The Practice of Creativity

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This 248 word story appeared last year in Thing Magazine. Last year was a breakthrough one in that I felt much more ease writing flash pieces. Writing them was a great comfort when I needed a break from longer projects. I’ve always been fascinated by the character of Lady Luck. We can trace her origins back to Roman times and the concern over the idea of human fate. I borrowed some of this history and played with it. I love this little vignette and hope I get to return to find out how Lady Luck and her cousin fare.

 

What The Slots Hold

Lady Luck came to claim her own in Atlantic City. She stalked past the drunk, slack-mouthed men at the blackjack tables. A cocktail waitress holding a platter of drinks looked up, screamed and ran. Casino alarms blared and men that from her twenty-five foot height looked like children, ran toward her from every corner. They yelled and fired their guns at her. Annoyed, she plucked coins from her dress, dropped them and watched as the golden disks smashed the men’s heads.

With a magical ax given to her by Ares, she hacked at the row of the garish Greek Gods slot machines. As she worked, she remembered the handsome face of the mortal she had met so long ago. A secret visit from Olympus to see the earthly realm had tempted her. She, a daughter of Aphrodite, a natural lover, fell so easily for his charms. He said he would build palaces where men would whisper her name. She might never have known that her magic was stolen, corrupted, used to kidnap others, until she overheard a joke about casinos by Zeus. She would show both gods and humans what happens when Lady Luck is angry. The last blow split a slot machine in two. In a burst of orange light, her cousin, Fortuna appeared. They hugged. She threw more coins from her dress and watched as they sprouted legs, arms and hands holding daggers and chased the remaining humans.

Taking Fortuna’s hand, Lady Luck said, “Vegas next.”

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A week ago, I sold my first microfiction story called, ‘What the Slots Hold’ about Lady Luck. It’s 300 words.

ladyluck

Most of my fiction tends to veer long. It was thrilling, a few years ago, when I started writing longish short stories (i.e. 7,000 words), as before that all my work was 10,000 words or more. It’s much harder to find paying markets for short stories over 7,000 words and novellas. The sweet spot for many publications is between 3,500-5,000 words.

Earlier this year, I discovered Jake Bible’s Writing in Suburbia podcast which I highly recommend. Writing in Suburbia is geared toward pro-writers, but is chock-full of great information for writers at all levels. I say a bit more about the podcast here and also review one of Bible’s novels.

One of the features that he hosts on his website is ‘Friday Night Drabble Party’. Drabble was a new term to me. A drabble is a 100 word story. He writes a new one just about every Friday. I enjoy reading his drabbles and that got me interested in microfiction.

I didn’t believe that I could write a drabble, or rather a good drabble. But, I decided that such a belief was really limiting. What was it based on anyway? I had never even tried to write a compressed story. So this spring, I challenged myself to write several drabbles a week for fun. I read a lot of micro and flash fiction and got very inspired. I got into a rhythm with writing drabbles and thought some of them were good enough to submit. I submitted several and then recently wrote “What the Slots Hold”.

It’s being published by the editor Matthew Wayne Selznick, creator of Thing Magazine. This literary magazine pays writers and publishes microfiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. The magazine is delivered via email. So, I’d love it if you’d consider subscribing soon for the upcoming issue released on Tuesday (the issue that my story will appear in), and also support this new little magazine. It’s free to sign up (and you can always cancel, if you don’t like it)!

What’s in it for you? One: You’ll discover some writers whose work you may love. Two: It’s a paying market, and if you’re a writer, you’ll get a feel for what Matthew is looking for. Three: Reading this issue may inspire you to take a look at some of the longer pieces you’ve written and see if there is a microfiction (or nonfiction) nugget that is just waiting to be discovered, polished and submitted to Thing or other markets. There are numerous markets that are looking to purchase flash and microfiction.

signup here: Thing Magazine

I’m grateful that I got introduced to drabbles through Jake Bible’s podcast and website. I never thought I could write microfiction, but I worked on that self-limiting belief and here we are! I hope you are busting through some of your self-limiting writing beliefs, too. Because really, what are they based on anyway? Fear, lack of experience, habit? Breaking through a self-limiting belief tends to reward us with more confidence and possibility.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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