Today I read about the 2016 Etisalat Flash Fiction Award when I was reading the Punch newspaper. The guidelines for the competition clearly state that the competition is open to all Africans resident anywhere in the world and that the number of words for each entry should not be more than 300 words.
This lead me to wonder. What does 300 words look like? I think it would be hard to create a story with this limit. The authors would have to zoom in on the core of their story with little room for embellishment. This poses a challenge on what to add or eliminate from the story without ruining its structure.
I have learned from life that it is constraints that inspire our creativity. It was our limitations as human beings that forced us to use the leverage of our minds to conquer the world around. It was the constraint of gravity that made us develop machines that could make us fly. In the absence of resources, we develop resourcefulness and make do with what we have around us.
This will be the challenge that those who enter for the competition will have to face. A part of me wonder if I should enter for this competition. I have never written a novel before although I have finished the draft of my first book which was on technology.
Regardless of whether I send in an entry or not, I have friends that I acknowledge are talented writers. I will be reaching out to them and I hope the grab this opportunity with both hands.
If I decide to enter this competition, it would be an opportunity to learn how to write flash fiction. I would have to train myself to do this.
This is what 300 words look like when shown in print.
How can birds sing, if taken from the meadow?
Cloistered away in silent fear
envious of the boundless skies
Even her wings are held earthbound
defenceless is she, and silent as the grave.
What sun may rise for she who walks in shadow,
the blackness that makes her disappear
hidden away from prying eyes
Too fearful to make the smallest sound
accepting of pain, and living as a slave.
It isn’t mine. I found it on the web and had to save me for myself for a rainy day. You can find the original here.