I should write more flash fiction. It’s a great way of keeping up your daily word count, while at the same time not having to commit to a bigger project or challenge. Lord knows, I don’t need the encouragement to get involved in those (hel-looo, Script Frenzy).
The format, for those members of the Readership unaware of the concept, is what I used to call a short short. A short story under 1000 words, frequently coming in at well under that count. I could, if I had the idea, knock out a piece of flashfic on my train ride to work in the morning. It can be a way of writing a quick joke, or to map out a concept, or simply to fire out a character piece. The choice is yours. The only restriction is the word count.
Yesterday I hammered out my first piece of flash fiction in at least a year. I had, for once, a proper reason to do so. I submitted the story to a new incentive, The Campaign For Real Fear. This is a competition jointly created and judged by horror authors Maura McHugh and Christopher Fowler. The aim is to find stories that tap into 21st century terrors, rather than simply rehashing the same old monsters and tropes. The limit is 500 words. As Maura and Chris say in their intro, “If you can’t scare us in 500 words, you won’t manage it in 5,000.” It’s a great idea, and one I’m happy to both participate in and endorse.
Closing date for entries is 16th April. I know there are members of The Readership who would excel at a challenge like this one. Gentlemen, start your engines.
(Flash fiction is a very different deal to slash fiction, which I can’t write. I’ve got no interest in writing about other people’s characters, and I’m no good at sex. Writing sex. Sex scenes. I can’t do sex scenes. Shut up.)
(That’s probably why I’ve never got on with LiveJournal. I keep trying to explore it, and end up mired in some Russian teenager’s Farscape/Stargate mashup. Which turns into an orgy. Topless Robot have a great thread of the worst slash fic on the web, which I applaud and view as a public service. They go there so you don’t have to. It’s a dark mirror to the excesses of the human imagination. The Pokemon abortion fetish story is especially eye-opening.)
(I shudder to think what that last sentence is going to do to my Google stats.)
(image from Flickr user degan’s stream.)