Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Licks of Lightning

Pss. 77: 18]The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
I’m getting creative with my titles, aren’t I? The writer in me screams out for creativity so, this is why I have had some crazy titles over the past week or so.

Licks of lightning is a reference to Flash Fiction. I’ve been researching what constitutes flash fiction and I’m not really getting a straight answer. I don’t believe a thousand words can constitute a flash piece, TO ME, because that is acceptable as basically a short story.

Flash fiction is tight, concise writing. You don’t have room for an elaborate display of words or fancy colorful dialogue. You have to make every single word count. Readers of flash fiction do so because they don’t like to invest too much time into reading, thus they read flash so as to gather the fullness of a story, in as few words as possible.

Readers of flash can be idly downloading something and reading a quickie at the same time. Nothing ventured nothing gained. When reading a Short Story, they have to get to know characters and scenes, the reader ingests all the words and carries with them the story, picking it up, putting it down, the ritual over and over until finally they are finished.

With a flash fiction piece, a person can read it quickly and still feel the fullness of an entire story; granted the writing has to be superb at pulling the reader in right in the first sentence or you’ve lost them.

I’ve read a lot of blogs and you know what is a big turn off that makes me hit the click button? Long winded posts about nothing. Since the beginning of this blog, it was my intention to keep posts at or below the 500 word mark. I’ve succeeded for years only going over the word limit if the post warranted more words; necessity to finish the post.

So you understand, that is what people want from flash fiction. They don’t want unnecessary words, long drawn out bloated sentences. They want a story in a quick sitting. Yup that’s right. If I sit in a doctors office, pick up a magazine and start to read a story, it had better been a flash fiction piece so I can read it entirely. Granted that some doctor visits warrant a lengthy short story, I’d really much rather have me a flash fiction piece.

To me, flash fiction is under 700 words and possibly under 500 words. If someone says, “That’s impossible.” I have to beg to differ, if you’re a writer and a good one at that, you will utilize every portion of the page, every splinter of a sentence and you will create yourself, a lick of lightning!


Yvonne said...

I NEVER thought I would like writing flash fiction; but I love it. I agree with you--flash should be under 750 words. Have you read this article about Flash over at the WOW website: http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2008/08/how-to-write-flash-fiction.html ?

Between your blog and your poetry, you have the perfect training for Flash--making every word count and making your images as evocative as possible using the strongest words possible. I would LOVE to read what you come up with!

joni said...

Thanks Von,

I didn't read your link, but I did read so many interesting articles. I'll peek at yours tomorrow. :)

I like Flash Fiction too! :)

benning said...

Don't care so much for Flash Fiction. Although, oddly enough, the very first short story I ever wrote was less than 500 words. LOL

All writing should be as concise as possible. ;)