Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Renee is Writing Short

I like to write short, but not because I am 4'11" tall.
As a poet of course I love the intensity that appears in a few short lines of well chosen words and images. In fact haiku and its 3 line format and tanka with its 5 line format appeal to me quite nicely. All the poems I write tend to come out short and even when reading poems, now or as a child, I would pass by anything longer than two pages. I prefer the shorter forms as they tell such big stories and paint such huge pictures with only a few words.

Though I love to read novels, when I write I love the succinctness of short stories and flash fiction. Yes, I know that part of the reason is that with a full time job my available time to write is brief and the thought of delving into novel writing is a scary plunge. I can see it taking years to finally finish a novel length story and revise it to the point where it can be published. 

On the other hand, writing flash fiction of 1,000 words or less is quite attractive. Following a prompt, or some idea that plants itself in my head, can garner me a first draft in a half hour or so. After that I can type it out, print it and let it steep for a couple days. In the meantime I can move ahead to new first drafts.

Once the steeping process is complete I will go over the draft with a red pen, moving things around, weeding out unnecessary words, smoothing out metaphors and dumping adverbs and extraneous adjectives. I might take out or add whole sentences to make the story more understandable and emotional.

Then onto the final revisions where the story takes on a polished shape. In a week I could have 4 or 5 completed flash stories to send out or add to other stories to make a chapbook. 

This quick unwinding of stories and characters and the short turnover time makes this a more doable process that gives me stories that can be sent out and hopefully published.

I already have a few ideas for flash stories that are connected and may one day produce a novel but for now I am sticking to chapbook groups of short tales.

This makes sense to me and I look forward to sharing some of them with you here.

For any writer in search of some prompts for short stories look at Roberta Allen's book "Flash Fiction"

Go ahead, give it a try and happy scribing!