By Lucy Townsend
2021 is the 60th anniversary of Sussex Wildlife Trust. To celebrate this important milestone, we want to create an anthology of works, written by you. Lucy Townsend has some ideas to get you started…
Try writing a complete work of fiction with a 150 word count. It’s hard, but the results can be deliciously strange. Flash fiction / micro fiction / very short stories, they can’t possibly hold the number of characters or complicated plots that a novel can. Instead they are nimble and playful, each word has to earn its place, and I think many of us are forced to be more creative when we work within limits.
My favourite examples of flash fiction often float somewhere between prose and poetry, and between reality and the abstract. It’s a bit like a writer’s version of an aerobics class.
You could get inside the mind of a gull on a pier, or the barnacle beneath it. You could imagine the night-time wandering of a hedgehog, or look at what’s been washed up on the beach (it seems to be the season for fish egg cases right now). You could travel beneath the soil – what do you see there? Who is with you?
Here’s my attempt from earlier in the week…
I’m standing on your front lawn and your face is rippled behind the window. The reflection of our blossom tree runs across your eyes. I tell you about my walk, the same walk as yesterday and tomorrow, up the chalk and flint path. I tell you it’s a path of ancient sea creatures, rounded organisms crushed by time into the white rocks beneath my boots. I tell you about the lush clumps of moss, about the tangled sheep wool in the branches, about the pastel bags of dog poo hanging in the tree. I tell you all of this and you smile and mouth words I cannot see because blossom is reflected in your mouth.
So have fun, don’t procrastinate and send us your submissions for our creative writing anthology. We will share some of our favourites on social media.
How to submit your work
Your work needs to be a maximum of 14 lines of poetry or 150 words of flash fiction, previously unpublished, that mark this specific time and the uplifting role of wildlife. A Sussex Wildlife Trust panel will then pick a selection to publish in our online anthology.
Closing date: 12 April 2021
Lucy Townsend is a writer, journalist and wildlife lover based in Sussex. She has worked for the BBC and Sky, among others, and is currently flexing her writing muscles on a MA in Creative Writing at the University of Brighton.