Author Topic: A 250 word Short Story  (Read 41307 times)

Offline Margarett

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A 250 word Short Story
« on: June 24, 2012, 06:57:49 PM »
This is a short tale I am trying to write in under 250 words..But not sure if it qualifies as flash fiction or not..

Prey to a Full Moon
By: Margarett

My sleep ended, when a scream entered the dark room of my dream. Beyond barred windows a steady stream of lightning throbs against a twilit sky. Its eerie glow sends ghosts to dance over my walls. My gown clung to cold sweat as I waited for daylight.

The rooms only light flickered once, twice, then came on. I glared into the rooms shadowy corners and felt a bone deep shudder race through me. That scream filled my thoughts as I trudged through the day.

Just beyond the realm of my vision always slightly out of focus the shadows played. A nurse handed me a cup full of pills I tossed them back and swallowed. Their zombie-like trance had to feel better than this churning sense of dread knotting deep inside my stomach.

After last group therapy session, I washed my hair while the tricksters of shadows stood mumbling in the darkest corners. I left followed a trail of invisible footprints right into my room. Peering into each of the room's dimly lit corners and under the bed. Finding nothing amiss, I sat down and began toweling dry my tangled mop of curls. How did I dare tell anyone what was really happening inside my head without risking my being put in straitjacket and shuttled back to a padded cell in lock down.

The familiar squeak of a nurses cart stopped outside my door. The nurse entered with a bottle of water and another plastic cup full of nightly medication. I gulped them down and opened wide.  He checked my mouth to be sure it was empty.

 “How you feeling, Maggie?” came his nightly question.

“Just fine,” I lied.

He turned away, made a mark on a chart and that squeaking wheel continued to retreat, along the blue hallway. The lights went out right on the dot 10 o’clock.

While, I sat waiting for my eyes to focus to the light of a moon both full and bright, the hushed sounds of scurrying feet echoed throughout the blue unit.  None of the rainbow colored medications were having an effect on us tonight. Everyone it seemed was pacing their rooms.

At the edge of my vision stood two tiny creatures who were feasting on bones dripping with blood. I looked away as cries and screams began to mingle with loud maniacal laughter all over ward.

My screams were quick to join in with the others when I felt two sets of sharp jagged teeth sink into my legs again and again. The little red eyed monsters were trying to eat me alive. I lunged atop my bed. Trying to keep the trolls at bay took all of my energies. By four in the morning both my feet and legs were bloody raw.

Diagnosed with full moon syndrome, the jackets were once again filled and so were the padded cells.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 07:09:43 PM by Margarett »
Dance in the raindrops. Slide down a rainbow. Make our world a more beautiful place. Keep a smile handy and give them away.
After all they are free!  " SMILE "

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 07:47:15 PM »
Margarett, I don't know if it matters to what you're trying to accomplish but I counted 477 words.

From what I understand, Flash-Fiction is up to 1,000 words but I don't think that is set in stone.  ;D

Offline Laura H

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 09:25:47 PM »
Hi Margarett,

My understanding of flash is that it is cut to the chase - that is to say, no filler, every word carefully measured for merit and tossed if not crucial, the story is the thing.  I do see a story here, but you have lots of words you can cut. 

Fore instance, in the beginning, you can get to the story a little faster -

"A nurse handed me a cup full of pills I tossed them back and swallowed." this would be a great start - readers will know the MC is hospitalized, wonder why, wonder what pills - the lines before are unnecessary, imho.

Why not enter the current flash contest as practice *shameless plug*  http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php/topic,43707.0.html

I do personally find that they are GREAT exercises  in editing.  Sme of my favorites have had under 100 word counts.
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Offline Margarett

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 10:12:38 PM »
This is a short tale I am trying to write in under 250 words..But not sure if it qualifies as flash fiction or not..

Prey to a Full Moon
By: Margarett

« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 11:02:17 PM by Margarett »
Dance in the raindrops. Slide down a rainbow. Make our world a more beautiful place. Keep a smile handy and give them away.
After all they are free!  " SMILE "

Offline sherabeezee

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 03:13:19 AM »
Margaret

I read your story which made me shiver in fear.  However there are a few errors in the story.

Para 2......rooms   should be  room's

Para 4   a straitjacket        you missed out the  a

Para 5  nurse's cart

Para 10   all over the ward

Apart from the above errors I found the story unusual, I am not into horror but continued to read the
piece to find out the outcome.

