As I was wrapping up developmental edits for my editor on Six Train’s sequel, I thought I would do something fun on the side. I decided to enter a short story contest.
This was going to be a nice break from novel writing. I had a flash fiction piece that I could weave into a cool short story. I started working on it in March. When I handed in my developmental edits at the end of March, I had 2 weeks to really work on my short story before the deadline.
Doctors visits were scheduled, chores I hadn’t gotten to were going to happen, and I was taking care of other life things that I neglected during revisions. But this would be my only writing thing. Unfortunately, as I got more and more into edits, I realized this short story didn’t quite fit the requirements of the contest. But it did fit another contest I’d heard about and that contest had a deadline at the end of April.
Now I needed a new short story for the initial contest deadline that was coming up in less than 2 weeks.
I tried not to panic. But I did panic. Then I remembered that I kept a file of ideas and stories I’d started. There had to be something in there. I found 400 words I’d written back in 2010. I love this idea and never got back to it. I could weave it into a short story. Now I had something to enter in the first contest.
It was hard and challenging and frustrating. But then I realized, I hadn’t written a short story in 5 years. This was exactly how it should be.
One story “One Last Night” came easily and quickly. I had a detail that I had to work out, but the beginning, middle, and end were always apparent to me. It was short–1300 words. It had a more literary style of writing and was present tense. I submitted that last week.
With the other one “Her Mother’s Bones,” the end eluded me. I couldn’t figure out how to wrap it up. I got feedback from writing buddies and yet the end still wasn’t making sense. I didn’t know how to bring the story together. It took me another two weeks to see the ending. It’s far more plot driven and written in past tense. And now that’s almost ready to submit.
It made me laugh when I realized that my short stories also paralleled my writing styles with Six Train and The Girl.
Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll let you know if either wins or gets selected for an anthology.
Do you write short stories? Do you submit them for anthologies?