Flash fiction is a form which is deceptively complex.
The beginning of every flash piece is like setting down an untravelled path towards an unknown destination. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, yet you have no idea what’s around the corner.
What triggers the story: a line of dialogue, a picture prompt, a single word, the line of a song?
What genre will emerge? A slice of humor, a slip of fantasy or a sliver of horror?
Whose point of view? A child? An object?
What types of ideas will come out? Extended sentences, like a throng of impatient learners, rushing through the school gates at the end of a long and tiring week. Or short phrases. Tip toe. Wary. Exploratory. Scanning the corridors of a new flash adventure.
Who knows? Writing flash fiction presents infinite possibilities which outnumber the sand grains scattered across Arabia.
And that is what I love about flash fiction – the unknown, the thrill, the risk.
In good flash fiction, most of the story occurs in what isn't there. We are talking about fiction that utilizes negative space. It’s a beautiful enigma that hints... leaves you wondering...
Expect to be taken by surprise as you savor this tasty morsel which is short on words but long on depth. It’s concise. Squeezes out any excess, yet maintains the succulence. Hacks away at the clutter until the core is revealed.
If you’ve hit a dry spot, it revs up your creative processes. It’s easier to maintain your focus for tiny word bites, than over a full-course meal of chapters and verses.
Language becomes precise and sparse. When we are forced to write within a limited frame every word becomes charged with intention and meaning. Pay close attention to detail and examine every single syllable in every word.
The fiction reaches out and grabs! It can be a gut punch or a passionate kiss, but the reader must feel something.
Imagine this scenario. You experience a fleeting moment of inspiration... maybe you’re in the shower, or just relaxing at the beachfront, minding your own, and an idea sneaks in. You plan to ignore it, but it anchors itself firmly. It refuses to disappear. However, you have no desire to extend this into something longer.
Don’t disregard it.
Seize the moment. Jot down the idea. See where it takes you.
Enjoy the ride!