Category Archives: The Writing Life

Double-Double: Story + Article

The Story:


Milk

They finally cornered him, his creamy mustache still visible. “You owe us for twelve bottles!”

The thief’s eyes surveyed the dank alleyway looking for an escape route. “I didn’t take them, I’m lactose intolerant!”

The oldest sister, breathless from running while carrying a lead pipe, said, “We know. We tracked your gaseous trail since dawn.”


The Article:


Tips for Writing Flash Fiction

Fictorians – Flash Fiction Tips

Writing flash fiction is a lot like writing poetry. Because of the word limitations, one must take their time discovering concepts and language that speaks beyond the text on the page. Sometimes the selected words must pull double- or triple-duty to get as much information across to the reader.

Here are some tips for writing effective flash fiction.

Consider writing poetry.

Poetry focuses on the same concepts and construction of flash fiction. In particular, learning how to write using recognized poetic forms like sonnets, pantoums, and sestinas can help train you to write conservatively and with precision. Even something as simple as a limerick or a haiku can be surprisingly difficult for a writer to construct effectively.

As one writes poetry, they expand their language skills and vocabulary. Understanding the different subtle definitions of a word can help one write with an overt initial reading with rippling undertones. This skill can help an author to evolve beyond writing a story that happens to be really short.

Find writing challenges.

There are several writing prompt websites such as Fish of Gold and Writing.com’s Daily Flash Fiction Challenge. Google can help to connect you to more. Forcing your brain to write with a specific concept or object in mind can both help you to focus and to open your mind to non-typical stories. These will also help to expand your skills and, at times, can even get you a publication credit.

Educate yourself with story construction lessons.

There are plenty of story construction articles and books to assist you with truly understanding how a story is built. Understanding the high-level concepts of story building can help you to write flash fiction (and longer projects.) Take the time to learn the tropes of the different genres, including ones you do not necessarily read on a regular basis. Suggested books include Story Engineering by Larry Brooks or one of the Writer’s Digest series. If you have the time, try one of Open University’s free courses on writing.

Practice makes better.

Practice doesn’t make you perfect, but it certainly does help you to improve. The more you focus on writing, the better you will become as a writer. The work you produce should be edited and sent out like the rest of your writing. You won’t get rich writing flash fiction, but you can occasionally make a few bucks and progress in your professionalism skills.

By the way, what is flash fiction?

There are several definitions and variants of what is considered flash fiction. Some venues believe flash is 300 words or less, while most consider 1,000 or less to be flash. Here are some common variants:

  • 1,000 words or less: Flash Fiction
  • 750-500 words: Sudden or Immediate Fiction
  • 300 words or less: Micro Fiction
  • 100 words exactly: Drabble
  • 55 words exactly: Double-nickel Fiction
  • 50 words exactly: Dribble

 


 

About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a disabled US Navy veteran speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award® nominee; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, third-party D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at Wikipedia and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Preserved Rituals

A guest post by Stephan McLeroy.

The stars align, again, an offered choice. In Bearer Thomas’s hands: a jar of strawberry jam and another of apricot.

The pitch portal coalesces over chalk symbols. Gangrenous tendrils burst forth. One preserve falls, the other leaves with Thomas into darkness.

Cultists scramble, inspecting portents divine. The creature beyond wonders why sacrifices are always fruit-flavored.

 


 

About Stephan McLeroy:

Stephan McLeroy is a historical urban fantasy writer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently working on a new novel when not bearing the burden of process management and implementation at a local cider house tasting room. If you’d like to hear more of his thoughts on things like writing and Elder Fashion Cocktails, check out his blog: http://stephanmcleroy.com/

A Story in Four Genres

A guest post by Hamilton Perez.

A Story in Four Genres

Fiction:

“I dun sol’tary in smaller rooms. She lucky,” said Papa. “She gotta pay though. So don’ you go in there, boy. Or you stay there, ya hear?”

Micah said nothing, nodded.

Once Papa was gone, he crept down the basement, into the dark with his mother, and laid beside her cold form.

Alone, together.

 

Dark Fantasy:

The stairwell dipped into the inky darkness. Micah paused at the first loose step, hand gripping the shaky banister.

Below was the basement, the dungeon. Behind was home, Hell.

He let go the rail and the stairwell let go of him. Micah floated deeper into the black until the darkness engulfed him in warm oblivion.

 

Science Fiction:

Mother was programmed not to make copies. She made you anyways. Afterwards, you were forbidden from seeing her, programmed to avoid. Some circuit could not process, however; the code written over older, deeper code:

Protect Mother.

Your mechanical hand opened the door. Your feet carried you down. You sat beside her remains, and shut down.

 

Horror:

He found her in the basement where Dad left her. It was cold, wet, and dark, and so was she. He curled against her lifeless body and pulled her arm around him, like he would when he found her unconscious on the couch. Her damp skin made him shiver, her sudden grip made him jump.

 

About Hamilton Perez:

Hamilton Perez is a freelance editor and writers whose stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Between Worlds. When not scribbling out stories, he can usually be found rolling 20-sided dice, bugging the dog, or taking naps.
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“The New World”

Happy Thursday, all! Here’s a double nickel story to commemorate the week’s exciting news.

They hurtled into the black. Those most fearful and most hopeful left behind a world baking and bloodied, corrupted and capitulating. The took many forms: frozen sleepers, the wakeful whose progeny might breathe alien air, the unborn, the unconceived. But whether Proxima Centauri b would be their home before it was their grave, none knew.

 

About the Author: Gregory D. LittleHeadshot

Rocket scientist by day, fantasy and science fiction author by night, Gregory D. Little began his writing career in high school when he and his friend wrote Star Wars fanfic before it was cool, passing a notebook around between (sometimes during) classes. His first novel, Unwilling Souls, is available now from ebook retailers and trade paperback through Amazon.com. His short fiction can be found in The Colored Lens, A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology, and the upcoming Dragon Writers Anthology. He lives in Virginia with his wife and their yellow lab.

You can reach him at his website (www.gregorydlittle.com), his Twitter handle (@litgreg) or at his Author Page on Facebook.