Blogging, Flash Fiction

200 Words: Part 2 of Making Merry

My cat making merry in the christmas tree
My son’s kitten has been making her own bit of merriment in my tree. Stop, ornament thief!

The past two weeks, I have been participating in Chuck Wendig’s 200 Words flash fiction challenge. This week, author Michael Woods picked up my story start, Making Merry, and added the next 200 words. You may read it over on his blog.

So far, my favorite part about this activity is seeing how another author can completely change the setting you had in your head just by adding a couple of words. For example, I had originally pictured a lower-middle class suburban neighborhood with small ranch houses, but the addition of the Saab and BMW parked on the street suddenly morphed the setting I had in mind to more of an upper-middle class neighborhood. This totally changes the dynamic of the story moving forward.

It really makes you consider how easy it is for your readers to get a different picture in their mind than what you originally intended. Once you grasp this concept, you can start to consider which seemingly minor details in a story can literally make a world of difference to the reader. As writers, we often believe we have put a specific setting on the page when what we have actually written can be influenced by the reader’s own experiences in ways we may never have imagined.

One of the greatest challenges in writing is to close the gap between what you think you have written and what you have actually written. Once you learn to take a step back from your writing and view it as a reader, rather than as the writer, you have the potential to improve your writing exponentially with each new piece you write.

If you enjoyed the first 400 words of Making Merry, please help yourself to writing the next 200 words. And be sure to post a link here on my blog. I can’t wait to find out how this story ends!

~Amanda L. Webster

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