Flash Fiction, Extremely Short; Oppression, Slavery & a Smidgeon of Hope; Tips for Inspiration
Inspired by a challenge from Chris, aka cam8510, to write some extremely short fiction, I decided to adopt a theme for my response, firstly because that might make easier reading and secondly (actually the main reason if truth be known) my thoughts might respond if dragged together under one heading.
A writer should aim to choose words for impact, to create imagery and appeal to the emotions. Using minimum words for maximum effect should be the goal. This is an exercise to test the best writers, to stretch their boundaries. I haven’t tried extra short fiction before but I’ve cut and honed these words to meet my own restrictions and produced my best for the moment. Another day would tell me to write from another angle perhaps but I’m leaving it as it is for now.
Thus my three tentative efforts are set out below. I’d be pleased to read your honest comments with any constructive criticism.
Small, Colourful, Active, Delightful & Perfectly Formed
Cobblestones or Cobbles
1. Charity's Demise: Restriction of 50 words
Charity fled, sobbing, from her cruel, belt-wielding husband. Uneven cobbles tripped her toes. When the wheel of the bus caught her shawl, chewed her round and spat her out, her once hopeful life flashed before her in red, white and bone.
Crow's Nest on top of the Mast
2. Tommy: Restriction of 25 words
The ship rose and plummeted on the foam-tossed seas, the mast cracked and tiny Tommy flew from the crow’s nest, fighting-free.
Dreams or Nightmares?
3. Living without Him: Restriction of 15 words
Oh, how could she live without him? Bruise-free, daughter safe, she'd follow her dreams.
How Do We Choose our Subjects or Themes?
Sometimes the subject for a hub presents itself, in the form of a challenge, a photo or an event which has caught one’s eye, stirred one’s feelings. However, the ideas don’t always offer themselves up served ready and piping hot. We have to look for inspiration. The following works for me.
Take a Notebook!
Take a walk with a notebook. Take a deep breath, count to whatever number you need to gather yourself together, then look around you.
- Look up, look down, look sideways. What do you see? (write them down)
- Look at people, look at trees, look at objects, look in windows. What do you see? (write them down)
- How many wooden things do you see? (write..... - you get the picture)
- How many metal things do you see?
- How many hard, soft, delicate, ugly, grotesque, eye-catching, glittering.......?
Once you have a list of people, places, nature, architecture and objects, choose a few (or all), put them together in your mind in whatever order suits you and.... there you have it, the shape, mood and flux of your story is before you.
If you like, choose just one scene, maybe a shop window. What or who is in the window, in the shop? Decide why the people are there, what purpose the objects serve, what is going to happen there that day.
Or wander along a canal, through a wood, across a field. What do you see? There will be bird song or birds in the sky. There will be rustlings in the undergrowth. There will be skirmishes in a stream. Trees will have budding leaves or golden leaves or bare branches; all have their beauty.
There will be tracks or pathways you can follow, or those made by other creatures which give you clues and ideas. Look closely at tracks and indentations in the earth or grass. What left them? Where had they been? Why? What does it tell you of the location's history? A whole story can be gleaned from just one track or hollow.
Buildings are of varied shape; in one street you can see high, low, old and new. The style might be Georgian, 30s or Victorian; each one has its peculiar image. Who would have lived there? Are they flats now? Who built them? What history do they tell? What do they look out upon?
You’ve got the picture. Now go out and get on with it! I’ll expect to see the results.
You don’t have to come up with extra short fiction; you can write poetry, prose, non-fiction or fantasy. Just write! Make sure you write to your highest standard, that your spelling and grammar are correct, that you proof-read. Make sure that your writing does what you want it to do.
Having done all that, publish it! You’ll learn from feedback and if you’re wise, you’ll use it and improve your prose and your style. We’re all learning all the time; it’s how we use that knowledge that makes the difference.
Write with imagination! Write about what you know! Have fun!
Copyright annart/AFC 2015