My 100-Day Flash Challenge Part 1

Days 1 – 25

Photo by Dan Counsell on UNSPLASH.

On March 18, 2021, I began a crazy adventure. That was the day I started my 100-day flash fiction challenge. My goal was to write, edit, publish one story per day for one hundred days.

The following is a summary of the first 25 days of my challenge.

The First 25 Stories

  1. Ungrel Invasion
  2. Harold Wants an Easter Sundae
  3. Being Painted
  4. Tesseract
  5. Hell is War
  6. Paintbrush
  7. Smoke
  8. Gunnbjørn Fjeld
  9. Poster ***
  10. You and B ***
  11. Skateboard
  12. In His Teacup ***
  13. Rooftop Ballet ***
  14. Closet ***
  15. Treehouse
  16. Gabe
  17. Bus
  18. Djinn
  19. Prodigal Sunglasses
  20. White Snow, Red Kimono ***
  21. Winter
  22. Vaya con Dios Maria ***
  23. Monolith
  24. Monolith 2
  25. Shame

INTRO

When I first started my writing challenge, I didn’t feel I knew what I was doing. It took me a while to find Grammarly and UNSPLASH with its wonderful library of copyright-free images.

Once I downloaded the Grammarly Chrome extension and started using it hard, I felt the quality of my writing shift upward immediately. The images I found on Unsplash.com helped dress up my little quick miniatures.

I started posting stories to WordPress, MEDIUM, and VOCAL.media in February. The flash fiction challenge started on March 18.


My Faves

I’ve denoted my favorite stories from this bunch with links and asterisks in the table above.

I have tried to not include too many spoilers in my thoughts below, but please read the stories first if you wish. Please don’t fault me for giving away too much.

 

Poster

The writing prompt I used for Poster, was: ‘Recall an important memory from your childhood and tell it from the perspective of someone else who was present.’

The little boy with the poster is me. The little girl whose perspective the story is told is pure invention.

Some moments in life are so big that you realize their bigness even as you pass through them. I can still remember what I felt as I looked around the classroom. This is one of my earliest memories of shame.

When I write from a real place of personal experience, the words come quicker, and the result is a stronger piece. While I hope eventually to cultivate the ability to cast myself into the experience of another, for now, most of my stories center on a figure that is ostensibly me.

 

You & B

I like this story because I got to practice describing location. I’ve received compliments on how I set the scene in this story.

But, confession time, I based this story upon a remembered experience. If it feels real, it is because it is real.

I enjoyed experimenting with second-person POV (point-of-view) and I plan to play with it some more in the future. Maybe in a longer work.

 

In His Teacup

I liked the switch in this story. One character sets out on some course of action but then has an immediate change of heart. Romantic that I am, I believe this sort of thing can happen to any of us.

 

Rooftop Ballet

I enjoyed seeing this story unfold as I wrote it.

I’m still a ‘young’ writer (if not a young man) so I feel like I’m still playing around with several genres. A fair number I’d say fall into straight dramatic fiction (I did not say ‘literary’ although, if I’m honest, that is the goal). But most of my stories seem to end up in the horror / speculative / science-fiction / weird cubbyhole.

It might be a rationalization, but I tell myself I’m paying my dues.

Few people begin a new pursuit and immediately excel at it. By writing and (more importantly) sharing my stories online, I have given myself to suck at writing. I feel like you have to give your reader something, however, and so I spend most of my time focused on the ideas behind the story. That is to say, if you’re trying to write semi-serious or serious stories and you’re not there yet as a writer, the experience would probably not convince a lot of folks to follow your career.

By spending so much time on weird or speculative ideas within the bulk of my stories, I tell myself I can learn the nuts and bolts of writing. Then the craft and ultimately even (I hope) the art of writing. My genre selections are either compensation or ‘training-wheels.’

I did like how this one turned out. (Please, share feedback and constructive criticisms, if you felt differently.)

 

Closet

If Rooftop was straight fiction, Closet is most definitely not straight. It is horror at the very least.

I often think about perceptions and cognitions. Ultimately, everything we experience in our consciousness results from chemical reactions in our sense organs that create chemical reactions in how we experience the stimulus.

So frequently I will taunt my characters with challenges to how they experience or perceive ‘reality.’ Because it all seems so fragile to me.

 

White Snow, Red Kimono

Another romantic tale of longing. I enjoyed writing this story. And this was a surprise to me. I enjoy reading it as well. In the end, I am writing for myself. If you like my stories, great. If you don’t I am sure others will.

 

Vaya Con Dios Maria

This story surprised me with the reactions it garnered on VOCAL.media. It won story-of-the-day in the Vocal HORROR community.

I was writing from a different perspective from anything in my lived experience.

It’s not a perfect story. I think it’s predictable even. My friend, when I read it aloud for her, guess the ‘twist.’ But I am attracted to this story because I’ve written several versions of the same underlying plot.

 

Other Thoughts

Monolith is all about tone. I was trying to recreate the tone these dreams had on me in my youth. Also, I’ve written two more stories about monoliths during this challenge, so clearly I’m fascinated by these things. I cannot promise that I’m done with these structures either.

Gabe, I enjoyed writing this story, but it has problems with clarity in the narrative. I will return to it at some point and see if I can fix its problems.

Paintbrush and Being Painted are two stories that mix artistic endeavors with romance.

 

Final Thoughts

When you spend only a day creating a story, they are not all going to be winners. But it surprised me to find that I have mined several nuggets during this challenge. After I complete this challenge, I plan on doing three things.

1. Celebrate accordingly

2. Take a few days off where I catch up on my reading.

3. I will begin sifting through the treasures I found during this time. I plan on editing, rewriting, finessing these things until I can release them under an actual (physical or virtual) sellable, self-published book.

 

I am trying to imagine anyone reading this entire post about my other posts. If you’ve read this far, please accept my sincere gratitude. Stephen King talks about his ‘constant reader.’ I hope to have my constant readers, eventually.

1 comment

  1. I didn’t read the entire post, sorry, don’t like spoilers too much. I did go back to read In His Teacup. I expected to see a server in the tea shop giggling away. The WordPress Reader is a fickle thing – I’m not sure what algorithm it uses to ensure posts are seen but I hope you stories will appear in my feed. This is a great challenge…

    Like

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