its working for you, vs when it doesn't. My submission was definitely the latter - and have already retitled my redraft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 2:15am
Originally posted by FireHorse FireHorse wrote:

Outside this competition, where time is of the essence, my number one recommendation would be to leave a piece for at least a week and then come back to it. Amazing what you can see when you have a little distance.

- Revisit the opening. It's really easy to think I should start by explaining the situation in my mind's eye, but very often the reader only needs one or two key anchors and there's a lot I can cut from the first draft. This can also mean starting in the middle of the action.
- Ask myself about each and every adverb.
- Each and every dialogue tag. If I only have a few characters, it's often clear who's speaking. When it isn't, instead of a dialogue tag I often have that character (named) doing something or looking a particular way. More bang for my buck from the word count in terms of character / action.
- I also see a lot of dangling modifiers on the forums. (See https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/mechanics/dangling_modifiers_and_how_to_correct_them.html for examples.  Don't ask me why, but I'm hyper-sensitive to these. I think people do this to get the word count down, but it's one to watch out for in the editing process. 
- Also read it aloud. Or get someone else to read it to you. Amazing what pops up when you do that.

Great redrafting advice. I submitted mine really early, then life got in the way and I couldn't get back to redraft.
I've been mulling it over for the last week and can see to many gaps, so now I'm planning a redraft.

If I get into round 2 I really hope to use more of the time to bash out a 2nd/3rd or major redraft.

Definitely agree about starting in the action - not enough time for a major build up in the action. unless you plan for 50-75 words for  Intro - Action - Ending
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakz404 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2022 at 2:19am
Originally posted by CHartman CHartman wrote:

I love this thread!  Writing flash has improved my long form writing so much. Some of the things I now consider:

- I want my first sentence to grab the reader - shock or curiosity are my go-tos
- I examine every word to see if a. its necessary b. could be more emotive c. adds to the narrative
- eliminate as much necessary backstory as possible - this is my biggest struggle, I want to make sure my intention is clear so sometimes I don't give the reader enough credit for inferring my intention.
- Using Beta's is essential for my process but I need to trust my own instincts if the feedback does not serve the intention of my story - I have been swayed to make regrettable changes.

Thanks so much! I was hoping it would get people to be engaged, and introspection is just as valid form of feedback as any other! Particularly when you can learn from what others consider to be their mistakes.

Great advice about keeping it punchy - with such a limited word count, you need to make sure each one is working for you.
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