One thing I have learned from the short stories is that they are only glimpses into a world that you create. A lot of the time, you find yourself wanting more, much more.
This month I am participating in two challenges (so far.) One is the Lighthouse 1 hour challenge. You have 1 hour to write about the prompt. I will post my story tomorrow but for now I can say I want to explore this a bit more. It is dark, delicious and more horror/fantasy themed than a lot of my work.
The other is the Shock Totem, bi-monthly challenge we have a prompt and then 1 week to produce the best story in 1,000 or less. I must say that this month’s prompt was awesome, post-mortem tintypes. The stories are great. It was very difficult to vote for the best three. I foresee a tide of stories hitting the submission in a few weeks.
But both of these stories are in need of some fleshing out. The 1-hour challenge was only just 450 words, but it opened up a completely new world to explore. Very dark (at least for me) and seductive. I will have to learn more about the characters and the world.
The Flash contest led me to a more urban-fantasy style of story. Something somewhat familiar, yet different. I want to expand on this story as the first draft was heading well into 2,000 to 3,000 words. I had to cut out a lot of detail and shorten a few scenes to fit the story in only 1,000 words.
Writing these short stories is a great way to explore and see where a prompt will take you. On Twitter some writers have a #storystarters hashtag where you can grab a short 100 character start for something. They hold a few contests that I will try to participate in. Most of the stories are 500 words or less.
I do suggest that anytime you are in a rut over your current project, try to find some of these little gems to participate in. It will rattle the cage and help you if you just give it a chance.