Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flash of Inspiration

You may have seen my name on several flash fiction contests over the years. I actually participate much less often than the average blogger. My other goals, creating a novel protagonist and staying open to poetry, seem to require different mindsets from flash fiction.

That said, sometimes an idea grabs me and I have to run with it. Such was the case last Thursday with Needle Magazine's first flash fiction contest. Due May 18, the entries have to involve a needle of some kind.

This inspired me to revisit a character I last wrote about five years ago, which led me to respond to a post Saturday by Do Some Damage blogger Scott D. Parker, mired in a creative dry spell and wondering, "What do you do when you think everything you write sucks?"

I commented:

I've been through similar dry spells, and for me the answer is not to think about what I'm writing; just write it. This is not a radical notion. Every story starts as a super-creative brainstorm. Only after this first, nonjudgmental stage do I begin self-editing. Self-editing too early of course cuts creativity short.

If I break the creative process into smaller steps, I avoid thinking my writing has to be too good at any one point. The only time it has to be excellent is when I finally post or submit the story.

That's the approach I'm taking with my character from five years ago, and I finished a first draft this morning.

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