The Iron Writer began in the winter of 2013. It started when I was invited by a fellow indie author, Victoria Dougherty, to participate in a blog tour. I agreed to help her. I was expecting the ubiquitous Proust Questionnaire but was surprised and somewhat bewildered when asked to write flash fiction story. But I had committed before knowing precisely what she wanted and so I felt compelled to write the story.
What was intriguing was what happened. I was unable to fall asleep that night, worrying how to write the story. The next day, I did some quick research on one of the elements (a 1959 Zil III, which is a Russian armored vehicle used to ferry Politburo leaders around). Once I had that piece of information, I was surprised to what happened next. For whatever reason, my creativity woke up from its long slumber and has not gone back to bed since. I wrote the story, from start to finish (including editing) in under six hours. I emailed the story off then took a few minutes to just sit back and experience the experience. It was euphoric.
Just what had happened? Several years before, I had written the first draft of my novel in less than ten days. The experience was precisely the same. When I wrote that tome, I never suspected I could ever write a short story, let alone a flash fiction piece. Yet, just a few months afterwards, I wrote my first short. Now I was waiting flash fiction, with prompts and on a deadline. And I loved it!
I discovered that writing flash fiction, short, quick stories, using elements that have no recognizable connection is oddly addictive. What is curious since that moment, is the other writing projects I am working on. I am finding the scenes easier to complete. The story flows for me. I do not struggle to complete the scene, albeit the endings still confound me from time to time. Still, I don’t worry about ending a scene. It comes soon enough.
After I had written that first flash fiction piece, I was regaling a friend about it. He mentioned that it reminded him of those food shows on cable television, where you have to use certain foods and create a dinner or a desert on a deadline. That is when it occurred to me that such a contest for writers would be perfect. That night I created the website and launched it on Facebook and Twitter. Within a few days, I had enough writers to sustain it and I have been wrestling the beast every week since then. I worry about it, I obsess over it; it does not leave my mind.
Ever since that day last February, The Iron Writer has grown steadily. There have been a few struggles to be sure but the dream has only gotten bigger. New authors ask to join regularly. Some of the authors use the weekly challenges as writing exercise, just to keep the imagination awake.
Besides the weekly challenges, there is a tournament that runs four times a year now, culminating in an annual winner. The Autumn Equinox Open begins September 26.
Additionally, The Iron Writer Apprentice, a writing challenge using similar guidelines but the participants are limited to 14 to 18 years of age has started.
If you enjoy reading flash fiction, please take a few minutes and come on by. It’s quirky and fun. If you are a writer, give it try. You might find it beneficial.
About B.Y. Rogers
B Y Rogers is the author of The Sin of Certainty and a growing list of short stories, as well as the creator of The Iron Writer Challenge. At the moment, he lives in Utah with his wife of thirty-eight years, their five children and ten grandchildren. His stories are listed with Amazon and Smashwords.Amazon * Smashwords
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