For many months, if not a good year or so, there is an author whose blog I have followed above all others. Although, to be fair, I only ever followed 5 (max), at the height of my speculative blogging days. It was my only real connection to the premise of polishing up my skills through ongoing learning from those more knowledgeable than myself, because it was wisdom I could easily absorb as I worked on my own designs.
I can’t remember how I discovered the work of Dan Alatorre, but since then, I have enjoyed both the common and uncommon sense inherent in his advice and discussions, and speculated many a time about basing my first foray into flash fiction on one of his challenges. It only seemed right. More so than one of those 100- to 200-word picture prompt affairs. As you will know, however, from reading my sparse offerings to date, the timing never seemed to be right.
And what you will likely have realised as well, through the power of hindsight, at one point or another in your life, is that this is a coward’s excuse, which only an act of courage can overcome.
So that ruled out the 100- to 200-word category altogether, as well as anything with a semblance of normality, thus leaving perhaps the most surreal candidate as the clearest debut.
Nope. I’m under strict orders to keep it as Truly Gritty as possible, albeit within the realms of my own imagination and writing direction. Which means I’m coming at it sideways, like the great train robberies of old. Because the only way you survive on the frontier is by staying one step ahead of all the things naturally inclined to pick you off. Like roving bandits. Wolves. Cholera. Stray bullets. Cats, perhaps. Big ones. And the debilitating fear of whether or not you can actually write something half decent.
That’s a killer.
So Challenge Accepted.
With a twist, which popped into my mind at about the second or third look over the conditions, like a lime dropped in tonic and left to fizz. Well, that’s an oversimplification. Actually, there are a few. See if you can spot them.