I have written flash pieces from time and time and certainly have edited and selected flash for CafeLit; so it was nice to be asked by Cornerstones, that use me a lot now for critiquing short stories, if I was happy to mentor a client writing flash pieces 🙂
So it got me thinking. What do you like about writing flash?
Do you know what it is?
The word count is variable and can, in essence, be from one sentence like the famous Baby shoes for sale; never worn to close to 1000 words which is regarded as the cut-off. I tend to think of 1000 words as a short story rather than a flash piece, but it’s all in a name.
So what does flash do?
People tend to think that writing a whole story in 300 words, where brevity is key, is easy. In fact it takes some skill because it’s capturing the essence of the whole but distilling it into a moment; the flash moment. You need to capture voice (one voice), a moment when everything else before it has happened, so none of the pre-amble, imply this, and still create tension and surprise the reader. While I always say every word has to count in everything you write, and it does, none more so in this form. So it does require skill and time to get right.
So I might be talking about this in my writing group tonight.
So what about you, do you write flash and what do you think makes the best flash fiction?
Some people talk about it being part story, part poem, do you agree? I’d say it takes what the poets do well and that’s distil the surface of moments, they’re very good at taking the essence rather than the preamble — but I think flash is more story than poem. Do you agree?
There are certainly many markets for it, so it is becoming increasingly popular.
Here’s a 100 worder of mine:
Liliya stands at the door, fingers wrapped over a walking cane, watching Hana turn circles.
Ten pound notes flutter from the sky like butterflies.
In the house, an open newspaper, an obituary: Aleksandr Tastarov. Fifty years but still she remembers. She was Hana’s age, lying on the grass.
“Make a wish,” Alek said.
“Money,” she said, “falling from the sky. No one has to be poor again.”
Hana has his eyes. Not that he’d know, or that he has a son. He was long gone by then. He always said he’d be rich.
Hana catches ten pound notes.
Send me some of your best flash!
And have a great week everyone!