“Disappeared” is the very, very first fiction acceptance I’ve ever received, and the second ever publication. In my life. That’s HUGE!

Read “Disappeared” here!

I stumbled upon 101 Fiction through Twitter: their tweet about June’s theme brought me to the website, and I was instantly hooked. Surrealism? Flash? Very strict word requirements? I loved the stories that were already published, and I wanted to try my hand at creating one too.

After reading about the theme, which was “pictures,” I spent some time typing out random concepts, stream-of-consciousness style. The ideas offered by the prompt were so inspiring that I couldn’t help but think of them as I wrote a few preliminary ideas. Here are a few I have saved in my phone’s notes:

  • A picture of a large, slightly askew circle displayed in a museum
  • A childhood memory of a creepy clown’s portrait that no one else besides the protagonist seems to remember

I didn’t go with either of these ideas, but you can see where my mind was going: slightly unsettling paintings. Once I felt pretty good about this general concept, I spent a long time writing out draft after draft. At first, I had started off with an argument between a husband and wife. Then, I write about how lonely his wife was during her married life. Things had to be moved and deleted and re-written, especially since I was restricted to exactly 100 words.

Eventually, I reached “Disappeared.” Don’t let the size fool you: there was a lot of writing, a lot of editing, and lot of sending it to trusted people to read and critique. (You know who you are! Shout out to you!) I’ll never minimize the time and effort it takes to write a flash fiction.

This story took a lot out of me, and I was proud to have even finished and submitted something for consideration. Imagine my surprise and delight once I got the email that it was chosen for publication!

I hope you’ll take some time to read my story and the other wonderful stories published on 101 Fiction. I’d also love to know what you think of “Disappeared.” Send me your thoughts on twitter @emmabeltami!

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