The emergence of Flash Fiction as a genre of writing is something I’d given little thought to until I was inspired to prepare and submit some ‘mini-short’ stories to Celapene Press for their annual Short and Twisted Anthology.
I was thrilled to have some success, but having found the process of creating these short stories so enjoyable, I was itching to discover further opportunities to immerse myself in the genre. It’s safe to say, I was hooked.
Until then, writing picture book manuscripts had been my sole focus, however, when I considered the two genres, I recognised the similar challenges they set for a writer to:
- · make every word matter,
- · build a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, and,
- · leave the reader feeling something.
Although new to me, Flash Fiction is by no means a new genre.
It goes by many names such as Short Fiction, Sudden Fiction or even Smoke Long Fiction (takes as long to read as it does to smoke a cigarette...), and it can be anywhere up to 1000 words in length.
Ultimately, this short form of story-telling provides a writer with the opportunity to write with purpose, to develop story-telling skills, to exhibit restraint and to build confidence.
In addition, it provides time poor readers with an opportunity to embrace literature without committing to longer forms of prose.
As part of my recent studies in writing for children through TAFE SA's Adelaide College of the Arts I was pointed in the direction of Australian children’s author Sheryl Gwyther.
I signed up to her blog and soon discovered that in addition to being a successful children's author, she’s obsessed with Flash Fiction.
Sheryl is responsible for the 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge on Facebook, now in its second year. Inspired by her, and buoyed by my positive experiences in the genre, it didn't take me long to jump on board.
What an invaluable opportunity!
Not only is it a privilege to read and comment on the work of such a talented group of individuals, but it challenges me to put myself and my work under the spotlight with thrilling immediacy.
It’s also introduced further opportunities in the genre such as the Bath Flash Fiction Award - a unique Award with no deadline, and published works such as Tania Hershman's My Mother was an Upright Piano (Tangent Books, 2012) - a collection of 56 short stories.
I’ll leave you now with one of the finest examples of Flash Fiction, best known as Ernest Hemingway's six word novel:
‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.’