Perhaps add a bit more tension by describing the person's inner thoughts, and actual physical feelings
as they strain to cope with ............insanity.

Good luck with story

Sherrabeezee

This is a short tale I am trying to write in under 250 words..But not sure if it qualifies as flash fiction or not..

Prey to a Full Moon
By: Margarett

My sleep ended, when a scream entered the dark room of my dream. Beyond barred windows a steady stream of lightning throbs against a twilit sky. Its eerie glow sends ghosts to dance over my walls. My gown clung to cold sweat as I waited for daylight.

The rooms only light flickered once, twice, then came on. I glared into the rooms shadowy corners and felt a bone deep shudder race through me. That scream filled my thoughts as I trudged through the day.

Just beyond the realm of my vision always slightly out of focus the shadows played. A nurse handed me a cup full of pills I tossed them back and swallowed. Their zombie-like trance had to feel better than this churning sense of dread knotting deep inside my stomach.

After last group therapy session, I washed my hair while the tricksters of shadows stood mumbling in the darkest corners. I left followed a trail of invisible footprints right into my room. Peering into each of the room's dimly lit corners and under the bed. Finding nothing amiss, I sat down and began toweling dry my tangled mop of curls. How did I dare tell anyone what was really happening inside my head without risking my being put in straitjacket and shuttled back to a padded cell in lock down.

The familiar squeak of a nurses cart stopped outside my door. The nurse entered with a bottle of water and another plastic cup full of nightly medication. I gulped them down and opened wide.  He checked my mouth to be sure it was empty.

 “How you feeling, Maggie?” came his nightly question.

“Just fine,” I lied.

He turned away, made a mark on a chart and that squeaking wheel continued to retreat, along the blue hallway. The lights went out right on the dot 10 o’clock.

While, I sat waiting for my eyes to focus to the light of a moon both full and bright, the hushed sounds of scurrying feet echoed throughout the blue unit.  None of the rainbow colored medications were having an effect on us tonight. Everyone it seemed was pacing their rooms.

At the edge of my vision stood two tiny creatures who were feasting on bones dripping with blood. I looked away as cries and screams began to mingle with loud maniacal laughter all over ward.

My screams were quick to join in with the others when I felt two sets of sharp jagged teeth sink into my legs again and again. The little red eyed monsters were trying to eat me alive. I lunged atop my bed. Trying to keep the trolls at bay took all of my energies. By four in the morning both my feet and legs were bloody raw.

Diagnosed with full moon syndrome, the jackets were once again filled and so were the padded cells.

Offline Dawn

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 05:40:25 AM »
Margaret, your getting there. However, I do feel your still trying to hard.

My sleep ended, when a scream entered the dark room of my dream. Beyond barred windows a steady stream of lightning throbs against a twilit sky. Its eerie glow sends ghosts to dance over my walls. My gown clung to cold sweat as I waited for daylight.

Take this first sentence. It just feels over written to me. Readers would have to really concentrate to read it. Just try and tell it how it is. Look at your words - Beyond barred, try and use something that doesn't begin a b, same applies for clung to cold sweat.
Perhaps look at what you read, do they write like this? Do you read a lot?

This is all JMO and I am by no means an expert, very far from it.

Try this, aim to cut your story by half.
Time to take it serious and get the job done

Offline Dawn

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 05:46:41 AM »
Also sorry I have highlighted words that can be worked on.

My sleep ended, when a scream entered the dark room of my dream. Beyond barred windows a steady stream of lightning throbs against a twilit sky. Its eerie glow sends ghosts to dance over my walls. My gown clung to cold sweat as I waited for daylight.

The rooms only light flickered once, twice, then came on. I glared into the rooms shadowy corners and felt a bone deep shudder race through me. That scream filled my thoughts as I trudged through the day.

Just beyond the realm of my vision always slightly out of focus the shadows played. A nurse handed me a cup full of pills I tossed them back and swallowed. Their zombie-like trance had to feel better than this churning sense of dread knotting deep inside my stomach.

After last group therapy session, I washed my hair while the tricksters of shadows stood mumbling in the darkest corners. I left followed a trail of invisible footprints right into my room. Peering into each of the room's dimly lit corners and under the bed. Finding nothing amiss, I sat down and began toweling dry my tangled mop of curls. How did I dare tell anyone what was really happening inside my head without risking my being put in straitjacket and shuttled back to a padded cell in lock down.

