Three February Challenges!
I have been taking a bit of a hiatus from this site. Then it crashed and took a while to restore. In any event, I will try to update it at least once a week,
This month I am trying three new things. First, the February Flash Fiction Challenge that Writers Digest is mounting, second the Writing Com micro flash contest that goes on for another nine weeks, and the Poetry Magnum Opus Daily Haiku contest.
I will update this weekly with a few of my entries but not all of them as I need to reserve most as “unpublished” as most publishers are quite anal about not publishing previously published items.
So, if you are like me, if you write a lot, you need to save a lot for later use. At the end of the month, I will update my progress and list everything I wrote.
The details follow if any of you want to join in. The Poetry Magnum Opus and Writers Digest are both free to enter; the writing com is for members only but is closed now. I have been taking part In Writing Com for a few years and find it is a welcoming and open community and I have learned so much about the craft of poetry writing by trying their constant challenges. Writer’s Digest and Poetry Magnum Opus both have an impressive list of poetry forms and prompts that I use all the time. All Poetry, Facebook and Poetry Soup are also among my weekly or bi-weekly places I submit to. I submit to a few other places including Cosmos Funnel, Instagram not that often, medium, (poetry nook, poetry circle, LinkedIn (auto-linked to my blog) ) Tumblr (auto-linked to my blog) and Wattpad, but not as frequently just running out of steam.
I have written a lot, so later this year, over 400 short pieces, mostly poetry. I plan to slow up. Getting a little hard to keep up at age 66! And after that, who knows? I’ll keep it all going for a while in any event.
2022 February Flash Fiction Challenge
Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, an example story, and write your own. Time to get writing! If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (or anywhere else), be sure to use the #FlashFictionFeb hashtag. Now, let’s get cracking!
Day I prompt:
For today’s prompt, write about a key. It could be a physical key, a metaphorical one, or even something completely abstract—it’s up to you!
Day Two Prompt Circular
Day three Prompt limitations
Day four A Dream that Came true
Day Five Write about a character who tries to be “Heartful”
I have finished five flash fiction pieces so far this month. On day five.
Hidden Keys to The Universe
End of The Beginning, Beginning of The End
A Man Has to Know His Limitations
Dream That Came to True Dream Girl
Character Who Has to Learn How to Be Heartful Sam Adams Crisis of Conscious
My posted entry for week one:
Published in ‘Dreams and the Unexplainable” by the Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers. Also on my blog, the World According to Cosmos.
Line count 816
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
The dreams started when I was a senior at Berkeley High School in 1974. About a month before I graduated, I fell asleep in a physics class after lunch and had the first dream:
A beautiful Asian woman was standing next to me, talking in a strange language. She was stunning—the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She was in her early twenties, with long black hair, and piercing black eyes. She had the look of royalty. She looked at me and then disappeared, beamed out of my dream-like in Star Trek. I fell out of my chair screaming, “Who are you?” She did not answer.
About a month went by, and then I started having the dream repeatedly. Always the same pattern. Early morning, she would stand next to me talking. I would ask who she was, and she would disappear. She was the most beautiful, alluring woman I had ever seen. I was struck speechless every time I had the dream.
I had the dream every month during the eight years during which I went to college and served in the Peace Corps. When I joined the Peace Corps, I had to decide whether to go to Korea or Thailand. The night before I had to submit my decision, I had the dream again and she made me sure that I knew she was in Korea waiting for me.
All she said was when I asked again as always who are you? Where are you?”
“I am in Korea”
After the Peace Corps, I still hadn’t met my dream woman. I got a job working for the U.S. Army as an instructor and stayed in Korea. I kept having the dream until I had the very last one: She was standing next to me, speaking to me in Korean, but I finally understood her. She said, “Don’t worry, we will be together soon.”
Why was that the last time I had the dream?
Because the very next night, the girl in my dream got off the bus in front of me. She went on to the base with an acquaintance of mine, a fellow teacher, and they went to see a movie. I saw her and found the courage to speak with her.
We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet that weekend.
The next night, she was waiting for me as I entered the Army base to teach a class. She told me she was a college senior and she had something to tell me. I signed her on to the base and left her at the library to study while I taught, and then we went out for coffee after class.
She told me she was madly in love with me, and that I was the man for her. I told her not to worry as I felt the same.
That weekend, we met Saturday and Sunday and hung out all day. On Sunday night, I proposed to her. It was only three days after we had met, but for me, it felt like we had met eight years ago. I had been waiting all my life for her to walk out of my dreams and into my life, and here she was.
Her mother did not want her to marry a foreigner. One day, about a month after we met, she invited me to meet her parents. I brought a bottle of Jack Daniels for her father and drank the entire bottle with him. He approved of me, but her mother still had reservations.
After a Buddhist priest told her my future wife and I were a perfect astrological combination, she agreed, and we planned our wedding.
