Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The things you find on the Internet

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien

I'm actually not going to mention ReaderCON today. Well except to say that I won't mention ReaderCON.

Yesterday, I made some new, really talented contacts/friends. I blame Twitter and the Internet.

In the morning I checked my Twitter account and saw a ReTweet (RT to us twit-diots) from a writer named Leah Petersen.

It was about a writing competition she runs every Tuesday called 'Five Minute Fiction.' The rules are simple. At 1:30 PM Eastern, she posts a subject/word on her blog. People then write for five minutes on the subject. A guest judge (this week it was the lovely and talented Shianan Fae) selects five finalists and these 'final five' are voted on by Leah's readers.

Brilliant, really. Fun competition, online marketing, drives traffic and general 'awareness' for the host, judge and participants alike.

Well, I figured I'd give it a go this week.

I booked a conference room at work and setup 1:30 as my lunch time. After all, it sounded fun, right?

Exactly at 1:30, Leah posted 'Prescription' as the subject.

I froze. "Okay," I said. "You can do this."

1:31

What's the main character's name....Um...

1:32

"Abe! I'll call him Abe. And he's....in Chicago. But there's been a global plague, so he scrapes by...how?"

1:33

"Got it! He's in a poker game with fellow survivors! And...YES. He'll have some rube who runs scams for him tell him that his prescription is ready! Abe's fellow players will assume he has the plague, fold and Abe will collect the pot!"

1:34

I write...but how to end it? Oh of course! Abe, pockets filled with his scammed winnings, coughs up blood! He really DOES have the Plague! Irony!

1:35

Post! I made it. Typos and all.

Well, I sat back in my chair and was grossed out because my back was wet. I'd broken out into a sweat. When I tell you it was the most exciting 5 minutes of the day, I mean it.

Heart racing, and synapses firing, all I needed to do was to get picked for the final five.

Ms. Fae picked my story as a finalist. Along with entries by Rebecca Hamilton, Noelle Pierce, Robert James Russell, and Sessha Batto.

It was (and still is) pretty flattering.

I read the other entries...and that little candle that was my excitement at having been chosen a finalist dimmed a bit. See, all the finalist entries were pretty good.

Actually, for five minutes of panic writing, they were not just pretty good. They were really, really good.

And voters would decide the winner.

I watched the tallies go up through out the day. I made it all the way to second place before the voting deadline passed. So close.

But I'm ok with second. First, because Becca's story WAS better. Second, well...

I got to play with other writers.

But you can bet your sweet bottom I'll be hanging around Leah's blog again.

After all (and with apologies to Sharon O'Brien), I can't wait to see what I'll write next Tuesday.

3 comments:

Leah Petersen said...

Well, don't forget to mention that because the poll neglected to close at 9:30, the final tally had you as the winner. Excellent writing. If that's what you can do in five minutes no editing no rewriting... .

And I'm 100% with you on breaking out in a sweat. It's my contest and I still get that adrenaline rush each week. (I pick the topic a week ahead of time so I've forgotten by Tuesday. It's as new to me as anyone.)

Talented writers like you are what make it fun.

Thanks, Richard!

Shianan Fae said...

Judging wasn't easy you know! When Leah asked me I was like SCORE! A chance to feel all the power that an editor going through the slush pile for gems must feel.

SO NOT. Picking five out of so many entries was just like trying to fight with an angry rhinoceros. (Not that I've done that, but you know...)

I'm glad you decided to take the plunge and you did do so well! I look forward to reading your entry next week, as well as kicking your butt! :p

Noelle Pierce said...

Thanks for the mention! It is a lot of fun, and relieves stress by giving us something creative to do (also breaks writers' block). Your story was awesome and I'm so glad you got in the top 5 on your first week. (It took me several weeks to get in the top 5 the first time...*grumbling*). :-D

Can't wait to see what you write next week!

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