Furious Fiction – Holidays With Rover

(Shortcut to story: Holidays with Rover).

When the email announcing the first Furious Fiction of the year popped into my inbox, I was in a car with my little family driving to a caravan park on the South Coast of New South Wales. I doubted I would have time to submit an entry, so all I did was glance at the criteria and let the ideas swirl.

For those playing at home, January’s criteria were:

  • Each story’s first word had to be NEW.
  • Each story had to include the words NINETEEN, DESERT and PRESENT
  • Each story had to include SOME KIND OF LIST – open to interpretation

I didn’t touch a computer until Sunday. By then an idea that I really liked had taken hold and I had the urge to write. With a half dozen sunburned little tearaways that needed supervising, however, it was only late that evening that I eventually pulled out my laptop.

Fast forward to eleven-forty PM. I’m sitting in the dark at a picnic table by the barbecues because it’s only place in the caravan park I can get wifi. I am accompanied by the smell of burned sausage and a grunting possum who’s parked his rotund bottom on the bench next to me.

I cut it close, but in those desperate minutes before the midnight deadline Holidays with Rover is born. Maybe I could polish it further from here, but I present it now in it’s original format so the moment of it’s creation is captured.

Spoiler alert: I don’t win that month, nor garner a coveted ‘highly commended’. Here are the winners in case you want to compare. I can’t fault the judges’ selections. But of all the stories I’ve written for Furious Fiction, this submission felt the most rewarding.

Background

For the past little while I’ve been entering a flash fiction writing competition run by the Australian Writers Centre.

At 5pm on the first Friday of each month, the AWC reveals three elements that must be included in a story with a maximum of 500 words. You’ve got until midnight on Sunday – just over two days – to write a masterpiece.

It’s called Furious Fiction. The winner gets 500 bucks. A few stories get honourable mentions. And it’s open to writers across the world.

I’m yet to reach the winners’ podium, but I’ve been talking about how much I’m enjoying the competition and a few people have asked to see what I’ve written. These are those stories.