February 25, 2008

‘Flash’ Fiction

Posted in Reading, Writing tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:57 pm by lifelessonsfromwriting

So, I’ve recently been reading a lot of ‘flash fiction’, which is not, as I had hoped, Flash Gordon fan-fiction; no, it’s terribly literary, Joyce-like stuff. (‘Joyce-like’ in the sense that the stories tend to end with startling abruptness and value unusual structures over actual content. That’s right, I went there).

All joking aside, however, I think flash fiction is great. It lets writers tell a story or present an idea quickly, and I can well imagine that the skills people pick up writing this way can carry over to writing longer fiction, where you can be far more indulgant and long-winded. I’ll give it a shot now and then, so expect to see some actual fiction up here soon.

I’ve been struggling lately with the issue of novel length. Not because I’m worried about hurting the book’s chance of being published (my writing will no doubt do enough damage on its own), but because the story could work either as a single, fairly long book or as two medium-length ones. I’m leaning towards the latter; there’s a very definite ‘cutting off’ point where one stage of the story ends and the next begins, and I can’t imagine simply moving on to a new chapter once I’ve reached that point. It’s hard to describe, but it feels as if doing that wouldn’t do it justice, somehow.

Of course, that’s a concern for the future. Right now it’s nearly nine o’ clock in the evening and I’ve spent most of the day writing in comments sections here. Admittedly that adds up to several thousand words output, but it’s not moving the novel forward any.

Continuing with my non-fiction reading streak, I’m planning on starting Carl Sagan’s Cosmos tonight. I was planning on checking out Pale Blue Dot because I was actually looking at the pale blue dot photo, but I’ve apparently lost the copy I bought years ago. I’ve been a huge fan of Sagan’s work ever since reading The Demon Haunted World, which I would encourage everyone to read. More than any other writer I know of, Sagan was incredibly good at sharing the sense wonder and awe inherent in any study of the Universe.

Current word count for [untitled]: 17, 534

Target word count by the end of the day: 18,100

Current word count for [untitled]: 19,031. Booya. Tomorrow I’m going for 20k.

PS: If you’re a fan of Yeats (and you should be!) and have read his poem An Irish Airman Forsees His Death, track down a copy of Keane’s song ‘A Bad Dream’. You’ll get a kick out of it, trust me 😉