Friday, September 12, 2008

Flash Me

I don’t know about you fine folks, but most of my early attempts at writing were overflowing with useless information and far more adjectives/adverbs than necessary. I thought the more flowery my writing, the easier it would be to make word count.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I was on the wrong path. I set about making my work more concise and crisp. Oddly enough, it even improved the flow and the pacing. Brief is good when it comes to writing apparently.

A couple of years ago I stumbled across a small (at the time) group of bloggers who participated in a very interesting writing exercise. It’s called the Friday 55. The object is to write a complete story in just 55 words, no more, no less and it is a lot harder than it sounds. When working within such narrow margins every word needs to count. It has done wonders for my writing style.

Here is an example of one such story:

Eyes so big, they seem out of place in something so small. The mother watches her, heart torn, mind conflicted. How doe she explain? Helpless, she pulls the child close. “You can bring him back, baby.” The child’s body shudders under the weight of sobs. “Why did you take your brother out on the ice?”

So, now I must throw down the gauntlet. I want to see what you can do with 55 words. Make me laugh, cry, love or lust, I don’t care which as long as I feel something.

What’s in it for you? Well, aside from the obvious joy of completing such a fun project, for everyone who drops a 55 in the comments, I will add their name into a drawing. I will leave the contest open until next Wednesday night at midnight. I will pick a winner from the entries and announce their name (with links if provided) in next Friday’s post. The winner will also receive a free e-book of Pixels and Pain.

Happy writing!


  1. yes, a lot of concentration in precision. A handful of dried soup concentrate, will make a wholesome dish to feed the entire family!:D

    Seriously! One can pack up a whole story in 55 words
    & since there is an incentive here, I shall put my 55 words story here:

    " Where were you!?"
    Demanded the Bride
    Of her younger sister...

    "With your Groom, sis...
    For ages you passed down
    Your castaway wear... your smell on them...
    I got no new...

    "Tonight.. your wedding night
    And for the rest to come
    My smell on him will remind you...
    You wear MY castaway...

    I offer in kind!"

  2. you know i've enjoyed doing the 55s a long time. here's mine. hope it's ok that i'm recycling my first one.

    Strangers cross paths in a crowd but a flicker of recognition brightens his face. The familiar knot from years ago tightens in her stomach when their eyes meet. She submissively turns her gaze downward to avoid him but then sets her jaw, stands straight, lets the throng carry her away, and remembers...she is free.

  3. Exactly, Mona. It doesn't take much to make something tangible. Excellent entry. Powerful stuff.

    Yes, Lime... if memory serves you are the one who started me down the 55 path. :D A very moving entry. So much going on ther in such a small space.

  4. Mona! Oh my gosh you scandalous thing you!

    I have Pixel. :) Can I go in for The Dance?

    She hated his taste, his mockery, the sneer on when he called her name. Twenty years had not wiped the vile from off the first bloom of love for which she’d said “yes”. Now sleeping, he appeared impotent but not incapable of hurt. She raised the pillow to his face. “Die, you killer of dreams.”

  5. lol, Kelly. Yep, you can substitute for anything I have available. That goes for anyone else, who already has Pixels.

    Great entry, even with the extra words. :D Oh, I like the dark nature of this one. :D

  6. We were born to hate each other. Everyone knew it, but we felt it. So when the spell was completed, and we were bound for life, no one was more surprised that Ethan and I were. Even more shocking was the fact that we would find ourselves in love, and in bed, within three months.

    Dakota Rebel

  7. Excellent post, James. I'll be back. It's too early in the morning for me to function yet!

  8. That was outstanding, Dakota. You've evoked some very vivid imagery with that one. :D

    Thanks, Anny. I look forward to reading yours.:D

  9. “Jump!” Voices from below flew upward. A demon pit or just human cruelty?
    “His angels shall bear you up.” Noxious whispering in my mind. I shook my head, but in vain. I stepped, hung suspended, one foot in mid-air, the other on the ledge.
    “Someone call 911.” The janitor pulled me back.

  10. Stephen King's excellent book "On Writing" addresses this exact thing, James. He says...just say it. HE's right about that. It picks up the pacing tremendously.

  11. what about those who have already written a 55 this week? we're supposed to pull a 55 out of a magic hat? lol jk i see mona already has one..darn. gonna have to go think on it. i'll be back. LOL

  12. here's my offering, james...i'm gonna have to use this one again on friday LOL

    What to say about herself? She did not know. In some ways she felt foolish, excited in others. She had never done this sort of thing before. Now was the time to take the risk. What’s the worse that could happen? Nervously, she hit the button. She was now part of the online dating world.