Accepting the Challenge
So the second Crusader “Challenge” was a writing prompt to write a story in less than a hundred words beginning with, “The goldfish bowl teetered…” My first thought was: BORING. Flash fiction “stories” are easy because they don’t have to be stories. In “Name That Tune” fashion, I bet I can write that story in 50 words. Or even less.
The supposed added challenge would be writing it in your favorite genre. Isn’t that LESS of a challenge? A real challenge would be writing it in genres you DON’T write normally.
I’m going to go even one better than that and write stories using these four words in several different genres. This goes along with my previous entry about how little difference there is between genres.
Here we go.
Version 1: Sci-Fi Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the command chair. A tentacled hand reached out to snatch the bowl before it could fall. “Take this back to the cargo hold,” the giant space octopus said. “And now that we’ve finished collecting samples, you may begin demolishing this puny world.” (47 words!)
Version 2: Fantasy Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the table. The dark wizard steadied it with the end of his goat-headed staff. He leered at the tiny fish swimming inside. “Now, King Corwin, all of Middle Narnia will be mine!” (37 words!)
Version 3: Mystery Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the shelf as the body of Mrs. Parmalee hit the floor. The killer stood over her a moment, making sure she was dead. Then he wiped her blood from the knife, stuck it into his pocket, and disappeared into the night. (46 words!)
Version 4: Thriller Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the table as the body of Martin Hicks hit the wall. He ducked just before the masked assailant launched a roundhouse kick that would have taken his head off. Hicks stuck out his legs to sweep the attacker’s legs from under him. The attacker hit the floor, the goldfish bowl falling to shatter on his head.
Hicks reached into the man’s pocket, finding the final scrap of map. At last he would know where to dig for the lost Ark of the Covenant. (88 words)
Version 5: Romance Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the shelf as Miguel pressed Amanda against the wall. Their lips pressed together passionately while Miguel’s hands worked to frantically unfasten Amanda’s gown. “I’ve waited so long for this, my darling,” he said.
“Mother will be furious if she finds out,” Amanda said.
“What does it matter? I love you.”
“I love you too,” Amanda said, beginning to undo the buttons of Miguel’s shirt.
The dress and shirt hit the floor at the same time.
Version 6: Literary Version
The goldfish bowl teetered on the table as Conor slammed down the sweaty bottle of Jack Daniels. He held up the letter to see it better in the dim gold light from the dark green table lamp, the only thing left to him by his father.
He read over the letter again, tears streaming down his cheeks. It was over now.
Conor picked up the Colt revolver next to the goldfish bowl and then pressed it to his temple.
A shot rang out.
The rejection letter from Random House drifted to the floor like a piece of blood-drenched snow. (99 words!)
So there you go. I could do tons more I’m sure. Which one is your favorite? I’m not going to enter any of them because as I said last Tuesday, I’m a terrible coward. I’m not going to risk losing to win some crappy prize. (A discount on editing? Really?) But I hope this helps you to see how easy it is to make flash fiction, which to me is a bastard art form because it lacks all the depth of novels or even short stories. Most of these have as much depth as a movie trailer.
Sunday concludes the Worst Book Ever Tournament!