Writing outside my comfort zone

I seem to have had a bit of motivation and inspiration for short stories again. I may be a bit premature writing this as the one I am working on is not yet complete (goes to show how hard it is to write something without allocated time, grabbing it when I can. But, perhaps that is what makes it easier with something like this as I am not forcing myself). Anyway, I am feeling positive.

The inspiration came when I finished reading one of my writing magazines yesterday. The competitions are listed right at the end and I scoured them as usual for the ones I liked the sound of. I came across one that had been listed in last month’s magazine too and it had caught my attention then but I had struggled for ideas and the motivation to even just write. Looking at it again I noticed that the story (flash fiction, really, as it is only 400 words), theme: the journey, could be a real life account.

Immediately, I knew what I would write about. It is a tale I have reccounted more times than I can count, each time in different depth and length, although usually really really long and embellished. I would retell it in letters to penfriends, in Harry’s journal, in my diary. It would be the full account from the place the journey started to various points in time, but nothing that ever felt quite like an end as there always seemed more to tell. 400 words, however, seemed a perfect length to tell it more as a story with a very definite beginning, middle and end of the journey.

As it stands at the moment (approximately 400 words but one last paragraph to write) it is quite basic. I don’t get across the suspense and element of surprise at the end like I wish to. It is a continuous stretch of prose and I am unsure how to, if I should, include any dialogue. But the format is there. I have included everything that I believe needs to be included, it just needs a very good polish (and the end to be written, of course).

Writing a novel always seemed second nature to me. Getting through a first draft, editing it to the point of it being ready as ever for submission, has been an achievement for sure, but it just seemed natural. It was something I always knew I could do. Writing a short story, entering it in a competition, is outside my comfort zone and what I will feel once I have done that is something more.

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