Note: This piece was originally published on Medium.com by me on December 6th, 2016. I thought it would be good to post it again here. I’ve revised some small sections, but otherwise, it is the same article.
So, over time, I’ve taken to the practice of writing shorter or even what you could call “micro” fiction. Another broader name would be“flash.” Most writers I think in this day and age pay no mind to it, because it may not fall into there sphere of concern. Other writers may not see anything strange with it, with the advent of Twitter and dwindling attention spans.
I’ve read articles about the death of the novel(which I find to be incredibly hilarious), but I think it opens up an interesting space of what place do shorts have in our literature? Do they play as purely conceptual pieces? Or are they stories all in their own right? Can something like Twitter fiction(stories under 140 characters) exist in the same space as a flash, where a story has to be in the ballpark of 1,000 words or less?
I like to see shorts(of any kind) as breaths of fresh air. There is this long inhale and then a slow and steady exhale. They are moments. I would even make that argument for the longer shorts (4,000 to 10,000). There is not too much of an “overly complicated” problem, though this is not to say that such stories are simple by any means. What I mean by not “complicated” is that they are self-contained and complete in and over themselves.
I personally love to write shorts. There is something so challenging and clean about them that I personally cannot help leaving them alone. Even with the short “micro” fiction, they are helpful tools in getting my creative juices flowing and greasing my motivation gears so that I can tackle my large project at the moment, which is ever-growing science fiction narrative.
If you have never taken a dive into flash, I would highly recommend it. There’s something satisfying about completing a story in a short amount of time and coming up with a good one is all the more affirming. If nothing else it could provide for a small outline of a character, setting or even a concept of a longer short that you want to work on. This is one reason why I have started to do more “genre” based flashes so that I can have a conceptual basis for a longer short story if I so choose.
Lastly, remember to just relax and let the pen do the work.