Do This Now

There I was, having a browse over Laura Anderson's cyber-gaff, as you do, when I saw she'd entered a competition. Waterstone's What's Your Story? competition to be precise. I hadn't heard of it.

It's challenging people to offer very short stories indeed, limited to 600 characters (that's right - not words, but characters.) Intriguingly, you not only create the words, but can style them onto a cyber-postcard using a basic-but-fun online software suite. The stories then appear online in a gallery, and will be judged.

When I submitted my postcard, featuring a story I'm calling Marbles, there had already been 3754 entries. So the odds are quite poor. But this is one comp where it really isn't about the winning. This was a fantastic exercise.

My first draft of Marbles clocked in at almost three times the number of characters it needed to be. 339 words, 1742 characters. It was then a real challenge to condense it down, without losing the story or the clarity. Whether or not I succeeded is hard to say, but it was great fun and instructive. Marbles finally clocked in at 102 words, 590 characters.

The deadline's tomorrow. Good luck to Laura, and anyone else who's entering.

10 comments:

Laura Anderson said...

Yay!

I put mine on last night and it has yet to appear on the site. Hope it's going on, at least. I forgot to tag it though.

Jason Arnopp said...

Excellent, madam! We rule.

Guess they have to pre-approve all the entries for safety's sake. You know, to make sure they're not just the word "Kill" 100 times...

Laura Anderson said...

You think typing the word "Kill" 120 times is a BAD idea, then? Dang.

William Gallagher said...

Excellent, I really enjoyed doing one.

Thanks: I'd no idea it was on.

William

Jaded and Cynical said...

5000 aspiring writers chasing some book vouchers and a moment's validation.

Business as usual, then.

Jason Arnopp said...

Jaded: what have you written lately, and why? Share a little of your no doubt wonderful life with us, why don'tcha?

John Soanes said...

My non-virtual postcard specified a 500 word limit, not a limit on characters... maybe it's different for the online cards?
I certainly hope so, or I wasted my evening. Oop.
J

Jason Arnopp said...

Lord Soanes: that's one curious thing about the competition, isn't it? The online cards do indeed impose a strict 600 character limit. Whereas if you physically write your own card, scan it in and upload it, you're restricted only by what you can fit onto the card.

John Soanes said...

Tis odd indeed. I guess it's something to do with limits on bandwidth or something... but I am reassured that my evening won't have been utterly wasted - m'lady would probably have snarled if I'd wasted the whole evening with glue and scissors and the like to no profit whatsoever...
J

Oli said...

Hmmmm. Wrote mine up, then discovered the 600 characters included spaces. Printed it out, scrawled it on, scanned it. It's there.