Writing for Prompts…

A Little HelpWhen creating some of the fiction stories I write for prompts and online contests (I’m not sure contests is the appropriate word) like Yeah Write and Grammar Gargoyle, I have this imposed word limit that I have to keep. 42, 66, 500 plus or minus a hundred, 750.. these are the word limits that I am constrained by.

The funny thing is.. there are times I get done writing for the prompt and I edited the story down to the required limit, that I feel like there is so much more to tell. One of my micro-fiction stories is really nothing more then a set up to something much greater. A flash fiction work that I posted yesterday felt crammed and crushed. Something inside of me tells me I should go back and flesh those stories out, expand upon them, give them the attention and freedom to grow that they deserve.

BUT…(come on, you knew there would be a but)

I struggle to pick the story up again because I am done with it. I wrestle with this inner thought that I have already put that story to bed, so what’s the point in picking it back up. The other side says to me, “Because you are not done. There is so much more to tell. In such a better way.” Some of the comments that my readers leave also encourage me to pick it up again and finish it.

So, I’m left with this gnawing. Feeling it’s incomplete but at the same time.. complete.

I’m curious if any of my writer friends ever have this issue. What do you do about it? How do you get back into the groove and finish what is already finished?

It also begs the question as to whether writing for prompts is a bad thing.. at least, it has for me.

So.. feel free to leave me your comments, I could use a little bit of direction and help with this one.


Is this thing still on?


11 thoughts on “Writing for Prompts…

  1. As you know I write a bit for the daily prompt almost every day. I use the prompt to spark an idea. I often go off from the original topic, but it’s a prompt not a solemn vow. Of course in my case no money or prizes are involved. So I let the creative juices flow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a similar problem but not the same. So after submitting to yeah write I got a lot of criticism about the scanning of my poetry from Rowan. I wanted my poems to scan correctly but sometimes after they did, I felt like the heart was being sucked out of the poem do I decided to do a bit of both, which is to say, get the rhythm better, but not to the point where it sacrifices the poem. Because of this decision, it is hopeless for me to enter yeah write anymore because I know it’s not up to Rowan’s standards and it won’t make the grid.

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  3. I actually find that the less I write the more vivid and concise the prose is. I don’t have as much as a problem picking it up again to flesh it out because i assume even published works can be expanded on or edited.

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  4. What do you do with the original story? The one you edited down from?
    Yes, the ‘flash fiction’ is done, but not the original right?

    I’d take a re-look at the original and as you read it, note down (on a separate piece of paper/document if you need to) the ideas/thoughts/unfinished threads that jump out at you.
    Show it to your wife and ask her comment on ideas/thoughts/unfinished threads that jump out at her.

    Then use this as the start of your brainstorming session with yourself. See how you go from there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing for prompts is nothing more than practice
    Stories are just stories
    I can pick up the thread again if I want, or not
    Doesn’t have to be today – or even next week
    I like receiving encouragement to do so though – it means I got someone’s attention
    I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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