None of the flash fiction we read in English class earlier appealed to me, and I do not think it is because of the content of the prompts or stories themselves. I think the less than 300 words limit on these stories is difficult for any writer to work with. With a limit like that there is no time to set up exposition, and writes just have to cut to the chase to a rising action. This lack of exposition makes it difficult to create an engaging story, as all of the meaning has to be implied, there are not enough words to state it explicitly.
One You Tuber that expresses my vice on word counts from the opposite perceptive. Be warned, the martial here is a bit adult, but I think the point that he makes is worth sharing. (Relevant part of the video ends at 1:44).
While he is arguing that word minimums make for bad writing, I would like to take the time to show that word maximums have an equal and opposite effect. If a maximum word limit is too low in a subject like narrative fiction, then you can’t create a world that a reader can become invested in, and you also can not sustain the reader’s curiosity to learn more and more about the fictional world you worked so hard to create.
Of course, that’s not to say it is completely impossible to write immersive works of fiction with low word counts. The SCP Foundation is a web series that provides great examples of this. Each article is short (500-1000 words), but manages to tell a small part of a larger story. Because the story is spread out across all the different articles and the articles do not have any particular order, the story can be reproached and read my anyone from any starting point. The entire point to this is to still put the narrative into small chunks and still drive the reader’s curiosity to know more.
In English class, we have been writing poetry for the last few weeks. Here are some of my poems.
Is there a hazard in learning?
Can an image or an idea corrupt you?
Can inception weaponize?
Enter an incorrect credential and die?
Seems a cruel weapon.
Short of torture.
Do souls exist?
It’s impossible for me to know
if you are conscious.
Likewise, you can’t tell if I am.
Minds can’t meld to be sure the other
How many machines does it take
until suddenly out pops a sentence?
How many nerves does it take
Do humans even feel?
Or do we just claim we do?
Over the last two weeks, I have committed myself to making a little something for a more common good. With the skills that I have, I have written an application for exam proctors of the Unites States Emergency Medical Service. This applications saves student information, allows test proctors to check off skills in a controlled environment, and send that information to the teacher responsible for awarding certification to the students that pass the exams. The application can track what objectives each student did well on, detect actions that the student performed out of order, and even check for conditions that would warrant failure for a student. Grading accuracy is important for the application, as it separates the transponders who are competent enough to hold another person’s life in their hands from the individuals that should not do so.
While I have not finished the project to the fullest degree, it is very close to completion. All it needs is a few finishing touches before I can upload it to the Google Play store. What is so ingenious about the app is that students wont be able to spoof scores and send it to their teachers. If a students has the app on their phone then all they can do is produce text files to send to their own email.
I decided to finish the bulk of this project over spring break because it would be a major stress relief to have that done now rather than needing to finish the project in May. It is of utmost importance to me that I have it done by May because it is my capstone project in order for me to earn my associates degree in Information Technology. What is even better about this achievement is the meager time investment it took out of my actual break. Instead of working on the application constantly over the course of a few days, I was able to comfortably do it in chunks throughout the break. This meant that I was able to manage my time so that the project did not interfere with my social life by any major stretch.
In the segments of downtime between my work sessions I spent time participating in LAN (Local Area Network) parties with my friends. At these parties, we would all set our computers up in the same room, and we would connect them together so that the computers were all on the same LAN. This very short distance and high throughput connection gave us the ability to play out video games with amazing response times. At the same time, it was able to give us an advantage over other players because we could talk to each other directly.
These parties were a great bonus to the stress relief of having my application done. Knowing that I can manage time for a big project while maintaining a satisfying social life reflects what my experience in college is probably going to be like. Just like this spring break, college will be a time where I maintain my academics while still finding the moments to sit back and have a bit of fun.