Friday, August 22, 2014

Experimenting with Segmented Flash Fiction

Since I primarily write flash fiction, I typically focus on the genre itself when I reflect on writing. Flash fiction, which is of the single serving variety, aims to get to the point and do so fast. Your goal is to create a world or series of emotions or entire story arc in a loosely defined range of say 1-700 words, something that is a page or two at most. These works are attacked with a scalpel—unneeded language is excised, sentences are rewritten in the effort to be poetically potent. A writer can spend days trying to cut a few words, say the two or three needed to get under Nano Fiction’s 300 word count, without paring away meaning.

Lately, in an effort to refine my art, I’ve been writing segmented flash. That is, flash fiction that consists of multiple segments/parts of 50-100 words. Each segment is a story within itself, but together, they create the full art and desired effect. The mystery is protracted over the multiple sections but each is terse. My first successful foray came in the form of the rather odd piece of flash, Wintergreen Flakes (seen here in a 6 section format) that was featured in issue 5.4 of The Molotov Cocktail: A Projectile For Incendiary Flash Fiction (in a 5 section version).

Thus, as fellow writers, I urge you to give this effort a try. Aim for five sections of 100 words on the dot, eight to ten sections of 50. Either way, you will be forced to think, hone and isolate. The editing will draw out both your voice and your purpose, and in doing so, lead to a deeper, stronger bit of writing. As always, feel free to drop me a line and share, we can edit, and edit alike. 

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