As well as finishing up my Christmas Ornaments Flash Fiction collection and releasing it as an ebook collection, I’ve been writing other flash fiction, mostly inspired by the weekly Duotrope emails. These emails contain lists of active short story markets and upcoming deadlines for contests and anthologies.
In September, as I was sitting down to write one happy, happy school morning, I found a contest with a deadline of December 16, looking for Flash Fiction Suites. They defined this as a collection of pieces, no more than 1000 words each, which were related and contributed to a whole greater than the sum of the parts.
This really appealed to me.
So I took one of my earlier short pieces as the inspiration and started writing other pieces, each from the perspective of one of the characters mentioned in the first.
I liked it. So I then hemmed and hawed about whether to submit it to the contest or do something with it myself. I tried to be disciplined and keep it for the contest. I distracted myself with other stories (ultimately the Christmas series) and almost forgot to submit the Flash Fiction Suite to the contest (deadline today).
This weekend I remembered, and submitted, with a heavy heart (it’s so hard to put your work out there for something as specific as a contest or publication, knowing that it is 80% about luck or personal taste as to whether your piece will be picked).
While I was looking up the details of that contest, I noticed another contest for flash fiction — this time it was for a 250 word sci-fi/fantasy/horror/dark/weird Christmas story, again with a deadline of today. “I can do that”, says my brain, and settles down to ponder.
Yesterday I sketched out some ideas for where this story might happen and who might appear in it. This morning I researched the history of the Santa Claus story, as well as his appearance in popular culture throughout the years. Then I wrote, and wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I typed and cut and cut and tweaked and cut and tweaked and cut until I had something that I think has enough elements of my original idea to make it clear what’s going on, but doesn’t scrimp on the word count when it comes to style or the opportunity to make a joke.
I’m not sure it’s 100% clear to someone who doesn’t live in my head, but I hope that it’s a fun enough little time-travel romp that someone with one foot in the sci-fi world and another in pop culture, would enjoy it. Four hours’ work for 250 words. (Fascinating stat.)
After much tweaking, I fired up the old email box to send it off, and lo! There was an email from the judges of the FIRST contest, saying they like my Flash Fiction Suite and it’s a finalist, to be published at their site!
The response started “Julie Duffy, Strong work…” so I assumed that was going to be followed by a ‘but…”. It wasn’t. Woo-hoo!
It’s an online market that claims to pay pro-semipro rates. Not that it’s going to make me rich but I think it says something about the publication. A publication that pays its writers is one I’d be happy to put on my writing resume.
Stay tuned for the big announcement when my story goes live.