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Sadness is Made of Nothing: Flash Fiction

What sort of stories do you like? Has flash fiction writing ever been on your radar? Do you read flash fiction? What did you think of 'Sadness is Made of Nothing' ?

Flash fiction writing has been a passion–my first love, really, when it comes to writing. I started with writing for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, churning out 24 pieces in as many days, based on random prompts from the audience.

That experiment in rapid, free-form flash fiction writing stood me in good stead, and now, almost a decade later, I still enjoy the form. It is quite unforgiving, so it helps me now when I edit my novels. If each scene doesn’t shine like a piece of flash, the language edits aren’t there yet.

I’ve continued with flash fiction writing as well, and once in a while, one of them gets accepted for publication.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest to come out, Sadness is made of Nothing, at Lost Balloon:

If someone asked you what you’re sad about, you couldn’t tell them, not exactly. All you know is it is like a battery. It fuels you to run, get things done, till one day, you stop, left only with the toxic residue.

When you water the lilies, they die. You don’t tell anyone your mother died a while ago, and no one asks you. You feed your cat, only to never see her again. You bake a cake, following the recipe to the last teaspoon, but it collapses at the center. You have a date, but he stands you up. Trains leave before time, without you. The bus driver does not wait even when he sees you in his mirror, running full tilt, your bag and scarf and hair flying. Your sadness grows, and in a strange way it makes you feel good. This is what you deserve, you tell yourself, you deserve to be alone with your collapsed cake.

You can read the rest of it here, if you like.

It took me 4 years of sending it to magazines, off and on, and about 26 rejections, to find an acceptance. I have a few sitting around in my writing folders.

Lately, I’ve started off a pet project: the One-Shot. I’ll be writing a flash piece each month (or two, if my bandwidth allows) within the universe of The Blue Bar, my next literary crime novel, slated for release with Thomas & Mercer in Fall 2022. I sent out the first edition based on a romance prompt from a subscriber, ‘Meet-cute.”

The response has been overwhelming. I hope I can keep up to expectations.

If you’d like to challenge me with more Writing Prompts for my One-Shot Gazette, CLICK HERE. You can also subscribe to the other gazettes (I send out one with writing resources, another with reading hacks and recommendations, or the latest with short fiction) using the links below.

What sort of stories do you like? Has flash fiction writing ever been on your radar? Do you read flash fiction? What did you think of ‘Sadness is Made of Nothing’ ?


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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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11 Comments

  • robertcday says:

    He, you remind me of me. In a good way, of course. 😊

  • cleemckenzie says:

    That was such a spot on piece of Flash Fiction, Damyanti. I could identify with each moment of sadness. Straight to the heart!

  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!!… congratulations with your book, know it will be wonderful to read as always!!.. sad that you were rejected so many times but shows your courage to follow your heart and not give up!.. wish you nothing but success as you follow your dream!!…

    Until we meet again..
    May the dreams you hold dearest
    Be those which come true
    May the kindness you spread
    Keep returning to you
    (Irish Saying)

  • Jemima Pett says:

    You’re right. Your words do shine. I love that excerpt, and surprised it’s only the first of yours to be accepted. Must get out and read more!

  • hilarymb says:

    Well that irritates me … and I’ve just commented that I don’t get rattled with things like that happening – WP threw me out for taking too long to comment – W-h-a-t????? I was saying … I mentally turn and thus change that thought … so now I must practise it! And realise the comment has gone into think air – and I must just get on with things. This one I’m going to copy … in case this happens again!

  • Shilpa Gupte says:

    I loved this one, too, Damyanti! Looking forward to the next 🙂

  • Flash fiction hasn’t ever been on my radar; frankly, I’m unfamiliar with that writing process. I thoroughly enjoyed this recent story. Any tips on writing flash fiction? You know, how to structure and frame the story? Thanks for sharing!

  • You continue to be the Master of Words Damyanti 🙂

  • Ouch. Painful. True.
    And beautiful.

  • My first flash piece is on my link.

  • Terveen Gill says:

    It’s a beautiful story. Makes one think whether some simply live in the shadows of others. Burnt out before they realize their own wants and expectations. The ending is a blunt blow. 🙂

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