Monday, September 5, 2011

First Campaign Challenge: Flash Fiction


The first challenge of the Platform Building Campaign is upon us and hundreds are playing. Seriously, we have until Friday and there's already over a 120 entries.

Here's the specifics: Write a short story / flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


Naturally, I'm doing it all. 200 words exactly (not counting the title), starts and ends with the right phrase. Boo-yah.

So here it is:

SUSPECT
The door swung open a crack, and a dozen conversations buzzed into the room. I could only make out a few.
“Is Jack done with the house yet?”
“Are you kidding? With that mess, he’ll be there half the night.”
“I’m headed out for food—anyone hungry?”
“Just bring back some pizzas for everyone.”
“Suzanne is on the phone, wants to talk to our gal, here.”
“Is that the sister? Tell her to wait in line.”
A strong hand grabbed the door and held it steady, fingers curling through the gap and around to my side. Stubby fingernails gleaming in the fluorescent lights.
I rubbed my red-speckled hands together, longing for soap and water. And a nail brush. One that wouldn’t go straight into evidence.
A fascinating inch of dirty brown carpet crept out of the room and down the hallway toward freedom. If I were a mouse, I could flatten myself and squeeze through that crack.
If I were a mouse, I wouldn’t be able to hold a knife. Or be angry enough to use it.
The crack widened. Officers Milton and Hoff stalked in. Faces grave.
I yanked on my handcuffs below the table.
The door swung shut.

Read the rest of the entries by visiting the challenge post. Also, you can vote for your favorite by clicking the "Like" button under my entry, #125. (For instance.) :)

36 comments:

  1. Great job! I love the part about the knife and being angry enough to use it.

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  2. Very nice, Robin! Interested to see where this goes. :D

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  3. Awesome! It's so much fun to see all the different stories people can make with just the same four beginning words.

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  4. Oooo, what did the suspect do? I'm dying to know! Great job :) I'm heading over to "like" you now.

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  5. I love the snippets of conversation; you get so much background across quickly and without info-dumping, and that final bit about the sister having to wait in line definitely sets up a hook-- what do these guys want to know? It instantly makes *me* want to know, too. I managed to skip over the title in my reader, but right about the time 'evidence' got mentioned everything that came before clicked into place and, again, I wanted to know more.

    All that is to say, I really liked this flash fiction. The best I've read so far.

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  6. Nice Robin. I was thinking the person was one of the police staff. Nice little surprise there at the end.

    "A fascinating inch of dirty brown carpet crept out of the room and down the hallway toward freedom."
    I love this imagery!

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  7. Good job! I love the bit about the MC wishing to be a mouse and scuttle away. :-)

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  8. Nicely donr! I found myself in suspense!

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  9. Great scene. Loved the bit about the mouse and the knife too.

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  10. Hi, Robin. Fellow Campaigner here. I volunteered as one of the judges for the first Challenge.

    Your piece has been shortlisted as one of my top 5 from my assigned group of entries and will move on to stage two in the Challenge! There will be a semi-final (stage 3) and final (stage 4).

    Congrats and nice work!!

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  11. Thanks, everyone! So glad you like it! Someday maybe I'll share what it's inspired by (though those of you who know what my day-job is might be able to guess).

    K.M.--yay!

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  12. great work, watson!
    i liked the perspective!

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  13. Robin, so good! Sounds guilty to me:)

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  14. Great job! I loved the part about the knife. Very intriguing. I'd love to know more! :D

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  15. Yikes, what on earth happened? Great piece!

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  16. That is delightfully creepy. This campaign contest is great; you get to see what everyone does with the same starting bit and their unique style really comes out.

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  17. Really good entry. At first, the bit about the nail brush going to evidence threw me off, but you brought it home with style! ~ Nadja

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  18. That's right! Fight the man. Oh...um...*hides handcuffs behind back* LOL!

    Good job! :)

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  19. Great job and thanks for the reminder about the challenge. I just posted my own. I ended up as #211 and clicked too quickly so I don't even have a picture. Oh well.

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  20. This is great robin. My problem with contests/challenges like this is that my brain sees this as as an introduction, not a short story. Does something like this actually fly as a finished product?

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  21. Way interesting :)

    <3 from a newbie follower and fellow campaigner

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  22. Wonderful scene and I loved the descriptions. Great job! :D

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  23. Really nice! You definitely deserved to be shortlisted :) I very much enjoyed the voice in this, and your style of writing.

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  24. Great suspense Robin! I enjoyed it!
    (I also really like that picture at the top of your blog) :)
    http://coleenpatrick.com/

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  25. Thanks again, everyone!

    Coleen--my s-i-l Paula took that pic the same time she took my profile pic, then my friend Devoney designed the title (and the rest of my blog).

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  26. Great voice and intriguing premise. I also loved the bit about the mouse and the knife. Congrats on moving to the next round. :)

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  27. This was really great. I like it a lot. Going to vote for it!

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  28. You certainly grabbed my attention. Good job!

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  29. All the disjointed dialog was great at mimicking what I imagine the confusion of being arrested would feel like, and then it all comes together with a snap as the reader realizes what the MC has done. And I love the way the specific details like stubby fingernails in fluorescent lights really ground the story.

    And thank you for the very exciting comment you left on my story. :-)

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  30. Thanks again, everyone! (It seems awfully self-centered to comment on such complimentary comments!) :)

    Jocelyn--you are very welcome! Congrats again! You deserve it!

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  31. I just love the way you got so much info into 200 words!! Congrats on being shortlisted:)

    http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

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  32. Thanks, Doreen! Sadly, since I judged the second round and was instructed to inform my round-three picks of their advancement, I'm assuming no-news is not actually good news at this point. Le sigh. :)

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