Six-and-a-Half Reasons to Participate in a Visual DARE
The Origin: I came up with the Visual Dare quite by accident during last year’s NaNoWriMo. I had just started my blog about six weeks before, and knew that I wasn’t going to keep up with my usual daily updates while sprinting through 1700 words (minimum!) on my manuscript each day. So one day I posted a favorite black-and-white photograph, and challenged my readers to incorporate that image into their own NaNo project. It was a cheater’s way of doing a blog post, but it birthed a weekly flash fiction endeavor that has gained its own following.
The Premise: The Visual Dare is very simple. I post a photo, and the flash fictioneers write a 100-word-or-LESS story based on that prompt.
Time Frame for Entries: The Visual Dare goes live every Tuesday at midnight (Eastern Standard Time) and stays “active” till the following Tuesday at midnight. Writers can post their entry any time during those seven days.
Why participate? The Visual Dare helps writers on several levels:
1) It forces you to say a lot in a few words. 100 words isn’t a lot, so to make the Visual Dare work, it needs careful attention to word choice, sentence length, and “cutting out the fluff.”
2) Low-Risk Writing. A lot of beginners in the writing/blogging world are a bit gun-shy when it comes to other people reading their compositions. A 100 word dare is a great way to help you get over your “stage fright.”
3) Feedback. When you link in your post from your blog, other participants and blog readers can click through to your entry and read what you have to say. They leave comments: solid, helpful comments that help you become a better writer.
4) It can help rejuvenate your current project. Sometimes just breaking away and writing something unrelated to our projects gives us the breakthrough we need. Flash Fiction can pull it out of the mud, by working on a scene from another point of view, or exploring a corner of your world that wasn’t originally in the outline.
5) It can give birth to a new project. Out of writing ideas? Flash Fiction may be the answer for you. One of my projects, currently titled “Welsan’s Story”, was begun as part of a flash fiction entry for another blog. Sometimes when we’re pushed to just sit down and write – about anything – amazing things fall out.
6) It takes hardly any time. No huge commitments here – just put down your 100 words, tweak it a smidge, and post!
Reason #6.5: No blog of your own? NO PROBLEM. That’s why you have Sweet Banana Ink – they will gladly let you post your flash fiction here, and link through to the Visual Dare page!
This week’s challenge, “Parked Outside”, is up for another six days.
Then there will be another prompt.
What are you waiting for???
Angela Goff is an artist, writer and one of those hyper history teachers that gets excited about her lecture and starts throwing things (on accident, of course). You can join in the Visual Dare experience or read her flash fiction and thoughts on writing on her blog or follow her on twitter.