My experiment of writing flash fiction since January has been one of invaluable joy. While it started out as a way to flex the writing muscles and provide additional/different content through the blog, it has turned into something that I believe will thrust me into a sea of possibilities in the future.
I hope you all have enjoyed the flash fiction posts at the end of each month. The next is fast approaching and I truly enjoy writing these little glimpses into the Shoals to the Hallowed world. (Side note: My goal is to provide several viewpoints–a new one each month–and then continue on in those viewpoints by next year. So that means you’ll have twelve distinct viewpoints introduced this year and next year, I’ll be continuing from those twelve.)
My never delving into flash fiction was a result of not really having a platform to explore and release those kinds of stories. The blog opened the way for me and I’m glad I took those steps. The benefits have helped me in many regards but I want to focus on one single benefit for this blog post.
Flash fiction forces the writer to value each and every word, choosing only the ones that matter most for the current story told. What I mean by this is, I try not to exceed 550 words in a flash fiction story. Some that I have written over the last few months have been too long and I had to whittle those down. Parameters aren’t always a bad thing when telling a story.
This practice forced me to pick and choose, editing finely, so that the story could be told in full without what I like to call “fluff”. This makes the story in its glimpse form edged and to the point. Too often when writing in larger word counts, the propensity for fluff leaks through. I chalk this up to the desire to add detail in a first draft more for the sake of the writer, setting reminders for themselves, more so than for the readers to need at that time.
As you can probably imagine, I notice the fluff as I go through the revision process with the longer works like book 1 of the Ravanguard series. Both good and difficult at times, I definitely struggle with knowing what is sometimes fluff and what is important to the details of the narrative (that’s the continued process of becoming a better writer).
The flash fiction stories serve multiple purposes for myself as I continue to write and gain experience. You all are involved in the experimental process I’ve set in front of me. I know there are other lessons I’ve learned but being able to take notice of detail in word count forces my hands (ha!) to be patient and considerate whereas in past cases I’ve acted very loose in how I frame the narrative and each scene within.
Call to Action: It may be years down the road, but I do plan on compiling all the flash fiction stories for the Shoals to the Hallowed. I’ve even started planning and thinking about the bigger picture for the series though it may be many many years down the road. I’m curious to know what people think so far. Let me know because I’m interested in getting feedback. Thanks!