Here we go again! NYCM Flash Fiction weekend is upon us! This contest seems to come up faster and faster every year.
This year, I had every reason not to enter. First and foremost, I made it to round 2 of the Screenwriter challenge with Two Percent, and I wrote what I’m hoping is a very strong entry with Little Sparrow. If I place in the top 5, that means I’ll be writing for the final round next weekend. I don’t want to count my sparrows before they’re hatched, but I’m very hopeful for making that final round!
So, it’s kind of insane, potentially setting myself up for two weekends in a row of NYCM. But I’m a glutton for punishment. And I love the weird-ass prompts that make me think WAY outside my box.
And this weekend’s prompt was, by far, the weirdest yet. This weekend, I’ve put together a Drama, set inside a cyber café, involving… a snail.
Yes. A snail.
To be honest, I was really excited to get Drama as my genre. (That is, after I got over laughing at the idea of working a snail into my story.) I’ve had so many trope-worthy genre assignments that I was happy to finally get something I could sink my teeth into. Drama is a chops-buster for the writer, making us stretch deep and explore uncomfortable territory. It gives us the space and the permission to discuss topics that aren’t typically acceptable in light conversation.
My mind wrestled with the idea of the cyber café and the snail for a while. I saw trite images of gamer geeks and relationship triangles. I thought of creative ways to use “snail”… gamer tag? Snack food? Hell, it could be a swanky internet café, right?
Then, in my mind, an image appeared of a gleaming snail shell, perfectly preserved, dangling from a silver chain.
I knew almost immediately what story needed to be written. I also knew that writing it was going to hurt like hell. Fiction written from the underbelly of a writer’s deepest fears tends to be an agonizing process. And that’s exactly what I did: I dug out one of my deepest fears, and I made it come to life for some fictional characters. I feel like I need to apologize to them for the fresh hell that I’ve put them through.
I can’t post until I get notification from NYCM, so until then, here’s my customary teaser – the title and logline.
On the day of her disappearance, all they found of Janie was her favorite necklace. Five hundred twenty-eight days later, Karen’s life still revolves around a singular purpose — finding her daughter.