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cob
March 27th, 2014, 10:24 PM
On the Paradigm Shift Publishing Company facebook and twitter page, I posted a challenge to write a flash fiction under 500 words involving one character in the zombie apocalypse. Here's mine. Where's yours?
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Jin-Su wiped the icy sweat from his brow, using the gesture to recall his meteor hammer. The carbon fiber cable retracted into the two pound iron ball. A spool in the center of the dense iron shell spiraled, pulling it towards his open hand. He scanned for a new target as he caught it, immediately releasing the hammer to the left with a quick lift of his arm. “only five. This will be easy.”
The ball cracked sharply into the walker's jaw. The necrotic once-human's spine twisted a full 180° and continued forward. As Jin-Su recalled the hammer on his left, the right-handed bludgeon swung straight behind, smashing through a walker's degraded jaw. The weapon continued through the walker's hard pallet; it's rotted brain matter exploded in all directions, including Jin-Su's. The sour pungence brought blurry tears to his eyes. He gagged as the smell-and quite possibly taste- flooded the air he breathed.
“Only four more.” He pulled the right hammer back to his hand then took a deep breath. He turned to face two of the remaining dead. Their empty groans tore Jin-Su's stomach to pieces but he had no time to care. He unleashed a ferocious growl that burned as fire throughout his body. The two hammers were lunged forward and Jin-Su spun on firm feet. The simultaneous crunch of their skulls fueled a second surge of adrenaline. Another monstrous war cry accompanied his body as he acted.
Jin-Su turned around and gave the cables tied in a Celtic knot around his palm a long draw, as if they were a single sword. The two iron balls came over Jin-Su in a proportional arc, completely Caving the skulls of the last two walkers.
He recalled the meteor hammers, catching them one by one with a quick spin to relieve the significant impact. His arms dropped like stones and he let out a hard sigh. A glance across the tussled kitchen revealed only a can labeled "Pedigree."
Jin-Su threw his head back, hammers clench to his hips, and gave a coarse laugh. "All that for cat food. I hate Murphy's law."

Alt ending: "Oh my god!" A young girl cried. "Somebody please! call the police!," Several cars arrived within minutes and Jin-Su is currently serving the second of twelve consecutive life sentences.

alt ending: "Five bucks! Pay up sucker!" Jin-Su's pride suited him well.
"Yeah yeah yeah" Henry took out his wallet and handed the bill to his comrade.
The two stared at Abraham Lincoln for a moment. Jin-Su sighed. "Man. Who could have predicted money would be one of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse?"

thepancreas11
March 29th, 2014, 07:27 PM
I like to read stories written by people who are passionate about their subject matter. Nothing is more enjoyable that watching someone love their writing as they write. Your enthusiasm, construed in the verbs, the pace, and the fact that you have TWO alternate endings is really refreshing in a land of writers becoming more and more frustrated with their continued setbacks.

That being said, it's raw, just like the enthusiasm. This was good practice for something larger, but it doesn't really have a point to it. So he killed some zombies? I like the quote at the end, but I feel as thought it was more of a punchline than a thematic element. Where enthusiasm meets success is the crux between practice and voice, a voice usually driven by some kind of commentary on society. As I've said previously, zombie things and disease epics in general are usually the horror genre's answer to satire: they make our flaws immediately obvious. Try to really hone in on that.

Can't wait to read more of your stuff. Keep posting!

qwertyportne
April 1st, 2014, 11:08 PM
It's difficult to write tight well, especially if the focus is word count rather than just getting the story told as succinctly as possible.

Several years ago, in a workshop on writing, the leader said, "Anybody can write a 50,000 word novel. Many can write a 5,000 word novelette. Some can write a 500 word short story. But only a few can write a 50 word poem or a 15 syllable Haiku."

I should add "write well" to those ideas. So I commend you for getting your story told in 500 words. And quite well, too. I'm intrigued by Flash Fiction and several of mine meet those requirements. Yours motivates me to post a few of mine and see what feedback I can get to improve them.

I do agree with thepancreas11 that your words are animated, and reflect enthusiasm without calling too much attention to the author (you). But I also agree the story doesn't quite feel complete. Something is missing and I think it might be that there is no "point" or "message" or "lesson" about human nature so readers can put it in context with "normal" life? I'm struggling to find the right words, as you can see, but perhaps you, being closer to the story than I can ever be, will come up with something that might bring more closure to the conflict and drama than the guy killing a bunch of people? One of the metaphors I use for my own writing is the mental image of two children on Christmas morning who have been given a pile of ornaments but no tree on which to hang them. Context is everything? Sometimes it is.

cob
April 4th, 2014, 01:44 AM
Thank you guys for your fantastic feedback! I will definitely take these things into consideration when I get to polishing it! The fact that it seems incomplete wasn't "intentional" but I was writing this as a scene and an exercise in writing unique action (IE yo-yo's as a zombie defense) over a complete story. Nonetheless, I think if it is going to be a story on it's own, it should have more of a finality to it. This one needs refinement. Thanks again~!

Rip Van Twinkle
April 4th, 2014, 04:58 AM
I'm a little late, but I just wanted to say that I loved this piece. I'm not a fan of flash fiction - people trying to tell a story in so few words - and maybe that's why I liked this. It read like some really kickass action scene from a much larger work. I loved how you ended it. All of them. And as someone mentioned above, your word choice and verb usage are just dripping with enthusiasm and enjoyment. It's clear you had a blast writing this, and consequently, I had a blast reading it.

qwertyportne
April 7th, 2014, 06:27 PM
I'm a little late, but I just wanted to say that I loved this piece. I'm not a fan of flash fiction - people trying to tell a story in so few words - and maybe that's why I liked this. It read like some really kickass action scene from a much larger work. I loved how you ended it. All of them. And as someone mentioned above, your word choice and verb usage are just dripping with enthusiasm and enjoyment. It's clear you had a blast writing this, and consequently, I had a blast reading it.

Rip, I agree with what you said 100%. I have a few stories myself that meet some of the requirements of flash fiction. But sometimes it's just better (whatever that means) to be able to walk more than a hundred yards or so with a character. Maybe a mile or two. Every metaphor, sooner or later, breaks down but some novels ask me to do a marathon with the characters and I quite often don't want to go that far, even if the writing is good.

Wander
April 18th, 2014, 09:34 PM
I have to admit it takes talent to write something that paints a picture in so few words. So, I believe you have one up on me in that matter. Tried it once, ended badly. Anyways back your story. It was amazing and left me wanting more. Like why was he alone, what was he doing in that house? Those kind of things, plus what happens next. I love the alt endings but the first one is still my favorite. These guys who commented ahead of me have it right though, you have put emotion and excitement into your words. I really do look forward to seeing more from you.

gamblingworld
April 19th, 2014, 06:02 PM
I really enjoyed the feeling of force that your work conveyed. I think it came from the detail of your description of the weapon. I got a feel for the weight and texture of the meteor hammer in my head before it was used, then that mental image was smashed into a zombies head and my mind filled in the 'feeling of impact' blank between your description of the weapon being thrown and the effect it had on the zombie.

Well done.

Crossfade
April 20th, 2014, 06:49 AM
If there's one thing a flash fiction has to do effectively (and efficiently), it's imagery. I could practically see the brain matter painting the walls, and to be able to give a reader that picture with as much force as you must have imagined it having in only 500 words takes some pretty specific word choice. Nice work.