Some writing competitions ask for flash fiction submission, or excerpts under a certain word count. Flash fiction is great for this because it’s an entire contained work that can showcase your creativity.
I submitted the flash fiction below for entry to a creative writing course and it was selected among twelve others. Of course, I don’t know how many submissions there were. But, what I have learned is that, at least in a field of new writers, knowing the basics of storytelling and structure goes a long way.
Kimberly lives in a small town in South Carolina. On the day of her high school graduation, her car sits idling in the parking lot.
“When I get out of this town, I’ll be happy,” She says. She kisses her mother goodbye and heads west to UC San Diego. She dreams of mountains, beaches, beauty, and glamour. For the summer, she finds a job at In and Out burger. To make her rent, she gets a second job cleaning houses.
“When I finish my degree and get a real job, I’ll be happy.”
Kimberly works very hard, paying her way through college. She eventually graduates from the University of San Diego School of Law. She interviews at boutique law firms and for in-house counsel positions.
“When I get into a law firm, I’ll be happy,” she thinks.
Kimberly lands a job at Hoffman & Forde. She specializes in commercial real estate law and buys her first house in Pacific Beach with a peek-a-boo view of the ocean. But she doesn’t like living alone and is bored with her single life.
“When I get married and have kids, I’ll be happy.”
Kimberly chases this guy at her office, and they have lovely dates surfing and sunbathing. Their wedding is well attended by many friends. Her family flies out from the East coast. Many envy her California life. Kimberly and her husband have a baby, and eventually, the little house in Pacific Beach is too small for them.
“When I get this four-bedroom house in the right school district, I’ll be happy.”
And Kimberly and her husband place offers on many houses and take on a mortgage for a beautiful ranch-style home in La Jolla. Kimberly works 65 hour weeks and hires a nanny, and orders pre-made meals for dinners.
“When I catch the wind, I’ll be happy,” she thinks.
And one day, Kimberly goes out to the beach and catches the wind, and puts it in a jar. She stops running and feels very confused.
“I got the degree. I got the job. I got the promotion. I got the lifestyle. I even caught the wind. But I am not happy. I think I don’t know how to be happy.”