Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

My Flasher Experience
The good life, perhaps…

At one of my writers' groups meetings, a couple fellows were complaining about an article on flash fiction in the association newsletter. They felt that the piece had defined flash fiction as flash fiction – so get started writing it. It's the latest craze for all those readers with short attention spans.

Being familiar with the travesty already, I hadn't found anything too annoying with the article. (come on – it's an association newsletter – did they expect Lehrer?) Flash fiction is simply another form of the short story (or freestyle poetry in some editors' minds) that limits the word count of the piece to something ridiculous. I've seen editors call for "stories" to be anywhere from 250 to 1,000 words. The vast majority request the piece be 500 words long. The subject ranges to anything you can imagine depending on the magazine calling for entries. It can be personal and memoir-like, which I've seen requested by Byline Magazine, or speculative, (fantasy) or anything in between. The trick is to walk that fine line between telling a story with a "pop" for an ending or merely setting a scene when you have only 250 words with which to work. Imagine my reaction to such a limitation when you consider Choices Meant for Gods once sat at 250,000.

Dangit, Jim, I'm a novelist, not a flasher. But here's my try (237 words, including title):

The Good Life at Last
By Sandy Lender
Carla smiled sardonically at the drivers license in her hand, believing she'd just pulled off the perfect crime, believing the Beverly Hills driveway before her held the promise of her new, fantastic lifestyle. How did the announcer say it? "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the lifestyles of the rich and famous." Well, she had it now. She had it all. She gazed up at the $15 million home before her through diamond-studded sunglass frames, breathing in the California air of freedom and fantasy. Carla Salvadores had died to an old, hard life and had been born again as a rich bitch. Who cared how Evana Troose came into it all; it was now all Carla's. And she was lost in the imagery of diving into the pool out back when she heard a man's voice.

"Excuse me, Ma'am? Are you Ms. Evana Troose?"

She turned with her pearly whites sparkling in the afternoon sun...and frowned at the police officer.

"Oh. Why, yes, Officer."

There was no way he could tell she wasn't Evana. The crime had been calculated down to the last detail. She belonged in this house, in this body, in this soul.

Her smile returned. "What can I do for you?"

"Ms. Troose, you're under arrest for fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement of company funds. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney..."

the end!
What can you guys post back for me? 25o words may not seem like much, but you can pack some punch in there. Share!

"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

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