4.40 a.m. and I wake up, in huge post-drunkenness need of water, to find out I won this.
I’m thrilled, for two reasons. Firstly, because, just as I understand the grudgingness at having to hand over £25 to a friend for essentially no reason, I get to be the smug friend on the receiving end of that grudgingness, which is awesome.
Secondly, because the other entries were damn good. I’ve not read them all, because not all were made publicly available, but I have read all of those which were. I too, loved Anna Sky’s closing line, the butterfly pinned to the board, probed ‘…until the novelty wore off, bright colours fading.’
In fact, it was partly reading the first few entries that inspired me to enter the competition. Trying to work out which was my favourite also forced me to think about the challenges of the prompt, not least of which, in my opinion, is how you resolve the issue of how you ultimately get the suitcase back to its rightful owner (because any decent person would, right?)
Like runner-up John, who was inspired by Kristina Lloyd, I also have her to thank for helping me get round this one. I’m new enough to the erotica writing game that I often surround myself with anthologies when I’m writing so I can look at ways that other people have a) described orgasms b) described kissing and c) ended their stories.
On this occasion though, it was Kristina’s flash fiction workshop at Eroticon that helped. Before that, I’d always have said that flash was too short for me – that I’m too interested in the back story and the relationship between the characters while flash erotic fiction is all about the sex. In her workshop, especially the incredible examples that were read out, Kristina proved that that’s not true at all – in flash fiction you just have to work the back story and exposition into the sex. It’s a good challenge, and it works for me because I find the length of flash pieces easier to work with than the 2500-4000 word limit that a lot of short stories need to fall between.
The other thing I realised in the workshop is that, just as writing teachers constantly tell you to start stories in the middle of the action, there’s no reason why you can’t end them there, either. Ending this story while the character was still mid-ecstasy allowed me to cheat my way round the ultimate return of the suitcase.
So thanks to Kristina for the inspiration and to EA_unadorned for running the competition. I promise to spend the cash on wine – that’s what would have happened to it anyway, right?!