Keeping it short and sweet

It only took 20 minutes for Henna Cho ‘14 to complete her winning Flash Fiction contest story.

Limited to 500 words or less by virtue of the flash fiction genre, Cho drew her inspiration to write “Full Moon” from her love of science fiction and fantasy. Her story serves as a character development piece, marvelously illustrating the day to day life of a young werewolf boy in less than one page.

“I wanted to try to be ambitious and write about something that one might normally think would be difficult to fit into a flash fiction story,” Cho said. “I wanted to try to convey his character with specific details that would help the reader understand what he was like.”

Henna surprised herself when she finished the story in less than half an hour.

This year’s Flash Fiction contest winners and honorable mentions will have their short fictions read by the competition judge Ruth Setton. Setton, a distinguished author of many short stories herself including The Road to Fez, will also read a selection of her own fiction.

Among the three selected honorable mentions, Shehtaz Huq ‘14 decided to enter the contest as a personal challenge to her abilities for writing fiction with such a constricting word limit. Her story “Tomato Soup at Newark Airport” was influenced by experiences she’s had and observed at the airport.

The story centers on a middle-aged South Asian lady pondering her lunch options at the airport.

“The main purpose of my story is mostly to entertain readers by giving them a snapshot inside an outsider’s mind,” Huq said.

Basing her work off of well-known works such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Huq focused on a misfit character.

“Not every South Asian narrative is a Slumdog Millionaire tale,” Huq said of the main character.

Jeff Wheeler ‘16, a double major in international affairs and psychology, wrote the flash story “D.” He had entered the contest as a self-described long-winded writer pursuing to write a cohesive piece.

Unlike the other authors, Wheeler did not have a particular story or vignette he wished to express and instead hoped to illustrate an abstract concept and create someone the reader can engage with.

“It’s more like a slice of the human experience” Wheeler said. “I contribute a small portion, and I let the reader attach it to his or her own experiences, if she or she wishes, so as to make associations and comparisons.”

Wheeler’s one-letter title also accomplishes his goal of allowing a dialogue between writer and author.

“I want the reader to tell the rest of the story and decide what it could be about,” Wheeler said.

This Thursday, all these works will be read at 7:00 p.m. in the Kirby Auditorium, room 104.

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