Friday, August 9, 2013

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction, in the simplest of terms, is a short story of a thousand words or less. These micro stories often adhere to an iceberg style of writing. That is to say there is more below the surface of the text then is written on the page. One of the most famous examples of this is this story, often attributed to Hemingway: "Baby shoes for sale, never worn." On the surface it is simply an ad. On the other hand, the reader is left with many questions to think about. Why were the shoes never worn? Is the baby dead? There is a lot more to the story than meets the eye.

Flash Fiction can often be harder to write than normal fiction because the writer has significantly less time to develop plot and character. I struggled with this when creating my piece in this medium "The Better Woman", which can be found here: "The Better Woman" by Sally Eubanks

Sometimes, however Flash Fiction can prove to be a fun and interesting way to reach into the mind of the character, or even yourself as the author. People don't tend to think for hours at a time about long streams of events. Instead they focus on them in spurts. Small fragments of memory come to the mind to form a collective story. Writing Flash Fiction is a great way to convey this thought process and makes it perfect for memoirs, like this one about my childhood.

A Test of Will

I am ten years old. My hand taps up and down against the desk, My leg falls in sink, up and down, up and down. I chew on my shirt and look out the window. The grassy null is outside, the hill where we sometimes have recess and roll down on our sides. I wish I was out there instead of in here. I wish I was anywhere but here.
My teacher clears her throat and I stare back down at my desk. My test paper is neatly folded and my standard issue number two pencils rest on top. Sighing, I lay my head down. What else is there to do? I long for the novel inside the little cubby of my desk, the video game in my backpack.
I suffered through the mental strain of the FCAT and now I wait for the clock to strike one, singling the end of this purgatory the exam has left in its wake. I do not dread my scores, I always receive great marks. But the waiting… Oh, how I hate the waiting.
Bored, bored, bored; I am so bored. I groan and sit back up. I look at the cloak enclosed on the blue case of the wall. Ten more minutes to go, it might as well be ten more hours.  I look back at my test and open the first page. I grab my pencil and before I can stop myself, I am doodling all over the yellow scrap paper provided for math formulas.  Such is the way of the FCAT.
Flash Fiction is both fun and challenging. It can be a joy to read because it lacks the tedious length of many other short stories, perfect for the hustle and bustle of today's busy world. Try creating one for yourself.

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