Writing Flash

I churned out a couple of stories this week. They say that if you put yourself into a routine, inspiration will strike. My version of this is to sit my derriere in a chair and open up iA Writer. I usually have a story started, or a title or phrase floating in my head, or an idea I was mulling over while I tried (usually without success) to make progress on refinishing my screen porch. (Sigh. The dreaded summer project.)

This week turned up two things: a flash piece, 400 words, very experimental. Who knows if it’ll be worth the time it takes to read 400 words? Who knows what makes flash fiction good? The other was a 3k-word story for which I had a title and an opening paragraph lying around a year or so. That one I liked, but (of course) it’s probably too long to publish anywhere.

I’ve learned a couple of things about my writing self. One is that I respond very well to Bradbury’s advice in all its shades. That is (this from deep-storage memory):

Photo of Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury (Wikipedia)

1) try to write the whole story in one sitting so it gets a “skin” around it

2) don’t worry about the flurry of rejection slips you’re bound to get; just keep sending them out

3) write a lot of stories; lots and lots of stories

4) be ruthlessly honest

I have no idea if all of those are Bradbury, but my brain thinks they are, and that’s what matters here, in this particular situation.

The other thing I noticed is that of late I haven’t been in novel mode, but rather in “flashes of writing” mode. Whether it’s exhaustion or something else, I’ve been gravitating toward shorter tales. Which means, for me, nothing longer than 12k-words this year. But I don’t write it in novel mode, that is, in snatches of 1k or 1.5k per night. I go on writing binges, doubling or even tripling that after a long layoff, during which I feel, as one writer put it, like a pile of unsorted leaves.


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