There is a contest running on EveryDayFiction. The site gives ten words, you must use at least four, plus there is a saying which is optional as a theme. The maximum word count is 250 words. The contest is open for submissions for eight days, and I’ve decided to write a new piece each day. At the end I’ll select one as my entry.

What I’ve learned so far:

  1. There is a tendency to write all dialogue, skipping and implying the action and description, or, no dialogue and all description or inner monologue. This is the result of the pressure to cut words.

  2. It’s not hard to force the key words in, but it becomes like the theatersports game where you have random items or words and you must justify them in the scene that you are improvising. Then it becomes silly, or at least the logical connection becomes thin and forced. Getting the words to integrate seamlessly is not so easy, especially when I’m trying to write something entirely different each day while restricted by the same ten words. In other words, if I find a nice thread connecting a few of the words, I can’t use that thread again next day because I would write almost the same story again.

  3. Integrating seamlessly and balancing dialogue with description and telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, and, trying to get it to say something meaningful too, is not easy. I can end up with slice of life miniatures, which is okay, but I don’t want them all to be like that.

And it’s hard, and getting harder. My expectations are rising as I learn from this experience. I’m aware of the weaknesses and imbalance of my writing as I’m doing it. Plus, the further along I go, the more I run out of ways of combining four of the ten words within the realm of my personal experience and knowledge. Just putting those first few words down gets harder each day.