Good News

Some of you have told me that it’s occasionally challenging to find my daily FOWC One-Word Challenge prompts. So, based upon a few suggestions some of you have offered me, I have created a separate page where all of my One-Word Challenge prompts (and my personal responses to those prompts) can be found.

If you’re using a laptop or personal computer, you’ll see a new tab across the top of the page that says “One-Word Challenge,” as shown below. Click on that tab link to see all of the FOWC daily prompts.

FOWC Link PC

If you’re using an iPhone or other smartphone, you should see a menu bar link with three short, horizontal lines on the home page in the upper left. If you click on those bars, it will open up the menu, where you’ll see the “One-Word Challenge” link, as shown below.

FOWC Link iphone

I hope this helps anyone who has been having trouble finding my daily one-word prompts.

Thanks to all of you who have been participating to date. I love reading your responses to these prompts.

Who’s Counting?

1B4C7C56-6B0F-49A1-A5E3-9FDC2F3723F8I respond to a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word count limitations. So when I heard about a new word processing/text editing app available for free at the App Store on my iPhone, I downloaded it. The app’s name is “Eddie.”

According to Eddie, “You will always know how many words and characters you have written with Eddie’s Live Counter, which updates as you type.”

I figured I could use Eddie to help me track my word count for prompts where word count matters. I’d use Eddie on my iPhone to compose the post and then cut and paste it into the WordPress app.

I decided to try Eddie out with a 100-word prompt. Using Eddie to compose my post, I diligently edited my draft to get it to be precisely 100 words. At least that was what Eddie told me the word count was. Imagine my surprise when, after copying my Eddie-certified 100-word block of text into the WordPress text editor, it showed 123 words.

What? My reputation as a flash fiction blogger would be destroyed if I were to be caught trying to pass off a 123-word story for a 100-word challenge. I ended up practically rewriting the whole damn post to get it down to 100 words. According to WordPress, anyway.

So I decided to run a test using the following paragraph.

I wrote this paragraph as a test. I participate in a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word limits. Some require a post to be 100 or fewer words. Others permit up to 175 or 200. Some are micro fiction prompts that allow even fewer words. And one prompt I participate in allows only up to 280 total characters, like Twitter.

The WordPress editor pegged the above paragraph as having 57 words. Microsoft Word tallied 62 words. Same with Pages, an Apple writing app I have on my iPhone — 62 words. But according Eddie, that paragraph had only 45 words!

So what is it really? 45 words? 62 words? 57 words? When I’m participating in a word-limited prompt, should I be conservative and go by the highest count from Microsoft and Apple, the WordPress editor count, or the Eddie count, which shows the lowest word count?

I suppose, since my blog is on WordPress, I should use that app’s word count. Yes?

For what it’s worth, WordPress says this post has 410 words. According to Apple’s Pages app, it has 435 words. Microsoft Word comes in at 429 words. And Eddie tells me this post has 230 words.

But who’s counting?

Flash Fiction

 

Hemingway

Flash fiction seems to quite fashionable in the blogosphere these days. Much more so than when I first started blogging a dozen years ago and more than when I quit my last blog around two years ago.

At least half of my posts since I returned to blogging this past May are flash fiction, and many of those pieces are in response to other bloggers’ prompts.

But what exactly is “flash fiction”? Its definition seems kind of fluid. It’s obviously fiction, we can all agree on that. But I’ve seen it characterized as stories ranging from “extremely brief” to up to 2,000 words. The idea is to tell an entire story — beginning, middle, and end — within the specified word limit.

Many of the flash fiction prompts I participate in set word limits, usually between 100 to 200, although some I’ve seen set even lower limits while others set no limits. Some set limits based upon the number of sentences or paragraphs rather than words.

I am challenged by flash fiction with word limits because I’ve never been a very concise writer. Left to my own devices, I tend to write longer posts. In fact, I wrote an entire post back in July about how brevity in writing is not my strong suit. That post was almost 500 words long!

But that’s why I participate in these flash fiction prompts. They force me to tell my story in fewer words than I would otherwise use. They require me to be brief, concise, selective in my choice of words.

Besides, who has time to read a 500-plus word blog post in these days?


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “fashionable.”