I'm not going to lie: When I signed up for A Twist of Noir's 600-700 challenge, I was nervous. I'm terrible at writing to prompts or from a given scenario--or, for that matter, to a specific word count. I don't know why. I'm not one of these "Oh, it totally kills my muse" type of writers. It's just not how I roll.
So I was ecstatic when a couple of days after I signed on I was able to bang out a flash idea that--without any attempt to edit--was 630 words. Awesome! Chop out a few adjectives and there ya go.
But it had major problems. Had to put it on the back burner.
This is about when I started to panic. I threw around a couple of other ideas that never even made it to the page.
Then I had a crafty idea. The first crime fiction piece I'd ever written (first short story since I was in high school, actually) was a total mess. It was this 6,000-word monstrosity about this loser who's addicted to swiping mundane shit off store shelves. It had some interesting characters, nice turns of phrase, blah blah blah, but there were like five plotlines.
But it did have this opening scene that I really liked. So I decided to hack that off, make some changes. And, to my surprise, it wasn't half bad, and it was about 700 words. Sent it out to the good people at Flasher's Dozen and Crimeficwriters, who made it way better. And now, to my delight, it's found a home at ATON. (By the way, will be writing more on this in the future, but this 600-700 challenge is fascinating. Loving it--to me, it's the core of ATON--fast, violent, and dark crime fiction.)
So, anyone else writing in the series have stories to share about how they hit their magic number? How about writing with restrictions? Does it work for you?