Scratch the writing skin of most Flash Fiction aficionados and you’ll find an addict. Yes, we can’t help ourselves … we adore the genre, we drool over brilliant Flash Fiction … on a continual quest to write great stories. I write novels, chapter books and plays for children, but Flash … Continue reading Why I’m addicted … to Flash Fiction
Capturing perfect words and essential moments in short stories appear effortless in the work of authors like Cate Kennedy, Nam Le, David Malouf, Juliet Marillier and Roald Dahl, but of course, it’s not – the shorter the story, the harder you must strive to make it work. Therefore, writing a perfect short-short story in even less words is likely to be even more of a challenge. And as challenges are wont to do, they turn into obsessions … addictions.
Obsession, know thy name … Flash Fiction.
And a year ago, I stopped resisting the siren call of this genre. I set up a challenge to write a story a week for a year. And so began, my flash fiction collection for adult readers – a most satisfying, intimidating, crazy and rewarding literary obsession.
At its heart, these fifty-two, 500-word narratives are snappy, sensory exposé of the human condition, frailties and strengths – stories that rings with a sense of shared humanity. Their finales hold a twist, an exquisite ah-ha moment that surprises both protagonist and reader.
The stories cover many genres – mystery, historical, fantasy, dystopian, contemporary, humour, romance and more. Each of the narratives is inspired by a single abstract word, randomly chosen before I started the challenge by a ‘shut-eyes, open dictionary and point’ method.
Publishers usually don’t take on short story collections, unless they’re written by the top echelon of the genre. But that won’t stop me.
I’m about to send out my collection to publishers. It’s called Every Grain of Sand. It’s perfect for time-poor readers – for that moment of solitude over morning coffee, an afternoon’s Darjeeling or commuting to work. Read the fifty-two narratives in sequence, or by title, genre or chance. Read one a week. Savour one every now and then. Or join the flash fiction obsession and gobble them up in one go.
A side note: To keep me company along the Challenge, I set up a Facebook Flash Fiction page, a site dedicated to a community-based, 52-week writing challenge. An ulterior motive was to promote the flash fiction genre as well.
The Facebook site has proved popular with many writers and readers from Australia and abroad who joined The 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge. Some writers who’ve never shown their stories before, now openly contribute, their confidence measured by willingness to share and comment on others’ stories. Other members are published authors who’ve become hooked on flash fiction. Many are keen to take up the new Challenge #2. If you would like to join this Facebook Flash Fiction Challenge click HERE.
I’m a STORY-MAKING ADDICT, a bona fide member of the SMnsA – STORY-MAKERS, not so ANONYMOUS. For this global community of creators, there is no cure. If you are inflicted, your only way to scratch the itch is to make stories … novels, short stories, even plays. It’s not harmful. It gives pleasure (in large amounts) and to others. It drives you nuts sometimes. It can also kick you when you’re down. Hey, just ask my writerly friends … they all agree.
Ideas for stories are everywhere … just keep your eyes and mind open and trust your imagination, they will surface.
I’ve embarked on a writing discipline quest (besides the novels I have on the go) – it’s a challenge to write 52 short/short stories using a set topic word for inspiration. My own 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge is up to Week 9. A couple of times as a Friday approaches, I fear I can’t do it, but out pops an idea and a story.
Flash Fiction is a great genre to try out at any level of writing confidence and experience. I’ve been a practicing author for fourteen years. I’ve learned that you must trust what is in your head and your heart. It doesn’t matter if that first draft is woeful, it’s what you do with that germinating narrative that matters. It’s where the magic happens.
Flash Fiction can be a few sentences to 500 words … in my challenge, it’s 500. That’s an achievable length and long enough to give you a story with guts. You generally write more than 500 and then whittle back until you have left the perfect words. Flash Fiction and poetry have a lot in common.
Why don’t you try it out? If you’d like to join a small, online writing community on Facebook doing just this, get on to the page I set up – it’s a smaller version of my own Flash Fiction Challenge blog. All you need to do is click to join. The 38-Week Flash Fiction Challenge.
Here’re some of the topic WORDS in the Flash Fiction Challenges. Could you make a 500 story using one of them? Try it out. frog / cabbage / atone / autumn / fish / keepsake / mushroom / blue / mushroom / blue / plucky / celestial body / abstract / proof …… etc
TIPS ON WRITING FLASH FICTION
Author, Matt Moore has some great tips on how to use this genre successfully. It’s not as easy as you think, but the results are worth it.
Remember, you’re writing a story. It has a beginning, middle and end. And like all stories, it must have character, settings, plot, conflict. Finally, something must change during the story—a character discovers something about him/herself; a simple event has far-reaching consequences.
For more of Matt’s excellent advice, go to his blog page. HOW TO WRITE FLASH FICTION.