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Before we get to the story…

If you follow me on Twitter you might’ve noticed that I’m not doing any Microcosms tweets nor am I taking part in their Friday competitions.

Since I started doing Microcosms, I’ve tweeted the link (telling everyone they should compete) and then the link to my story (showing people it can be done).

I did this for months.

Suddenly, one morning, I got this reply to my tweet:

Number one: As a judge from Cracked Flash, I can assure you that I always judge blind.

(Making assumptions is just rude.)

How do I judge? I read for content, language and story. (In other words: what it is, how it’s presented, and does it work for me as a reader.) I write my critique and then I go online and look for the author of the piece – that’s why Sunday mornings I copy the entries to a blank document and erase all author details and only judge on a Tuesday evening. (I stay clear of all tweets except my own.)

Number two: Was it really necessary to mention another competition in the tweet? Just because I’m a judge of mentioned competition and proudly tell people in my Twitter bio?

Number three: They could’ve just left it at the DM they’d sent me hours before that (which I also only got on Saturday morning). At least that was a polite version of the request. I’m a reasonable person – I’m not going to freak out if the rules have changed, just tell me politely.

They always state with the results of each competition on their website that it’s a platform to showcase your writing. So excuse me, but that means I’m supposed to use social media to send readers to my story.

BTW, they should probably add to their FAQs page that they discourage the sharing of stories… after I’ve now pointed it out.

So why the sudden change in attitude?

Am I being overly sensitive? (Burnout can do that to a person and this happened early on the 6th of May – I actually woke up to this tweet. Which meant it was sent hours after I tweeted my link…) Or is this a personal thing? (Remember when I told you that they said people should put more thought into their stories and not just roll out of bed and post? It was aimed at the people who post first… FYI, I write mine during my coffee break at eleven am, so how is that rolling out of bed?)

I didn’t answer them – on either occasion. I have this great fear of feeding Trolls and seeing them taking over the world. And it felt like overkill to send me a DM and then a Tweet to address the same issue.

This time, my response was to mute their Twitter account (great feature that) and to stop all participation in Microcosms. I saw this morning that they’ve added me to their Twitter list: @MicrocosmsFic/our-writers – just shows you that the mute feature doesn’t work all that well.

I’ve been in enough relationships where people lash out at me and then try to fix things with grand gestures to know what guilt looks like…

BTW, throughout the A-Z I mentioned and linked to them with my TTT posts – as per usual – and no-one complained about the exposure. (I get that the tweet-thing is different, I’m just saying that this is an out-of-the-blue attack.) So what gives?

We all know that we should write with intent. So my intent with this little anecdote is to show that you have to say what you mean and mean what you say – even in writing. As writers we know the power of words.

As Sheldon Cooper said:

I apologise that you had to read all of that – and still have to give me advice in the comments – before you can get to your weekly read. But as writers we need to join supportive writing groups and when it no longer works for us, we have to leave.

I love this advice from Morgan Hazelwood:

“Remember why you joined the group — to grow as a writer. If you feel like you’re not growing, if you’ve stagnated or dynamics have changed, you can move on.”

Now to the story!

So here’s my last Microcosms story, written for the competition on the 5th of May.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren

@miladyronel

132 words

Dancer/ Parade/ Horror

The Death Dance

Beads fell everywhere. Once every colour imaginable, they were now tinted with blood.

People kept on singing and waving as the parade passed, not realising what was happening. The alcohol they were liberally downing weren’t from their world… and kept them from seeing how the life was sucked from everyone the beads touched.

Kay kept on dancing. She knew that once she stopped, she’d join the numerous dead.

Dancing had always been her passion, her escape and her world. Now it was her prison. Keeping her own fear at bay, her movements became wild as the music the Fae played energised her and made her forget about everything except dancing.

She’d always wanted to dance for royalty. She never thought that dancing for the Dark King would be the end of her.

What I enjoy most about writing flash fiction is how I can dig into story ideas for a moment.

I’ll have to rethink how I’m doing TTT – I’ll probably just have to find prompts on the internet and write my Tuesday posts from scratch. Though it’s been lovely to showcase writing here that I’ve shared on other platforms, it’s obviously no longer such a great idea.

The judge’s favourite line:  She knew that once she stopped, she’d join the numerous dead.

I’m currently working on building my Faerie world even more and thought about how it will interact with our own.

Those seeking the protection of the Dark Court need blood sacrifice as their tithe. They have to offer it to the Dark King. I thought of the beads thrown at those lining the parades of Mardi Gras – as I’ve seen on TV. Music and drinks from the Fae shouldn’t be accepted – it will entrance and enslave.

What do you think of the story? Any thoughts on the tweets and my response to them? What’s your feelings toward online writing groups?

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