The familiar squeak of a nurses cart stopped outside my door. The nurse entered with a bottle of water and another plastic cup full of nightly medication. I gulped them down and opened wide.  He checked my mouth to be sure it was empty.

 “How you feeling, Maggie?” came his nightly question.

“Just fine,” I lied.

He turned away, made a mark on a chart and that squeaking wheel continued to retreat, along the blue hallway. The lights went out right on the dot 10 o’clock.

While, I sat waiting for my eyes to focus to the light of a moon both full and bright, the hushed sounds of scurrying feet echoed throughout the blue unit.  None of the rainbow colored medications were having an effect on us tonight. Everyone it seemed was pacing their rooms.

At the edge of my vision stood two tiny creatures who were feasting on bones dripping with blood. I looked away as cries and screams began to mingle with loud maniacal laughter all over ward.

My screams were quick to join in with the others when I felt two sets of sharp jagged teeth sink into my legs again and again. The little red eyed monsters were trying to eat me alive. I lunged atop my bed. Trying to keep the trolls at bay took all of my energies. By four in the morning both my feet and legs were bloody raw.

Diagnosed with full moon syndrome, the jackets were once again filled and so were the padded cells.
Time to take it serious and get the job done

hillwalker3000

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 08:51:47 AM »
Hi again Margarett,
I agree with alfiemama's diagnosis - 'overwritten' rather than 'full moon syndrome', and for flash fiction that's the worst thing you can do. Flash fiction is all about condensing everything into as few words as possible. The best advice I ever read was something like : good writers write to express - poor writers write to impress.

You provide a decent enough opening if a little melodramatic. But you switch verb tense for some reason. Your  story begins in the past tense ('ended' and 'entered') then present tense ('throbs' and 'sends') then past again ('clung' and 'waited'). Do you have a reason for doing so or is it just an oversight?
As for the imagery - it becomes a little complicated - a 'stream' of lightning for example is difficult to picture. I like the ghosts dancing over the walls but again a gown 'clinging to cold sweat' is over the top. If you're cutting this down to 250 words you have to be ruthless - every word has to earn its keep. And so much of your story is vague and repetitive - shadowy corners - shadows - tricksters of shadows in darkest corners - dimly lit corners. It's hardly being economic with words is it if you keep repeating yourself?

How to cut this back to the bone? I could go through this and rewrite it for you but it's your story so it's up to you to decide what you feel can be left out.

Here are a few clues:

My sleep ended, I woke ?

The rooms only light flickered once, twice, then came on. I glared into the rooms shadowy corners and felt a bone deep shudder race through me. That scream filled my thoughts as I trudged through the day. - This paragraph adds nothing to the story because you tell us later that you are being haunted by the shadows etc.

Their zombie-like trance had to feel better than this churning sense of dread knotting deep inside my stomach. - this sentence doesn't even make sense. The zombie-like trance of the pills?

I left followed a trail of invisible footprints right into my room. - 2 verbs - is it 'left' or 'followed'? or 'left then followed'? If you're heading to your room we already know you left!

“How you feeling, Maggie?” came his nightly question. he asked. - does it matter he asks the same question every night?

The lights went out right on the dot 10 o’clock. not that any of this sentence matters to be truthful.

While, I sat waiting for my eyes to focus to the light of a moon both full and bright, the hushed sounds of scurrying feet echoed throughout the blue unit.  None of the rainbow colored medications were having an effect on us tonight. Everyone it seemed was pacing their rooms. - can you see how you litter your writing with unnecessary words?

Diagnosed with full moon syndrome, the jackets were once again filled and so were the padded cells - another sentence that makes no sense because you chose to express yourself in such a peculiar way.
Were the jackets diagnosed with full moon syndrome before being 'filled'? That's what you have written here. Why not keep things simple?
Diagnosed with full moon syndrome, the patients were tied into their strait jackets and placed in the padded cells.

For such an overblown story not a great deal happens and the ending is a letdown - but the exercise was to write a 'story' in 250 words or less. I'd be interested to see if you're able to edit this down to 249 words.

H3K
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 08:54:21 AM by hillwalker3000 »

Offline Dawn

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 09:26:08 AM »
 ;D

We could set you a challenge of 200. :P
Time to take it serious and get the job done

Offline clk

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 06:04:02 PM »
I agree with everyone who told you to whittle your story down to the bones. I think flowery descriptions work best and are most poignant when used sparingly, and as a general rule, they never make really good hooks.

