Monday, September 5, 2011

First Campaign Challenge


So the first campaign challenge is to write a 200 word or less flash fiction piece or short story. It has to start with: "The door swung open". I tend to be incredibly long-winded so asking me to write a full, cohesive story in 200 words or less is like asking me to figure out how to levitate. I have seen many brilliant examples of this in the blogosphere though. Libby Heily pulls this off wonderfully--she does Flash Fiction Fridays if you want to check it out. Although I have been studying her flash fiction, I am not yet there in terms of creating a whole story in 200 words or less.

But in the spirit of the campaign, here is a small piece and it's just over 200 words (it's from a longer work that is as yet uncompleted):

The door swung open and Talia stepped outside. Above her, the sky was a deep purple. Stars glowed and blinked above her head. She rooted her sandaled feet and tipped her head back, breathing slowly and deeply. Talia loved the nights in the mountains—even more since her return. There was something peaceful and untouched about the cool air and vast domed ceiling of stars.
It made her feel free and unrestrained in a way she hadn’t felt for years. The sensation was so strong she could physically feel it—as if she’d been in a strait jacket for years and now her limbs were finally free to move. The world felt so big it gave her vertigo. She realized that her job had produced in her a kind of inner claustrophobia. The things in her mind made her feel closed in—like she was living her life in a phone booth.
Her eyes were closed when she sensed someone approaching behind her, stealthy and silent. A voice in her head called her name in warning. It was quick and fleeting, like the last vestige of a dream darting away from her. Instinctively she reached under her arm for her weapon and gasped to find it missing. She didn’t carry it anymore. No gun. No shoulder holster. She didn’t need it. She was done with all of that.
“Shit,” she muttered.
She sensed the interloper pull up short and seconds later, she heard low laughter.

(Also I would like to shamelessly plug the upcoming Hook for Your Book Contests coming up on my blog! The first one is for Fantasy writers and it runs October 10 through October 17. See this post for more details.)

21 comments:

  1. Maybe it's a good thing I missed the campaign deadline because I'd be no good at it. But yours was juicy & leaves me wanting more! Hopefully, since you said it was part of a larger piece, I will get to read more in the future. Well done. You always paint a vivid picture then scare the crap outta me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nicely done. I especially liked the ending-- very chilling.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very well done! That’s hard to do in 200 words.

    I sure hope I can get my manuscript in shape for that contest.

    My book is complete just not 100% polished yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very well done. I like the swing of emotions from peaceful and serene to "oh shit."

    Don't know how I'll meet this challenge. Like you, short fiction is really tough for me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks guys. (Nancy: this is a book about Talia--Talia from Aberration. A book I started years ago and never finished.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "The world felt so big it gave her vertigo."

    I love that! I think I was holding my breath for at least half of this. Great work! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Lisa, I'm in the mystery group of Campaigners, and am dropping by to say hello. Nice to meet you! I see you write suspense--me, too. Will check for you in suspense group.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very nice, Lisa. I liked that rather sudden mood change.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lisa, I feel your pain. I am incredibly long winded, as well (the first 8 chapters of my WIP's first draft was 134 printed pages! lol), so I find flash fiction difficult. If you figure out how to write it (or levitate!), please fill me in. ;-)

    I love your description in this work. When I read, I want to see, smell, feel, and hear what the MC does and I think you did well here. I want to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lisa, I loved it! I loved the low laughter at the end. Here I thought this was going to be an inspirational little piece and BAM! You hit us with no gun. Truly well done! And thanks for the shout out!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great entry. Very well written, and right up my alley!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh...I like the thrillers. So not expecting that. Really good.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great flash-fiction piece, if I opened a book to this I'd have to keep reading. I love how you intertwined characterization with a mysterious background. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The ending gave me shivers. I want her to have her gun back!

    Great piece, Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great piece! I too, have a hard time with flash fiction. I'm quite wordy. :P I loved the detail to her surroundings, I almost felt as though I was there! The "Oh shit" at the end was perfect, loved it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lisa, this is wonderful. I was so lost in her special place, feeling it with her ... then you twisted it all up. Very well done. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. You described the setting in a way that made me feel like I was there. And it was so calm and lovely and peaceful and then - wham - scariness!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never had the priviledge of reading your work, Lisa. What a delicious introduction!

    You've managed to set a scene, create tension, and leave me wanting more all in such a short span!

    Brilliant job, just brilliant. I want more!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I loved it Lisa. Of course since I've been away I've missed tons of stuff. Will have to post something tomorrow. Freedom from a strait jacket....too cool. :) Ugh, I wish I could participate in the Hook for you book thing.

    ReplyDelete