Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ten Reasons to Try Flash Fiction + One More

In Kay Marie Porterfield’s article, 10 Reasons to Write Flash Fiction she states, “In addition to being fun to write, flash fiction boosts your writing skills.” It’s a good article, with some very fine points regarding the benefits writers garner when they write flash fiction, but . . .

I think the root of the problem of why I receive so many poor submissions in the slush pile of the flash fiction zine I help edit, is the perception that writing flash fiction is fun.

Writers may indeed enjoying writing flash fiction, but they need to be mindful before they submit their creations—mindful that their work has more substance than the mere joy of creation.

Camille Renshaw’s article The Essentials of Micro-Fiction contains one more essential element of writing flash fiction that writers need to address that isn't fully addressed in 10 Reasons to Write Flash Fiction. In The Essentials of Micro-Fiction, Renshaw refers to a key requirement of literary short short fiction: implication. “There’s no room for life stories. Just enough for resonance,” she writes. And she’s right!

I see far too many life stories disguised as flash fiction in my submission files. And what is worse, these life stories or slices-of-life vignettes don’t even display a “resonance” or have any sense of implication—an implied meaning; implicit significance; an indirect indication: something that is suggested . . .

Greater than scene . . . is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.—Eudora Welty

When writing flash fiction, it’s fine to have fun, but the end result of enjoying the process has to be the creation of a piece that resonates.

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