East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A short story

Last night I wrote a short story.
Big deal, you say.
Well, yes, I do write (also) short stories for a living, so writing a story is no big deal. But this was somewhat different.

First, because this was to be a 300-words flash fiction, with a very clear theme. And I’m not so hot about flash fictions.
Also, it’s an entry in a contest – and I do not do contests as a personal policy. You do, fine. I don’t.
Third… well, I wrote it in thirty minutes, after dinner, while I was waiting to start a hangout with my friends. It was just good fun – and I needed it.

And while we wait for the powers that be to decide on the contest winner, you can read the entries for free on the contest promoter’s website – just go to the Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores website. The link should bring you to the right place. Scroll down. My short is called Legacy.
And follow the guys, because they are doing a great job.


A story a day, for a month … what could ever go wrong?

Let it be known that it is all my friend Claire’s fault.
Me, I was minding my own business, trying to type faster and close as soon as possible all the works I have hanging and…
Really, it’s her fault!

But over at her blog Scribblings, Clare wrote about this thing called #StoryADayMay, the brainchild of writer Julie Duffy.
Basically, they send you a prompt every day, and you write a story.
As simple as that.
And I thought… why not?

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Writing 1000 words

Between yesterday and today, I wrote and submitted two flash fictions.
The respective mags guidelines were pretty clear: not a single word above 1000.
Now I always have a problem with that… including the title, or not?
But apart from that, why not?

I have been working on polishing my flash fiction skills – for what they are – for quite a while now. I am normally a long-winded guy: I feel more comfortable writing a 4000-words story rather than a 3000-words one, 6000 is even better, 8000 is really good.
Publishers’ guidelines usually leave a certain margin – they tell you 4/6000, and maybe note that the sweet spot is 4500.
Flash fiction does not leave much room for wriggling about – if it’s no-more than 1000, that’s it.

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Writing from experience

Reader, I did it! About two hours ago – at the time of publishing this – I sent a short story of mine to a literary magazine, my first literary fiction submission ever. Mainstream as hell, no flashing swords, no roaring rockets, no snarky adventurers in this one. Serious fiction, yessir.
There goes my pulp street cred.

The venue to which I have submitted my piece is so classy and literary and posh that they don’t pay the stories they publish, but in exposure – but I was happy to break my rule, never to give away my work for free, because, first, it was a 330-words piece that I wrote in thirty minutes (and edited in two hours, more about that later), second, I considered more a writing exercise than work, and third, because it is a story I want somebody to publish.

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The Last Ride

I have been experimenting with flash fiction, recently – that is, short-short stories, under 1000 words. They are reasonably fast to write, and there seems to be quite a market for the format out there, so, why not?

And as the man said, I’ve suffered for my art, now it’s your turn – and therefore I’ve just posted a 1000-words story called The Last Ride to my supporters, as a Patreon exclusive.

It’s a very small thriller set inside an elevator.

It’s good to be my patrons.


Second submission: flash fiction

I’m well pleased with myself – not only I sent off the second submission of the year (I’ll have to put a counter here somewhere), but it’s a 1000-words flash fiction, a format I am always very uneasy with. I tend to be a long-winded sort of guy. I like long dialogues, and that’s not necessarily the best thing to do in a flash.

One thing I found works just fine is to have a strong idea of the conclusion. I’d go as far as to say that the last line should be the first thing to write, in a flash fiction.

Anyway, the story is now in the hands of the editors – and their judgment will be final. In the meantime, I’ll start working on the next short-short story. It would be nice to have it finished by tonight – 1500 words, no more.

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597 words

flash_fictionAnd what the heck, I did it.
597 words of science fiction story, and quite good it is – if I do say so myself – and with almost one hour before the deadline I set myself.
Now all I have to wait is for the publisher’s approval.
But it was a fun experience – all it took was a long walk in the cold of the night, to get my ideas finally come together.
So much I liked the experience, that I am really looking forward at writing more of this short-short fiction.
And if in the end I’ll publish it, even better.