The wedding was a media sensation in South Korea. My wife explained it to me years later. At the time, I was overwhelmed just by the fact that we were getting married and I didn’t fully understand how unusual this was.
My wife was of the old royal clan, distant relatives to the former kings of Korea. In the clan’s history, only two people had ever married foreigners: my
wife, and Rhee Syngman, who was the first President of South Korea. My father, who was a former Undersecretary of Labor, came out for the wedding, which fueled even more media interest.
Our marriage defied the stereotypical Korean-foreign marriage where the women
married some hapless GI just to escape poverty and immigrate to the U.S. We were the first foreign/Korean couple to get married at a Korean Army base. Over 1,000 people came to the wedding, and my father was interviewed on the morning news programs.
This all happened thirty-nine years ago, and I am still married to the girl in my dreams. Now in my dreams, she watches over me when we are apart.
Writing Com Flash Fiction contest – Sign-up now CLOSED!!!
The activity begins on Monday, January 31st
and ends on Sunday, April 10th
10 weeks of fun and adventure!
What is micro fiction?
A micro-fiction piece is a story told in 300 or fewer words. For our purposes, we limit the word count to 100. It’s a subset of flash fiction, which limits stories to 1000 words.
Ernest Hemingway wrote the most famous micro-story. He used only six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
The challenge of writing a micro-story is to make every word count. You must pick meaningful words and build strong sentences.
The structure of a micro-story:
Like any other fiction piece, a micro-story has a sequence: a beginning, a middle, and an end. It includes a twist or a conflict: either it’s a change in the character (character arc) or a twist in the plot. The micro-story also has a scenario, which doesn’t need much detail – you don’t have enough length to incorporate descriptions.
Start with the conflict
In a micro-story, there is no space for descriptions, backstory, or character-building; you start writing in the middle: straight to the conflict.
Focus on the character arc
Flat characters offer nothing to readers. Something must happen to your character: a drastic event, a deep emotion, a discovery. He/she must end the story differently from when it started.
In the end, the character should feel or do something different than he/she was doing before.
Write your story as long as you wish
Like any other first draft, yours will be a micro-story told with many unnecessary words.
To elaborate your micro-story, write everything that comes up in your mind: describe the emotions, the scenarios, the characters. The goal is to form the story inside of you, to feel it.
By writing everything down, you’ll be able to choose what’s relevant and what’s not.
Chose only one POV
Micro-fiction uses a single point of view [POV]; there’s not enough word-counting to swap POV without losing the coherence of the story. Choose either the 1st limited or 3rd person limited POV as they perform better in connecting the reader to the characters.
Cut the fluff
Now that you wrote the first draft, it’s time to cut!
The remaining wording in your story will be the ones that matter, that add value and significance to your story.
Polish each sentence
The last step in writing a micro-fiction story is to polish the sentences.
Each word must contain meaning: an emotion, an action, a detail. The sentences should also have a meaning, but also as part of a whole, it actively builds up the story.
Ensure your first and last sentences are the strongest. They are the entrance and the exit of the story. The first sentence will hook readers to continue reading; the last one will make them chew on your story. And even re-read it, to savor it one more time.
Create an appealing title
The title is the presentation, the promise of what’s coming: the title is the first impression of your story. Name your story, revealing the theme, but not giving away any event. Note: The title does not count toward your total word count.
Enjoy the process and keep practicing. Writing micro-fiction is a challenge, but — in my modest opinion — one of the best challenges in the writing set.
Once you try it, you will come for more. With practice, your first drafts will become shorter; they will be the closest version of your final draft.
Writing micro-fiction it’s an effective way to hone your writing skills: it demands focus and the use of strong verbs and emotional words. Your writing will develop into a sharper and more concise version.
“Sam Adams Swears It Was Self Defense”
“Well, Sam Adams, you are in a lot of trouble. Better tell us what happened. How did you end up killing Bill Lee?”
“Well, I should speak to a lawyer and the Embassy first, but what the H.
Bill Lee and I had a relationship so to speak, we were frenemies. I knew him for a long time since we were children and I knew that he was a real bad dude at heart.
We had gone to the Cosmos Bar that night to have a drink. When he attacked me, I responded of course., It was self-defense. and that’s how the fight started.
note: I like micro fiction. I have had a number published. They are fun and challenging to write. Sort of a prose version of a Haiku.
Poetry Magnum Opus February Haiku Challenge
…Reading that February is Haiku Month was the spark that I needed to ease in. So here I am on February 1, 2022, Chinese New Year – The Year of the Tiger. Maybe a haiku a day for 28 days will
get me going. You are welcome to join me if you feel so inclined. I missed this community. ~~Tin…
free but requires registration Tinker’s list of poetry forms is quite comprehensive!
My haiku for February 1
What is Groundhog Day?
Why does seeing his shadow
Mean early Spring?