Writing is a constant state of discovery. I’ve recently found two new ways to express the writer part of me: Flash fiction and cat poetry.
I’ve wanted to learn to write flash fiction from the day I first heard the term and had to look it up on Google to find out what it was. Since it takes me longer to write short fiction than an entire full-length book, I couldn’t imagine the process of conveying any sort of attention-grabbing tale in under 1000 words.
Flash fiction isn’t a new thing, having roots that go back to pre-history in the form of fables and parables. These extremely short works began reinventing themselves as they regained popularity a few decades ago with names like the “short-short story” and “sudden fiction”. As flash fiction evolved, it split even further into sub-genres. Flash, itself, got shorter, and dribble (the 50-word story), drabble (the 100-word story), 140-character stories known as twitterature, as well as the impossible-to-imagine six-word-story came about. I’ve read successful examples of all but still had no clue how the writers came up with their work.
When in doubt, learn from those who know. I took a workshop in flash fiction and this is what I found out:
FF “implies” a larger story.
FF is about giving the reader hints.
FF is about characters.
Describe parts instead of the whole.
Chose a universal theme.
Condense the story by picking the right words.
*FF can be a useful tool in blurb writing and even advertising.
The six-word-story was my nemesis, but apparently it’s all about hint. It’s a picture, a still life. It should evoke the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks however they see fit. Here are my first attempts:
Anxiety. Short of breath. Not again!
Sign reads “Lost cat”. Heartbreak. Hope.
Six words? Give me a break!
What are some of your six-word-stories? I’d love to read them in the comment section.
And I haven’t forgotten about cat poetry. More on that next time.
Check out more by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer at: