When I first jumped into the FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge, I adored comments from the “Masters.” One of those being Jan Worgul Ackerson.
Jan recently started a blog titled, One Hundred Words. I’ve wanted to feature it for awhile, so…I am.
“Is it possible to capture a character in one hundred words? To suggest, in just a few sentences, an entire plot? When I realized that I’d never be a novelist, that’s the challenge I decided to embrace.” Jan Worgul Ackerson
SARAH: When did your writing career begin?
JAN: I started blogging (a now-defunct blog) in 2002, after a pretty traumatic event in our family. I thought it would be good therapy, both emotional and spiritual, and it was. In 2005, I joined FaithWriters.com an online site for Christian writers, and started entering their weekly Writing Challenge.
SARAH: What all does your writing encompass? And brag (humbly) about your services.
JAN: My writing love is fiction, and in particular, I like to write very short fiction (as you might have guessed). I find myself writing a lot about broken people—perhaps that’s my way of becoming whole. But I also enjoy the occasional foray into humor. I hope my writing is literary, with a bit of an edge. I also have a small editing business: you can find Superior Editing Services on Facebook.
SARAH: How many flash fiction stories have you written? List your highest writing awards.
JAN: I’ve written over 250 flash fiction stories; you can find them at http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=11626. Two of those placed in the FaithWriters.com annual Best of the Best competition.
SARAH: Awesome! Where did you come up with the idea for One Hundred Words?
JAN: I’d been thinking about re-entering the blogosphere, but I wanted my blog to be different from so many that I see out there. Since I enjoy fiction so much, I thought first about writing little character studies. When I thought about how our attention span as a country is getting so much shorter (thank you, Twitter), I hit upon the idea of limiting myself to 100 words.
SARAH: Some people call this Micro Fiction. Do you have special plans for these micro flashes of genius (like a book) or are they strictly for the blog?
JAN: No immediate plans. If the blog should take off and my adoring public demands a book…we’ll see!
SARAH: What do I need to know about your wonderful family?
JAN: I’m a retired teacher, married 36 years to the wonderful Ben. We have two married daughters, and an adorable granddaughter, Piper. Oh, and the cat. I can’t forget to mention the cat.
SARAH: And your favorite One Hundred Word story is?
JAN: It’s so HARD to pick a favorite, because they’re all my babies. Do you have a favorite child? But if you forced me to pick one, I’d have to go with #7, because Carla is ME, and the story of the chubby waitress and the young man is one that I’ve always wanted to write.
SARAH: Loved that one too! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Jan.
It’s was hard for me as well, but here are my three favorite One Hundred Word stories:
She never bothered with the equipment—the veiled hat, the smoker smelling of pine needles. The bees, she said, knew that her hands were gentle and that she was not prone to flailing about while she extracted the waxy, dripping frames.
Shh, now, she said. Shh. She pulled a frame from the box hive and stood very still while the bees swarmed. She could feel a breeze from thousands of minuscule wings. When the buzzing abated, she set the frame aside, trapping one small bee against her wrist. I’m sorry, they murmured to each other as the stinger sank in.
Patsy sees the lump on the road from far away, and the words dead possum flit through her consciousness. But as she gets closer, she sees that it’s not dead, it’s simply wounded.
The unfortunate animal is ineffectually scrambling with its back legs. Briefly and ridiculously, Patsy considers taking it to a vet, and the animal haunts her thoughts all day. Such horrible suffering.
At home, she flicks on the television, eager to forget. I hope it wasn’t in pain. When the commercial comes on—the one with wide-eyed brown children—she changes the channel, with a grunt of irritation.
Millie hadn’t sung in years, so she was delighted when she was tapped to join this choir. Once quite the singer, she’d toured Europe in college, where she had the soprano solo in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang.
Her high G was effortless…
Her high G was effortless, and the audiences’ praise had sent a rush of heat deep into the vee of her draped black gown.
How Millie mourned those soaring high notes when her aged voice became a mere croak. Yet here she stood, excited, preparing to sing again. The song started:
Worthy is the Lamb…
Music reverberated off walls of jasper, chalcedony, emerald, and sapphire.
Hope you enjoy and become a subscriber of One Hundred Words.