The challenge: Write a short story/flash fiction in 200 words or less. Begin with "The door swung open ...." An optional challenge added using the words "the door swung shut" at the end. I think most people did this. An extra challenge — make it 200 words exactly.
The entries closed on Sept. 9, but the Linky List remains for all to see those who participated. When I wrote this post, there were 379 entries.
One night this week, I judged a few entries for the first round of the challenge. I panicked on the first three entries. The word count was too high, but the writers specifically noted their story contained 200 words. The Word Count Tool was offered as an easy way to verify the number, but I couldn't use it. Every entry was over the word count using this counter, so I relied on Word.
This made me wonder if my recent entry into the Esquire and Aspen Writers' Foundation Short Short Fiction Contest was really 78 words.
Instead of losing sleep over something I could not change, I wrote a story. Then, I changed the story and wrote a second one a few days later.
The moral: I can change (revise) my story, but I can't change the word counting tools available through word processing software or an Internet based tool.
Here's my story. It's 200 words or at least that's what Word is telling me.
And, I believe my meter is off or at least that's what my ear is telling me.
The door swung open
With a blast of cold air.
The rain followed to dampen
Baby’s rocking chair.
Mom tried to clean it up,
But couldn’t see without her glasses
As they were eaten by the new Pup,
Who will soon be in training classes.
Pup ran down the hall
Until he tumbled into Dad’s feet.
He turned to catch a ball,
And dropped it for a treat.
“No snacks for you,” Mom said.
She grabbed a towel
And snapped it at Pup’s head,
Which caused him to howl.
The treat was for Baby,
Who crawled into Mom’s lap
Where he sat and said “Maybe.”
Which made Mom clap.
Dad looked in disbelief
As Baby said his first word.
Mom yelled “Good grief!”
As Pup tried to catch the Bird.
“Can’t get me,” Bird shrieked.
Pup hit the metal with a paw.
The cage fell and Mom freaked.
Bird clutched to Dad’s head with a claw.
Dad yelped in pain.
Baby crawled to a chair.
Mom chased Pup in vain.
Bird flew up in the air.
Mom asked for a truce.
Dad called Pup a mutt.
Baby waved at Bird on the loose.
Pup escaped as the door swung shut.