I spent 3 days at the West Cork Literary Festival last week in Bantry. Not a writer’s conference, per se, but I got to spend mornings working on my writing and afternoons and evenings going to readings and speakers and such. Went to some stuff I wouldn’t have normally, which was good, bought too many books, which maybe wasn’t. Mostly had 3 days with friends, all wrapped up in words and stories.
One of the fun things was a flash fiction contest. They gave us the first paragraph and we had to write the rest of the story – 750 words max, including the first paragraph. I worked on it my first morning instead of the other stories I planned on, then the three of us that went together critiqued each others, then we edited the next day and turned them in. Results came in Friday night late, and Mandy sent a text the next morning. Cathy won and I came in 2nd! She said the judge read them both out, said she had them both tagged for first, then finally just had to make a choice. So we both did the happy dance – long distance because Cathy is in Tipperary this week.
I was going to post the story here, because although I like how it came out, I didn’t know any place I could send it. But tonight on my walk, I had some ideas to flip it around a bit and I’ll be able to send it out. If I post it here, it’s considered published, and I don’t know that I’ll be changing enough to consider it a different story.
So I have a challenge for you. Write a story as if you were entering the contest. Post it here as a comment (or email it to me), and I’ll e-mail you mine in return.
Here’s the first paragraph. It’s a little clunky, but you have to include it as the opening of your story. No more than 750 words, not counting the title (if you change it), so use the word counter on your word processor. And have fun!
Pavel’s uncle has left him a painting in his will. Pavel’s delighted, his uncle had many paintings, he was a connoisseur. Pavel waits to see which one his uncle picked out especially for him. The painting is wrapped in plain brown paper. The courier hands it over. “And your signature here, if you please.” Pavel sighs, takes the painting and unwraps it.
PS – I’ll give any challengers two months, until September 15th, to post their stories. After that, if anyone else wants a copy of the story, send me a note and I’ll e-mail it to you.