Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flash Fiction: Coming Soon!

Flash fiction is all the rage right now. For those of you who aren’t familiar, flash fiction is basically like the Twitter of fictional prose. Flash fiction is a super short story, usually only 500-1500 words, and I’ve been seeing it all over the place over the past few years.

I came across flash fiction as part of a character building exercise. The prompt was “show us your character in 1500 words or less”. I found the wording intriguing. It wasn’t “tell us your character’s life story” or “summarize your plot” in 1500 words or less. No, this character builder asked me to show someone my character.

The session leader* summed it up like this: write a short scene that gives the reader a firm sense of who your main character is, without getting bogged down in backstory or introspection or subplots or any of that other nonsense. It’s just a flash of a story. Use your words take his/her picture. You’ve all heard that old line about a picture being worth 1000 words; now let’s hear the 1000 words.

Being particularly sensitive to that show don’t tell notion, I thought the idea was interesting.

I discovered that I really liked writing those little snippets, and that it was a whole trendy thing, and now I do it all the time. While writing short stories makes me crazy, because they inevitably take a turn for the too-long on me, I don’t have that problem when I’m writing flash fiction.

Yeah, I know. Ask me for 100,000 words or 1,000 words and I’m good. I don’t find either of those tasks daunting at all. Ask me for anything in the middle and I flail around like wibbley blob of inarticulate mush. I guess I’m just a girl of extremes.

IDEA SALESMAN: Renee, you’re rambling. Just get to the point already.

Ah, yes, the point! You may or may not have noticed that this isn’t my regular day to blog. (I say that like I’m a nice disciplined blogger who has a strict blogging schedule that I stick to religiously. I know, I’m not.) I usually blog on Wednesdays. This is Sunday.

See, I can be just as observant as the next girl.


Sorry, Idea. I know you want to get back to the pregame shows. I’m working on it. Anyway, the Idea Salesman and I have been thinking about it and he’s convinced me that I should expand the blog. One post a week about my random thoughts on writing isn’t really what we set out to do here. If I’m serious about building a platform, I need to blog more frequently and do more than just talk about wanting to shoot characters in the head or let the Muse go on about coffee table stains.

So I’ve decided I’m going to start posting some of my flash fiction. After all, I talk a lot about how I’m a writer. I should probably put my pixels where my mouth is and show you some of my writing. The plan is to post a piece every week on Sundays. Nothing fancy, just a little bit of something fun for the weekend crowd. Or to brighten up your Mondays if you don’t happen to hang out in the blogosphere on the weekends.

Be warned, I get my flash fiction prompts from a bunch of different sources and I like to test myself out in all different genres. Sometimes they’ll be relevant to what’s going on in the world/the time of year. (For example: I’m seeing a lot of prompts about monsters this week, what with Halloween coming up at the end of the month.) Sometimes they’ll be totally disconnected from anything but happened to grab my eye.

So just know that this stuff will be all over the place. There won’t be any kind of regular story or theme to follow. If there does end up being a theme, I guarantee it’ll be completely accidental and will probably tell you all loads about my various and sundry psychological issues. ;-)

So that’s the plan. It should be fun. I hope you like reading it as much as I like writing it.

* I really wish I’d written her name down or saved the hand out, because this was years ago and while I remember the exercise, I haven’t got a freaking clue who to give the credit for it to. Sorry.

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