I've always had an issue with self-confidence. I'm not going to go into a sobstory about how it started because to be frank I have no bloody clue, but it's relevant here for one reason -- I'm thinking of entering another competition. And it's a competition that scares me silly.
I belong to a local (i.e. a New Zealand-based) speculative writer's group called SpecFicNZ, and I tend to feel like a fraud when I have anything to do with it. After all, it has plenty of members who, like, actually publish things. Whereas I just fluff around with my characters, never get anything done, and generally make my carbon footprint on the world the size of a yeti's while making no relevant contribution to anything. So, I have an issue right there; I'm generally scared to death of speaking to anyone who has anything to do with the group because I suffer from what they poetically name "Imposter Syndrome." I'm just waiting for the polite email that says "You're not a writer. Go away and play with your broken little toys elsewhere."
The next issue comes from the fact that the competition in question was announced yesterday and...it's a Twitter contest. Or at least, it's themed that way, in that said stories are romantic speculative ditties written with 140 characters or less. I'm the kind of moron who struggles to meet word limits when it comes to short stories of six thousand words. So...uh. Yeah. This ain't gonna work.
And yet I am trying. At first I took one look at it and said OH GOD THIS IS DREAMING YOU CAN'T DO THIS. And yet, the last couple of days I've been reading various tumblrs that take from Texts From Last Night. In particular there are three that amused me greatly; they take from the movie Alexander, the anime Shoujo Kakumei Utena and the television series Doctor Who and by combining a screencap with a text quote from the original website we get gems like these (click the link for the full tumblr experience):
I feel terrible because I can't remember who remixed it. But all of these taught me something -- you can tell a story in very, very few words. It's not a skill I've ever mastered; the most success I've had recently was with The Journey of the Magi (almost four thousand words exactly) and Tea For Two (just under six thousand); both are pushing the limit of their associated publication/competition rules, but they got did what they were supposed to. So go figure; this means I've actually logged onto my Twitter account for the first time in years and am using it to compose little one-forty character stories and seeing how it goes. We can only enter the competition once, so I have to come up with something before Valentine's Day. Hilariously, writing a one-forty character drabble will likely take me ten times as long as it would to write fourteen hundred actual words of a novel or a short story.
I am fascinated by the act of it, though. And while I know those above illustrations work partly because of their illustrations, the fact that you can take the text away and put it somewhere else says a lot for the strength of the story inherent in the words themselves. I'm supposed to be a wordsmith, hack though I inevitably truly am. So, I shall hack away on the Twitter and see where it takes me.