Thursday, 7 April 2011

F is for .....Fiction Challenges

Since I was a child I have always scribbled away at stories. Like many other would-be writers, I’ve harboured the dream of what it would be like to be a published author, yet at the same time I’ve been wary of actually showing my work to others. I suppose it comes down to the fear of rejection!

Well, thanks to two people in particular, Matt Hilton and David Barber, I have been encouraged to be brave and at least share my work amid the blogosphere!

It was Matt’s idea for me to submit some work for an Ezine he co-hosts, called ‘Thrillers, Killers and Chillers’. Warily, I ‘stepped up to the plate’ and sent him a short story entitled ‘Your Worst Nightmare' – then sat and chewed my fingernails back to the quick; after all, he’s a ‘proper’ published author! I didn’t expect much other than a ‘that’s good, but not exactly what we’re looking for…..’ response, so you can imagine my shock when my story appeared on the T,K&C site along with some very nice comments and advice by the readers! Not just a 'one off' either, as a few more found their way onto T,K&C!

David Barber encouraged me greatly by pushing me in the direction of a weekly fiction challenge, originally called ‘Friday Flash Fiction’ (now renamed “Icarus’ Flight to Perfection”) where a starter sentence was polled or a number of words were designated to be used for contenders to create a story within a deadline. I was quickly hooked! I looked forward to this weekly outlet for creativity!

Still more and more challenges have been discovered as I hop from blog to blog. Some require the use of starter sentences, or themes or a restricted word-count (like Lily Childs' weekly prediction set at 100 words max!) I could fill each and every day just entering different stories…..but I’m always keen to hear about new ones, especially for different genres, so if you come across any please let me know!

Thanks to these challenges I’ve been privileged to meet and read the work of some amazingly talented writers. In return, their comments have encouraged and challenged me to explore the way I write (and hopefully make improvements!)

Sometimes, though, I wonder if all this flash fiction is detrimental to creating longer work – as I find myself wanting to hurry along the action! ;-)


  1. Challenges are fun but mostly I think we force our brain to exercise and practice and we can get better, or not.

  2. Well done you :) I get nervous just putting up a blogpost. I'm scared of sounding like a dummie. hehe

  3. I think Flash Fiction is fine. It is writing still. And from that, you might get an idea for a longer story. It's all good!

  4. Another great post, Sue. I'm still dithering over some of these Flash Fiction Challenges, but I'm definitely going to take the plunge at some point. You can't be a writer unles you write - that's for sure. :)

  5. thoughtful.....

    good luck on your creative writing.

  6. Congrats on having your stories accepted.

    For me, I don't write enough short stories to taint my love of novels. I still prefer a longer story.

  7. Challenges and growth are wonderful. A good writer never stops learning. You might consider sending some of your flash pieces to markets that pay for that length -- Pedestal, Flash Fiction Online, and Vestal Review come to mind. If they reject the story, just send another!

    Erin's blog

  8. Thanks for the mention, Sue. I'm honoured to have helped you get your writing out there as you are a very fine scribbler indeed! :-)