Flash Fiction 9: Complaining

FlashFictionJanet Reid ran her flash fiction contest this week. I entered, as I’ve promised myself I would, and though I didn’t get recognized I still like my offering.
This contest was inspired by Lane Shefter Bishop’s book, Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence. Fortunately we didn’t have to write our entries in a single sentence! The five prompt words we had to include this time around were LOG, LINE, PITCH, ERR, and YOW. As I played around with these words, I came up with a little story I liked quite a lot.

Complaining, submitted 6/11/16

Can’t we be logical? I was just an early adopter, really.

These days researchers have much better tools, and government funding besides. It’s all about acetylcholine pathways, glial precursors, neocortical structures—blah, blah, blah. In their fancy labs in China or Israel they can take stem cells from an embryo without batting an eye, drop them into a brain, and get a paper out of it.

But no, not me. A couple of dead bodies no one will miss, a convenient lightning storm, and what did I get? A howling mob with pitchforks, that’s what.

It’s just not fair.

This is a story I thought had some hope of getting recognition, but it didn’t happen that way. Out of 64 entries there were six finalists and another five entries that got special recognition (you can read the results here). I completely agree with Janet’s decision about the winner, of course. It’s a wonderful story, subtle and tender, and since the Orlando massacre at the Pride nightclub happened just as the contest was closing it was an especially appropriate choice. All the entries that were recognized were amazing.

My offering was basically the kind of griping you might hear over a couple of beers, but it had a bit of a twist to it, when you figure out at the end who’s doing the griping. That’s usually enough to make it a “story” in Janet’s eyes. Perhaps I misjudged the amount of information to give and the narrator isn’t as clear as I thought. The first sentence is a bit awkward; I should probably have found a different way to work in LOG. The second paragraph is loaded with jargon, which might have turned the reader off. And of course, there are the random fluctuations of personal taste. The reality is that I will never know why Janet didn’t connect with my entry, and that’s just the nature of the thing. She owes me no explanation.

In any case, I still like my little story, and it goes without saying that I had a lot of fun putting it together. I love these contests and will keep entering for the foreseeable future. Thank you, Janet, for running them.

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