My break from blogging coincided with a long break from submitting anything over at SFFWorld. If I wasn’t feeling like writing about real life, I definitely wasn’t in the mood to make stuff up. Not that I didn’t have ideas, but the motivation, like the motivation to blog, just wasn’t there. I have three or four really good first sentences for stories I thought about finishing, but found ways to never get around to.
The last few months though I’ve been dipping my toes in the water almost literally. They’ve added a monthly micro-fiction contest. Micro-fiction is anything 100 words or less. 100 words! I can crank that out in no time! So I started submitting for those contests, and I managed to win the last two months in a row. That most definitely boosted the confidence, but I still found myself looking at the longer contests and finding no inspiration. Or motivation. I was happy in my tiny fief of few words.
Until I saw this month’s flash contest, with the theme of “doors.” And almost instantly, the whole story was there. The setting, the background, the plot, the ending. Every scene, every beat. It was rough and needed a little polishing, but it was there, and more developed than anything I’d had in quite a while. I sat down and wrote it out in a mad rush, the words coming with ease.
And then I got to the end and got stuck and let it sit for two weeks.
There was this awkward transition going into the twist of the ending that I just didn’t like. And bashing away it at the end of the long session wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I just walked away from it for a while. Which turned into a few days. Which turned into this week, a few days before the contest deadline. At which point I got mad at myself. I wasn’t going to let something else sit unfinished. So I buckled down, hacked away at some of the awkwardness leading up to my ending, and found things improved considerably. Thus emboldened, I reworked the ending, came to a satisfying conclusion, and posted it to the site.
I’m not going to say it’s a timeless work of fiction. But it’s a finished work of fiction. Which is a lot more than I’ve done in a while. So even if I lose the contest, I’ve got a victory under my belt. Which is in no way telling anyone not to vote for me in the contest. I still have an ego to feed.