September 19th, 2005

Stewart Not Your Monkey

Flash Challenges

At Liberty Hall, members are given a weekly "trigger" to write a story about. You have 90 minutes. Stories are anonymously posted on Mondays and members crit on stories that aren't in the same group as theirs. Each group has a vote for "Best Flash". On Wednesdays, everyone votes for "Best of the Best", with one overall winner chosen Thursday. That winner provides the next trigger.

Well, last week was my second attempt at this. I felt pretty intimidated, as there are a lot of talented writers on this board. My first story wasn't all that well received, as I think I treated it a bit lightly. The only idea I got was silly, so I wrote silly. But most members at LH are looking to publish, so I got mixed reviews.

So I was a bit nervous this time. These folks are great in their critiquing, as in they're honest while -- in the nicest way -- candid about suggesting how to improve not only your story but your overall writing ability.

I was absolutely stoked when my second story got some very encouraging reviews and feedback.

It started innocently enough. I kept checking to see if anyone else had read it. Oh, they liked it too. Oh wow, they really liked it...

Then I got my first vote for "Best". Praise the Lord!

10 minutes later, I'm checking again.

5 minutes later.

And then I realized it. Liberty Hall is like crack. One little bit, and I'm wanting more, more, MORE!

I realize, of course, that the voting means nothing. I've been on cloud nine all weekend, and my head has only required deflating twice. But really, I find myself wishing less people liked it. A few gave general suggestions for improvement, but I am so new at this that I don't even really know where to go from there. Oh, why couldn't they tear it apart sentence by sentence and tell me how to REALLY wow them?

Yes, it's a drug and I'm hooked. I suppose there could be worse things than knocking out a story a weekend. But considering that I've started-and-not-finished about 657,098,324 stories over the years, I figure I'll stick with it a while. And the best part, at least there's ample encouragement to GET IT OUT THERE and start the rejection-collection process.

Check out Liberty Hall if you want to try to join.

And check out The Supercool Zoomquilt if you want to see the trigger I picked for this week.