East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Flash! (fiction)

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I’m struggling with flash fiction.
Well, ok, it’s not a titanic struggle, but still it’s giving me problems.
Now, there is not a proper definition of flash-fiction in terms of word-count: you’ll find a wild range of figures, from below 300 to up to 1000, and beyond.


But let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I’m working on a 1000 words story.
It’s hard.
And what makes it hard is genre.

A genre story includes a word, a paradigm, a setting.
There’s background events, there’s a more or less deep history, there’s a distinctive look and feel to the story world.
That takes up space.
As do characters, conflicts, dialogue, etc.

So, a flash fiction should be built on suggestions and hints, and offered to the reader as a puzzle, as one of those 3D toys that change shape depending on the angle from which you are watching them.

It is not easy at all.
The best way – for me at least – is, once the story has been outlined exactly like any other story, to write in excess of the target word count, and then cut the superfluous during a second pass/edit.
And still it’s not easy at all.

Ah, back to the writing pad!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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