This one, above, is my latest published piece.
About a decade ago, I wrote 26 pieces in April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge as my introduction into flash fiction. Since then, I’ve been riffing off small pieces off and on, mostly at times when I needed to get back into writing after a fallow period. During the promotions for You Beneath Your Skin, and for a few weeks after, I could not get into novel-writing, so it was back to short pieces again. I submit them best I can, especially now that I’ve vowed to get 150 rejections under my belt. I have 15 so far, so I have a-ways to go.
Flash fiction is by no means easy to write (or read) just because they’re short. It takes all sorts of craft to tell a complete story in a few words: each word must carry its weight, each sentence flow from the last, and each paragraph must span distances or centuries or expanded or compressed moments, depending on what the writer wants to talk about.
Going through a book of flash fiction by Lydia Davis taught me that I had to work much harder on reading each piece than when reading a novel. With each piece you’re in a new world, with new characters, and sometimes very different styles and structures. Hard-to-read novels (I put Evaristo or Saramago’s work in that category) take time to get into, but after you’ve made yourself at home, somewhere around the 15 or 20 per cent mark, things are easier. You know the structure,the language, the people, the place.
The best thing about learning to write flash fiction is that it has taught me to copy edit and line edit like a true fanatic. While this is crucial in flash fiction, it is very useful when writing short stories and also comes in handy when editing novels. I’m an over-writer, so I need all the help I can get to take those extra words and descriptions out!
One of the latest pieces I sent out has been published by Five on the Fifth (you can read in the picture above, or HERE, and that gives me a tiny nudge, a little cheer in the dark covid times.
(Strangely though, what gave me greater joy today was being able to snag a slot on my online grocery delivery app, and an Irish soda cake that I baked after a long hiatus from baking. Not sure what that says about me as a writer, but that’s where I am right now.)
What about you? What has your experience been with reading and writing flash fiction? Want to recommend a flash fiction writer you’ve loved recently?
My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world. Author proceeds go to Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks, nonprofits that will need support more than ever.
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.
I would really appreciate an RT of this Book Tweet.