200 + 200 – Words onto Words (A Flash Fiction Challenge)

Okay I am so late on submitting this. Last week I posted my entry into Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge. This challenge was to write 200 words, the start of a story. In subsequent weeks, others would take the snippets they liked and add to them. This entry is for Part Two. Of course you can’t just add to your own. I selected David Kearney’s piece to continue. His entry is first and my entry follows after the little star break. My entry also comes in a little heavy at 221 words.

Here ya’ go!

First 200+

The lecture theatre door slammed shut with a bang so loud half the room jumped in their seat. Alice descended the stairs, not oblivious to the 200 pairs of indignant eyes boring through her, and took the only available seat at the front of the class.

Professor Gordon Kane stood at the lectern and looked over the top his glasses at her. “Welcome Miss Turner, what a remarkable entrance. I was just about to introduce my colleague to your classmates, may I continue?”

Alice’s face burned so hard she thought her hair might catch fire.

Kane gestured toward a tall man wearing a green turtleneck and a tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows. “I expect that many of you will recognise our guest,” he said.

She recognised him immediately, in fact he was the very reason she was late for class.

“His book, Changing Minds, has spent the last six months perched at the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list, his television show of the same name has surprised  and delighted audiences around the world and we are very fortunate to have him here today. It is therefore, my very great privilege to introduce, Dr Lucas Spencer.”

The room erupted into deafening applause. Dr Spencer moved to the lectern and held up his right hand. “Thank you Gordon, thank you everyone” he said. “I’d like to ask for five volunteers.”

***** My 200 *****

     Hands of eager participants shot up all over the room. Dr. Spencer’s scrutinizing eyes grazed over them. He took his time carefully selecting those he brought up onto stage. When he reached time for the fifth volunteer his eyes found Alice. She had slouched into a seat in the back row of the room. He stared at her despite her unraised hand.

“Ms. Parker?” His voice boomed.

“Shit.” Alice muttered under her breath. A girl in the row in front of her snorted and turned to eye her.

“Ms. Parker, join us on stage. I see your willingness to volunteer is a bit lacking.”

The room turned almost as one to stare at her. She couldn’t show weakness and try to leave. She knew that everyone thought he was going to save the world. Refusal would net her pariah status on campus for the rest of her tenure. She hid her reluctance as she made the excruciatingly long walk to the stage. He greeted her at the stairs with a knowing look.

“Thought you could hide from me, did you lovely?” he whispered.

“I think you may regret toying with me Lucas,” she replied under her breath.

“We’ll see.” His eyes lit up and he turned to face his audience. “Now, who wants to see the next level of human evolution?”

Failing With Gusto

     NaNoWriMo is officially over and I’m kind of depressed. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words. This year was the first year I really tried. In previous years I started part of the way through November, already at a deficit, and when I never caught up I just threw my hands up and gave up after a week or so. This year brought new challenges, most especially having a 15 month old. I can’t remember if I tried to NaNo last year. I think I was too sleep deprived and depressed to even realize what day it was last November, let alone have the where with all to join a challenge. I also attempted to spend time planning and outlining my NaNo project. Previous years I’ve totally pantsed it.

     I’m trying to stay positive about my NaNo experience this year but I cannot escape the feeling of being a failure. I really had my heart set on finishing and having a winner badge, and enjoying some of the discounts that come with NaNo on certain things. Yeah yeah I know that is silly. In typical fashion for me I therefore feel like I wasted my time since I didn’t do everything perfect and end up a “winner”. That feeling is normal for me but is something I’ve been trying to get rid of.  I am trying to work on being less negative since it really doesn’t help achieve anything. When I have the negative thoughts I’m trying to tell myself that NaNo was actually super productive. It showed me how important writing really is to me. I have been feeling so anxious and antsy with no creative outlet. November was a much happier month for me creatively. Instead of sitting being bored at work I got my required stuff done and then wrote. Or brainstormed. So that when I got home I had a great idea. The unfortunate part was that I couldn’t quite seem to stick with my NaNo story. I got way more into writing short flash fiction pieces which I discovered during November of course. I also had some days I really just needed to zone out at night and get to sleep early. And my holiday knitting is now desperately behind.

     The biggest thing NaNo helped me with this year is showing me that I need to practice this. I can’t just jump into NaNo and write the Next Big Novel and become famous. I will have to just use my good looks for that instead. Ha! I kid. As far as writing fame goes, I can see now that writing every day is the important thing. If you want to be good at anything you have to practice it. Even with incredible natural talent you only become professional if you practice. You’d think I’d know this considering my life long musical practice. It’s hard to see how certain lessons apply to other aspects of life when you are new to doing them. I also do better when I have a bit of a competition aspect to things I do. So I found a challenge for writing practice by signing up for the 750 Words December challenge. I can use it to write blog posts, journal, or write creatively. I can access the website anywhere (work, home) and I’ll get badges! So if anyone out there needs writing motivation outside of NaNo, 750 Words is a great place to find some. And 750 words is a great amount to get a flash fiction piece started or add a good section to a longer piece.

     So yes, another NaNo is over. This year, however, instead of feeling like I’m done trying to write for another year, I’m getting ready to just keep going. To make every month a NaNo. Maybe the goal won’t be 50K in a month, but there will be a writing goal and I will keep writing. So that is a prize I haven’t gotten in years before.