Picture book author Vivian Kirkfield provided writers with a daunting challenge this month: write an entire story in 50 words or less.
Wait… 50 words!? For an entire story? Is it possible? Well, you be the judge. Here is my entry:
The Fifty Yard Line
“Wow, what seats!” cried Billy. “Right in the center of the action!” The football sailed.
Suddenly, a shadow passed overhead. Glinting metal spikes descended on Billy.
Billy slithered underground, the cleat narrowly missing him.
Billy the worm poked his head back up and grinned. “The center of the action!”
I composed this little nugget at a long, boring seminar that I attended last month (non-writing, of course). The venue ran out of chairs, if you can believe it, so I was forced to spend two hours sitting cross-legged on the floor, at knee level with my colleagues.
What is a girl to do in that situation but compose her next contest entry?
As it turns out, being relegated to the floor provided a unique bit of inspiration. I realized that, at that height, I was at kid level. (To be fair, I barely top 5’ so I’m never too far from kid level.) What a great perspective from which to write a kids’ story! Then, since the contest is all about going small, I decided to take my POV even lower.
An animal? A pet? How about a worm!
But I still needed an adventure for my worm. With only 50 words to play with, I didn’t have time for build up – I needed to put my worm in the “center of the action” without delay. I considered dropping him in the middle of a busy street or a big city or a running of the bulls. Then it struck me. The 50 yard line at a football game!
By the time I left that seminar, I had a first draft of my entry, proving yet again that inspiration strikes where you least expect it. Even on the floor of a long, boring seminar.