#StoryWord Challenge: My experience

#StoryWords is a challenge hosted by Richelle Renae (aka @Richelle_Renae) where participants tweet in 140 characters a line using the word provided for that day. It ran the entire month of April. At the end of the month, the tweets should form a story.

It was very challenging to write within the word constraints. Armed with only a broad idea that I wanted it to be a thriller of some sort, I played it by ear. Plus I had to catch up as I started a few days late. Catching up was how I wrote the story. It was far from perfect.

For the first word “bucket” I wanted to write something that had nothing to do with a bucket’s usual function – holding water, cleaning item, ice-bucket challenge – none of those. But someone could use it to stay out of a hangman’s noose. And so the first line was tweeted. After that I simply tried to make the words fit into the story that was evolving. Along with readers, I discovered the story as it developed.

It turned out to be a crime thriller. Who knew? I certainly did not.

And that was the fun part. Finding out the plot twists as they were published.

140 characters seems daunting. But in my case, it curbed my long winding, turbulent and unnecessary verbosity. Most days I found myself thanking the tweet length for saving me from having to illustrate further. (So the guy finds himself in the woods, who cares how he got there? It’s all backstory anyway.) Tweet length story developments turned out to be very forgiving.

Being restricted to specific words is terrifying. If we can’t choose our words as authors, there goes our freedom, and with it all imagination. Yet constraints can be as inspiring as blank canvases. It forces you to be resourceful and you get highly creative too. Which is great! Like the tweet length, the provided words created very intriguing sentences creating very interesting stories. It’s fiction after all. Get as weird and zany as you want.

I was determined to do it, no matter the result, because if anything I knew I would learn from it.

And the best part: I won.

Yes I did. I won the Spring Challenge. My first ever win in my writing career (not counting high school accolades – no grown adult writer should count those).

Award in hand, behind the podium, I’d like to thank my flash fiction communities Friday Fictioneers and Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers. Writing in 100 and 150 words or less is one of the best writing craft sharpening tools I’ve ever done. And I recommend it to both aspiring and bestselling author. It’s fun, challenging, and gives invaluable insight into just how much (or little) is needed to tell a good story, and how too many words detract from effective storytelling.

A big thank you to #StoryWords host Richelle!

Hope to see you in the next #Storywords Tweet Story Challenge in the Summer (Winter for us in southern hemisphere).

You may read my #StoryWord thriller here.


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