I think you have a very interesting premise for your story, but that a different writing style could help you engage people better. What about something like, "Once a month I see them. Once a month the shadows come for me"? Since it's such a short piece, I think something a bit dramatic yet straight to the point would help hook readers. Also, you could do a more abrupt, distant narration in the beginning and then change to something a bit more intimate (more vivid descriptions, etc) at the climax (when she's attacked). Just some suggestions! Good luck!

Silt-2

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 06:59:45 AM »
Hello

You asked if this qualifies as a flash. I'd say yes. There is enough in this draft to make it so. Now is the time when you would refine it more to fit any word limits possibly set, or sharpen the images.

But, this in my mind is enough to be a flash.

Offline Margarett

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 10:45:11 AM »
Under 200 words..but not the same punch!

Prey to a Full Moon
By: Margarett


It was on a dark and stormy night, lightning throbbed across the twilit sky and sent ghostly shadows to dance over my walls. Just beyond the realm of my vision and always slightly out of focus evil creatures had started to play.

Therapy sessions over, I followed a trail of invisible footprints into my room. A familiar squeak of the  nurses cart stopped outside my door. The nurse entered with a cup full of medication. I gulped them down then opened wide.  He checked my mouth to be sure it was empty.

 “How you feeling, Maggie?” He asked.
“Just fine,” I lied. How did I tell him what really happened in the darkness of my mind.

He turned away, made a mark on a chart I heard the lock click and lights went out. That squeaking wheel continued its retreat.

I waited for my eyes to focus to the light of a full moon listening to the shuffle of ghostly feet. Sharp and jagged teeth sank again and again.

When morning came to my blood splattered room.

“Prey to a full moon.” He said and covered my head.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 10:49:08 AM by Margarett »
Dance in the raindrops. Slide down a rainbow. Make our world a more beautiful place. Keep a smile handy and give them away.
After all they are free!  " SMILE "

hillwalker3000

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 11:28:54 AM »
I can't say I felt much of a punch in your original piece - but anyway, full marks for trimming this to the bone.

Being Mr. Picky of course there's more you can cut out.
'the realm of my vision' - what's that supposed to mean?
and the episode with the nurse dishing out medication seemed pointless. We need to know more about Maggie's visions and what haunts her troubled mind - not the daily routines of the ward.

I'm not sure the ending is as effective as it should be either - possibly because you were running out of available words by this point (which is why the dialogue needs to go).

I waited for my eyes to focus to on the light of a full moon ;my ears [- otherwise it's as if the moon is listening -] listening to the shuffle of ghostly feet.

Then what follows is so fragmented it makes no sense.
Sharp and jagged teeth sank again and again. - sank into what? and how do we know? can she hear them? see them? feel them?

When morning came to my blood-splattered room.... what? don't keep us guessing - you're meant to tell us what happened. The sentence as it stands is incomplete.

And “Prey to a full moon.” He said and covered my head. is probably one of the most bizarre pair of closing sentences I've ever read. Does it belong to the same story? What does the line of dialogue mean? Who is 'he' and why does he cover her head?

I think if you get rid of the ballast half way through the story you'll be able to tie up the loose ends more neatly and have a better closing scene. Though if it's just going to be a story about someone who becomes unhinged every full moon then it doesn't really have anywhere to go next. We're left wondering - 'so what?'

H3K

Offline Margarett

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 02:33:43 PM »
Prey to a Full Moon
By: Margarett


It was on a dark and stormy night, hidden was the moon’s bright light.

“How you feeling, Maggie?” the nurse asked.

“Just fine,” I lied. How did I tell them what really happened in the dark rooms of my mind.

He turned away, made a mark on a chart. The lights went out. He and the carts squeaking wheel continued to retreat. I lay watching ghostly shadows dance over my walls. And, once again I heard the shuffle of tiny feet. 

I prayed for this pain to end as sharp and jagged teeth sank into my body again and again.

Near morning and in the light of a full moon a nurse came into a blood soaked room. She found a smiling that was me.
Dance in the raindrops. Slide down a rainbow. Make our world a more beautiful place. Keep a smile handy and give them away.
After all they are free!  " SMILE "

Offline Dawn

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Re: A 250 word Short Story
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 04:52:53 PM »
Try and drop the was.
Time to take it serious and get the job done