Last Thursday, the book world of Twitter became a flurry of pitches due to #PitMad, an opportunity for writers to pitch their stories to agents through shortened Twitter pitches. Since I have a couple opportunities on the horizon to receive further critique on my manuscript, I decided to hold back from this month's #PitMad and wait for a later opportunity.
In order to distract myself from the temptation of pitching, I instead participated in a writing exercise called #PhotoStoryChallenge. Every week, Radina Valova posts one of her photos on Twitter with a set of rules, and challenges writers to incorporate the photo and rules into a scene. It's a great flash fiction exercise, and it's fun to see the many ways different writers twist the inspiration into a variety of stories. Since I've recently trapped myself in a cycle of editing and worldbuilding, I enjoyed giving myself a chance to write without a care, and it helped jog my creativity. It also strengthened my bond with the participating members of my writing group on Twitter.
Here's a recap of the March 8th challenge:
The rules of the challenge were to write a scene based on this image, and it had to include dialogue between at least two people who want something from each other, and the writer must use the words "is that all."
Apparently when given this set of inspiration, my first instinct is to write about a farm girl and a demon queen. Below is my unedited #PhotoStoryChallenge flash fiction from Thursday.
She didn’t look like a demon queen, leaning against my closet door while the setting sun highlighted her profile. Not the way she did an hour prior, when the fire in her eyes burned against the darkest shadows surrounding her, and for a split moment my fear and awe mixed into a knot of doubt.
“I thought you might kill me earlier,” I said. “Rather than that monster.” The memory of its putrid breath twisted my stomach, and I touched the spot on my neck where its teeth punctured my skin before it fell prey to the demon queen.
Annora pulled her gaze away from the window to look at me. “That would somewhat defeat the purpose of protecting you, would it not?”
The twist in my stomach became something else entirely as I smiled at her. “It might be counterproductive.”
Her dark eyes still simmered with a hint of that flame. “I wouldn’t hurt you.”
I shrugged in an attempt at nonchalance. “I suppose our pact wouldn’t allow you to harm me.”
Annora shook her chin. “It’s not about the pact.”
I arched a brow, but she didn’t elaborate.
“Well,” I said as I pushed to my feet and stretched my arms up, “we should get going. We only have four hours to locate your buried crown and defeat a demonic prince before he destroys you, me, and everyone else in my small but still arguably significant Kansas town.”
The edge of Annora’s mouth twitched up. “Is that all?”
I offered my hand to pull her to her feet, and she paused in front of me. Her warm fingers locked around mine and her extra two inches of height forced me to tilt back in order to meet her eyes. Her rare smile returned to tight-lipped hesitation.
“Annora,” I said. I meant it as a statement, but my concern turned it into a question.
She squeezed my hand. “When this is over,” she said, “you have to let me go.”
A dull ache spread through my chest, but I refused to let it show on my face. Returning to my lonely farm life now seemed more unbelievable than losing my heart to a demon queen.
“I will,” I said, dropping her hand. “I know the rules.”
The look in her eyes echoed the sentiment in my head: neither of us felt confident in my ability to fulfill that promise.
That's all, folks. Follow Radina Valova for more weekly challenges, which I hope to participate in from now on. I also need to tuck this story idea of a farm girl and a demon queen away in my box of ideas-that-cannot-distract-me-from-my-current-work-in-progress. Also, check out Radina's Twitter Memory to read the scenes written by other writers!
I write YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. This blog is dedicated to thoughts and advice on writing and publishing, as well as various interests related to the world of Young Adult.