Once in a while a writers group I associate with holds a Weekend Warrior contest. For five weekends in a row participants are given a story seed and have Saturday and Sunday to write a piece of flash fiction that's then turned in to the group and judged. I'd completed the first three weeks of the competition, but on the fourth weekend I was booked solid. I decided the best way to deal with the stress was to just skip the contest that weekend. So when the story seeds went out that Saturday morning, I glanced over them, but didn't think much about it.
Apparently no one told my subconscious.
An hour before the contest deadline, inspiration struck. I knew exactly who the protagonist was. I knew his situation and how he would deal with it. I couldn't choke off the idea -- it demanded to be written. So I booted up the laptop and jotted off the first draft of Command Transfer.
It did surprisingly well in the competition. Some of the comments I received, however, told me that the story was too long at 750 words; if I could trim it to 500 words, they said, I might really have something.
Keeping that criticism in mind, when I sat down to write the second draft I naturally wrote a two-thousand word story instead. Yes, it was longer, but it felt tighter. Extra background and detail added a lot to the character and the setting. I was much happier with it.
I'm absolutely thrilled that this little story, the one that twice refused to stay bottled up, is now my first pro-market publication.
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"Command Transfer" by Darren Egget is available now in issue 13 of Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show