Sunday, October 13, 2013

Flash Fiction: Horror in Three Sentences

PROMPT/CHALLENGE SUMMARY: Write a scary story in three sentences. That’s it. Remember: a proper story has a beginning, middle and an end. It is not merely a vignette. And, no, really – make it scary.
(Source: this week's flash fiction challenge over on terribleminds, Chuck Wendig's blog. Per the challenge instructions, this was also posted in the comments section of that page.)

It felt like nothing special, just the tickling itch of a stray lock of hair poking the back of my ear persistently enough to wake me. My sleep-addled brain sent a hand to smack against the side of my head without even commanding my eyes to open. Something slimy, with legs--definitely not a stray lock of my hair--jerked away from my fingers, chittered out a dark, humorless little laugh, and then slithered inside my ear.

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I really liked this challenge. It's hard to create a story in a small space and three sentences is a really small space. Especially for a scary story, which has to tap into some deeply held human fear if it's going to be any good. Horror isn't something I usually work with (my urban fantasy is on the lighter side) so this was a nice stretch for me.

The temptation to eek out some extra length by really flexing the punctuation muscles here was huge. I'm not going to lie; a few of the other entries over on Mr. Wendig's site left me more annoyed than scared because they went that route. The purist in me felt like they violated the spirit of the challenge. Comma abuse is a trap so many writers (myself included) fall victim to, even in full-length manuscripts, but some folks really just took it to a whole new level of cruelty. And I can't even talk about what was done to some of the poor colons, semi-colons, and em-dashes. *shudder*

Still, many of the entries are very good and very scary. Though I'm pretty happy with it, I suspect my own little bit of flash doesn't stand much of a chance against them. If you're interested and want to sneak a few more bites of horror to get into the Halloween spirit, or if you want to offer up one of your own, head over to terribleminds. Or, if you're not quite ready for/interested in so public a forum, feel free to post in the comments here instead, just for fun. My other bot readers would love to hear from you.

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