#WriteCampaign Flash Fiction Challenge

September 8, 2011 11:00 am by MRM in Writing

I mentioned earlier that I’m involved in the Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign. Well, part of that is to do periodic challenges with my fellow campaigners, and this post is my fulfillment of the first of those. The challenge was to write a 200-word flash fiction story beginning with the phrase “The door swung open.”

I should mention at this point that I’ve never really gotten into flash fiction. In fact, this is the first attempt at it I’ve ever done. It was interesting, but I think I have the same problem with flash fiction that I do with short stories – I always want to keep going. I just invented three new characters – they deserve more definition… and yet… it was sort of fun in a way. I’ll never see Leslie, Mr. Vargas, or Garcia again.

Anyhow, I’m rambling. Here’s my challenge entry – I maxed it out at 200 words precisely (according to MS Word’s count). I hope you enjoy it. (Incidentally, I wouldn’t ordinarily expect you to read an entire story in italics, but… it’s only 200 words).

The door swung open. Dammit; he was a tiger today. Leslie hated tiger days. Mr. Vargas’s wound-up little son, Garcia, sprinted into the room, orange plush tiger hat strapped around his head, streamers of red paper flowing from his arms. Last month Leslie had made the mistake of asking what the streamers were for.

“They’re blood from all the stuff I kill!” he’d said.

Leslie leaned over and caught a flower vase that tiger-Garcia flicked carelessly with his hand. She wobbled perilously on one of her two-inch heels as she set it back upright. Mr. Vargas refused to childproof his house. Why should he? A big-time Hollywood producer doesn’t need to bother with such trivialities; that’s what an assistant with a film school degree was for. Besides, he couldn’t have investors and directors over with padded corners on his tables, could he? Leslie had suggested that he childproof just one of his four houses and keep his family there. Vargas had said he’d think about it.

“Grrrr! I want Lucky Charms!” Garcia swatted the full napkin-holder to the floor.

Leslie sighed. She smoothed out her blazer and tugged the bottom of her skirt. She got the milk. Damn tiger days.

About the Author

Written by MRM

I'm a speculative fiction writer that spent lots of time trying out new places to live before finally settling in NC. I love code, craft beer, football, and fiction - in no particular order. My currently running works of serial fiction can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. If you're comfortable moving files around to your ereader of choice, always pick Smashwords as your e-bookstore of choice - they give authors a much bigger slice of the pie!

14 Responses to #WriteCampaign Flash Fiction Challenge

  1. David Powers King September 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    That was hilarious! Reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are a little. Loved your characters and the resentment of tiger-days.

    Great job, Michael! :)

  2. Patricia Tilton September 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Great story. Tightly written and a lot of edge. Wasn’t sure where you were headed. Loved the ending! Great job!

    Patricia T. #85

  3. Jamila Jamison September 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    This is awesome for your first attempt at flash fic! You capture detail really well, and I feel like I’m there alongside Leslie and Garcia, feeling Leslie’s irritation over this rambunctious child.

    I started writing flash fiction about a month ago, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I’ve come to realize that, for me, flash fiction is best when I’m trying to capture a single moment in time, that way I’m not trying to shove too much into a 100 or 200 word piece. I’ve since graduated to weaving in mini-flashbacks to offer some context, but the thing that I find the most useful about the extreme word restriction is how it forces me to consider every single word that I use. I am hoping it will make me much more efficient when it comes to writing my longer work.

  4. Kelly September 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Been there, done that. Felt like you had, too. Great details.

  5. Wendy Terrien September 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Nice! But, wow, I feel really sorry for Leslie. Clearly, tiger days suck. :)

    Happy to “meet” you on the Campaign trail!

  6. Barbara Evers September 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I loved this! You feel for Leslie and for Garcia. Who can’t love a kid with that kind of imagination? I’m impressed this is your first foray into flash. By the way, who says you can’t expand on these characters? We, already know so much about them. A longer story would be great fun.

  7. MRM September 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone! I’ll be making my rounds to check out some of the other submissions this weekend. I’m glad you enjoyed it – I had a fun time writing it.

  8. Ann September 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Nice to meet you fellow campaigner. Loved your story. Poor Leslie….hope she doesn’t have to deal with too many more tiger days. Are you sure this was your first flash fiction?????? It was a very entertaining read! Great work.

  9. Angelina C. Hansen September 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I think took care of that kid! Well done.

  10. bridgetstraub.com September 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Some days are like that. Nice job. Mine is #72

  11. Rebecca Enzor September 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    So cute! I love the little kid being a tigger, and Leslie’s calm acceptance of it. The streamers were a nice touch :)

  12. Alica September 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Very fun- I love it. If only my own children were so easy to read

  13. Joanna September 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    ‘Leslie hated tiger days.’ Love it. You have managed to pack in a lot of detail about leslie, Garcia and Mr Vargas. Excellent post. Joanna #238

  14. Amanda Milner September 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Ahaha! I’ve, unfortunately, experienced “tiger-days” myself. ;) You captured the atmosphere and the stress of your character really well.

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