Writing for Liberty

Black Cat © Ann M. LynnFrom Liberty Hall Writers [link corrected], I’m re-learning how constraints can lead to greater freedom.

Liberty Hall Writers (LH) is an online community mostly consisting of speculative fiction writers.* Registration and navigation of LH is difficult, at best, and it isn’t friendly with the Windows Internet Explorer browser. That said, it’s a productive sort of place full of interesting and talented people.

Last week, I joined the community to compete against some of those people (and myself) in the weekly Flash Challenge. The challenge is to write and submit a story in less than 90 minutes based on a prompt. When submissions close, the competitors and other members critique the stories and vote for their favorites.

It’s amazing what people can do in a 90 minute time constraint. Really amazing. I’m amazed at what I can do in that amount of time.

Not only did I complete a draft of a story that hadn’t existed as so much as a concept before the timer started, but I realized a few things about myself.

I realized I write Literary fiction when I’m pressed for development time. I stay more in the moment when there’s no opportunity to slip away. Also, I’m better at writing setting description than I’d previously thought.

Not that my story had a chance to win Best Setting Development in the challenge. That honor went to a half-completed story that introduced readers to a believable future world–more difficult to construct than a familiar setting in the current, real world.

However, my story did win in one of the categories: Best Characterization. It also came close to tying with the winner of Best Hook.

I’m proud of what LH has helped me accomplish so far. Now let’s see if I can write a better story this week.

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*I learned from a post by  C.L. Holland that a community similar to LH, but more focused on Literary fiction, is ShowMeYourLits. Note that you may need extra courage or self-confidence to join LH’s sister, as she’s as a little more bawdy.