For the past few months I have participated in a short story contest of sorts. There is no prize besides being a better writer. The flash fiction contest I am talking about is the 100 word challenge at Julia’s Place.
She gives you three to four words which you then build a story around using only 100 total words. If you have heard of William Faulkner’s saying (or whomever coined it) kill your darlings, this is a great exercise to do just that. When writing a story of 100 words there is no way to have excess. You must trim the fat.
I have found that working in small bursts like this has helped me in other areas of writing. Whether working on my novel or writing a short story, I am more concise and clear. I wish I would have found Julia’s place much earlier in my career.
If you wanted to participate just go to Julia’s Place and look for the 100 word challenges on her site. Here are the instructions. They are usually open for a week and you can also view other stories to help you get the idea.
Keep writing, keep refining.