Thursday, July 27, 2006

On Writing a (Short-Short) Story in Twenty-Four Hours

The weekend brought the summer WritersWeekly 24-hour Story Contest. I'd won the $5 entry fee as a grab bag prize in the winter contest. I'm no fiction writer, but I enjoyed the first contest, so why not try again?

The topic seemed crazy to me, something about teenagers on a bus encountering a man carrying a mysterious black bag. However, I put my imagination into gear and took advantage of the contest's flexibility: according to the instructions, I could change the characters' ages, etc. I made them senior citizens rather than teenagers, and I was off! I like the idea of a time limit and deadline, since there are so few of either in my life now.

It's strange how the story just started to grow, with a touch of mystery and the supernatural. The result was "Mysterious Journey." I probably won't win the contest (results are still a month away), but I'm beginning to feel more like a writer. I plan to try more short fiction. Perhaps fiction has always moved me more that real life. My feeling of triumph didn't require winning; it involved finishing something I can be satisfied with.

Copyright 2006 by Marlys Marshall Styne


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