October 12, 2008

WRITING ADVICE: A First Report on the Flash Fiction Experiment

For the better part of a year, I've used my blog to field-test characters, situations and plots of novels I'm in different stages of writing. Each one has a different place in my "future publications" queue.

I'd never tried my hand a flash fiction before, so I did a bit of research -- if you're interested in a recap, I wrote about flashfic in July http://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/2008/07/writing-advice-absolutely-basic-flash.html
Google "flash fiction" and you'll get some 800,000 entries. Genie in ALADDIN has the perfect word picture for flashfic: "Phenomenal cosmic powers; itty bitty living space!"

I've asked people on my regular "blog-alert" list to read and comment on whichever flashfic series interested them. I've created three worlds where I explore the relationship of the people who live there and the events that take place there:

HEIRS OF THE SHATTERED SPHERES: Humans have finished an asteroid spacecraft whose mission is to deeply explore the Solar System with a crew of over 2000 and Ruby Marcillon as one of its captains. But there's also a secret mission: something happened sixty-five million years ago and evidence from debris on Earth, the Moon, Mercury and in the rings of Saturn clearly points to alien invasion. Emerald Marcillon's parents discovered much, much more than evidence in the Chicxulub crater -- and are murdered for it by a knife-footed spider robot that may be the last survivor of those invaders and whose ultimate goal is the genocide of Humanity.

THREAT OF MAGIC: Filled with strange life forms, Heartland had Technology that once made a life of peace and plenty for most. But self-proclaimed Wizard Qii wants nothing to do with Tech -- it doesn't make for good serfs -- and is using Magic to overthrow it. Kids from our world are leaking into Heartland and the Light Maker will join them to defeat the threat of Magic.

THIRTEEN SQUARE MILES: The pastor and sometimes odd members of an evangelical Christian church serve one another and their decidedly and wildly varied community rather than send full tithe and offerings to their Regional ruling body. When their official membership drops while attendance grows, that body threatens to close the church unless they toe the line.

The results? The Bransford Plots you see above (To see the genesis of a Bransford Plot -- see http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/06/do-you-have-plot.html) came out of the necessity of seeing to it that there was an overarching theme that each piece in each story line could hang from.

Twenty-two pieces of flash fiction are another result. Also -- though few people post comments on the flashfic, LOTS of people email me directly or talk to me face-to-face. The feedback has been excellent and has given me grist ("a term for milled grain") from the writer's mill!

Following a (to me) grueling schedule of flashfic on Thursdays and essays on Sunday has been good for my plotting mind. It's also made me produce when I'd rather putter.

Finally, I feel that I am much, much better at producing usable fiction. I actually LIKE several of the pieces and feel a sense of pride at producing them.

So -- for a first report, I'd say that writing flashfic in three different worlds has been a success!

What do you think?


Kosmo said...

I'd say it was a roaring success! Bravo. :)


Thanks kosmo -- for reading the blog, commenting and paying forward! GJS