Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No further Tuesday prompts

For the past two years, and then some, I have been supplying a Tuesday writing prompt.  I was once told I was wasting my time having a prompt each week, but I knew how much my students needed those little boosts to get them started, I felt that translated well here.  However, over the time that I have been doing this and visiting Twitter and other sites, it has been made very clear that for those searching for inspiration, there are plenty of prompts out there.  This is not the go-to place.  Perhaps if I had provided a daily prompt, I would be looking at this differently, but that is not the case.  So no more prompts as of yesterday. 

On the other hand, I do still want to focus on the variety of writing, writing tools and aspects of writing.  So with that in mind, let's talk about flash (or instant) fiction, the short, short.

I love this style of writing because it is so immediate and so open to providing a single deep impression.  So what is basic to the flash fiction model?  Knowing where to cut the plot line is crucial. You only get 250 to about 700 words to work with, so you must cut to the meat of your story.
  • Leave off the exposition, the initiating action and even the complication.  Start in the trouble, the crucial decision moment. 
  • End at or just before the conclusion with no wrapping it up.  Let your conclusion be inferred -- without being obvious.  Let the reader think it through, the implications developing as the story is reviewed or reread. 
  • Once the story starts in the action just prior to the climax, bring up the pitch in the question being asked or the tipping moment of shifting gears. 
  • Then tumble the reader off the cliff or up the mountain. 
It is very simple and ridiculously complex.   

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