Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Door Swings Open with Flash Fiction

Let me begin by saying THANK YOU to Rachael Harrie over at Rach Writes. If it wasn't for the first challenge in the campaign she's hosting, the "door" may have remained closed. Figuratively speaking, that is.

The door to new and uncharted writing territory. Lately, I've been questioning my writing. What exactly is it I'm attempting to do? This past weekend, I sat down and asked myself, "What do you want to write?" Then, a second question, "What is it they (teens) want to read?"

My answer...

Suspense, thrills, creepiness, chills, fear, heart-pounding action, the not overcooked paranormal, darkness, & monsters (of all kinds-including human). These were the elements I searched for in books as a teenager. I was one of those teens who spent hours, reading the backs of books, trying to find the very best one.

These scenarios defined a "really great book" back in those days:
  1. If I couldn't keep my nose out of it.
  2. The plot / characters clouded my thoughts when I wasn't reading.
  3. If it kept me up reading into the wee hours of the night.
  4. If I was afraid to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  5. Or afraid to look under the bed.
  6. Or again, afraid to look in my closet.
  7. If it made me hide under my bed covers.
  8. If it forced me to buy every book written by the same author.
  9. If I was afraid to close my eyes.
  10. If when I was finished reading the book, it haunted me.
Bottom line, I loved books that could scare the bejeepers out of me. So, why is it that I keep trying to write stories to impress adults? Literary wonders for...whom?

What do teens want? I asked my 14-year-old daughter's girlfriends.

Their answers?

Scary stories. Really scary stories. Stories that keep them up at night. Stories that haunt them for days, weeks after they're done reading. And, not just monsters, but haunting characters and plots. Books they HAVE to recommend to all of their friends. Books that make them hungry for more.

Last week, I stepped out of my cozy writing zone, and I challenged myself to write a 200-word flash fiction, with the "crazies" in mind. I attempted to write something eerie and suspenseful. Something I would've liked to have read when I was young.

After reading all the super cool comments about my piece, I realized, I like it. I like the present tense, quick-paced, creepy feel. I like the way this piece could be a terrifying end or a completely irrational, freaky beginning of a story.

Thanks to the 1st campaign challenge, fellow campaigners for all of your awesome comments, and thank you to Rachael for challenging me to let the door swing open.


  1. This is one of the other benefits of this Writers Platform-Building Campaign. Yes, we get to meet new writers, network, build our following and know we are not alone on our journey. But we also get these epiphany moments, like yours Candy...and that's wonderful.

  2. Scary is good. Something that keeps you turning because you've just GOT to know. I love getting in the mind of a teen. I'm so glad you shared their input as well as your own. Awesome.

  3. Sheesh. I was so addicted to horror as a teen. Not reading it, but watching it. I still can't walk through the woods without imagining dead bodies. Write what you want to read, Candy.

  4. Angela, joining the Writer's Platform-Building Campaign is a wonderful opportunity all the way around, I agree.

    Abby, I'm happy to share their comments. It was an interesting conversation to say the least!

    I watched the scary movies, too, Angelina. Loved them. Our home is surrounded by the woods. At night, I do not leave my porch!

  5. This post inspired me to write about my first reading of "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King. Once again, I can't get the images out of my mind. Glad it's daylight. I've only read the book once. Once was enough.

    Write scary if you want. I still read them. So does my family. We prefer scary over gory. Or as my sis said "Terror."

  6. It's so good to see the campaign is have just as positive an influence on other people as it is on me.

    I wanted to let you know I gave you a Versatile Blogger awards today on my blog. Feel free to check it out :D

  7. Niiganab, I agree, Salem's Lot is a scary one! I've been wanting to go back and reread it now that Twilight rekindled a love of vamps. I'm just not remembering them quite like Edward!

    K.T. thanks for stopping by, and thank you tons for the award. I'll be by in a bit. :))

  8. You've been double-tagged for an award :-)


  9. Great that the flash fiction piece opened the door for you, Candy. Good luck with your writing - I'll look forward to reading more of it :)

  10. Thank you, Angela for the blog award! I'll stop back by this weekend to grab the award, so I can pay it forward! That's what it's all about!

    I appreciate you stopping back by again, Susanna! Btw, I love your pic with your pups!

  11. Good for you! Opening a door like that is the best feeling. Best of luck with your new genres. :D

    And yay for the Campaign! So glad to meet you through it.

  12. It's great to meet you, Janet! Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog! Hope to see more of you on the campaign trail. :)