Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Essence of Flash Fiction

I read an interesting interview with flash fiction writer David Gaffney over at Nik's blog.

There were some interesting points. Some I agreed with like:
"...making flash fiction stories is like cooking spinach; you fill a pan with enough leaves to feed an elephant then after a few minutes all you have left is a coating of thin green sludge on the bottom" And this: "Flash fiction don’t just cut to the chase, it cuts to the point of the chase..."

And some I very much disagreed with:
"...Maybe flash is a male thing like minimalism -there are no cushions or scented candles in flash fiction"
Male thing? No. no. no. Women also can be brief and to the point, sir. And I don't know if you met my 7th grade English teacher but he was a male and he couldn't find a brief point if it stabbed him in the eye.

Mr Gaffney has some very fun flash here. I particularly like the one about a windscreen that is set to the man's glasses prescription. That would be very handy, though of course a pain when you need a new prescription or want to sell the car.

I wrote a flash piece for the recently ended Chocolate contest over at Help I need a Publisher. I didn't win (Congrats to the winners!!) so in honour of Halloween, which in a former life was my favourite holiday ever- I mean costumes AND a bag full of sweets- I am posting my story below.It was supposed to 1) include chocolate and 2) be scary. I find children who kill, especially their parents, very scary. Possibly something I should have checked out....

The Etiquette of Chocolate
I awake thirsty and head to the kitchen. I pass Mama sitting; an empty box of chocolates on her lap.
But then I stop.
Something is wrong. Her head droops at an odd angle. Sticky steps forward and I see her bloody, sliced neck.
Are they still here?
Panicked, I back away-I must save my sister!
I turn back and she's standing in the hallway, her tiny face smeared with chocolate. “Oh Rebeca…. thank God!”
Light from the bare bulb flicks off something clutched in her small hand. Confused, I look at her, and then at the knife.
“She wouldn’t share.”


Anonymous said...

That's seriously scary. Ahhhhhh!
I didn't win either. :( ~Miriam

Lauri said...

Next time, Miriam. :) I was a bit relieved as they couldn't send the chocolate to Botswana and I have many UK friends and was already wondering who I would send it to.

Anonymous said...

Two of my UK friends were vying for the chocolate. I was quite tempted by one of the offers.... Perhaps it's for the best.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I did laugh at the minimalism comment - and the candles and cushions!

My next book with Salt is a collection of micro-fictions - but then this is getting perilously close to a 'Mine's smaller than yours!' argument.


Lauri said...

Vanessa I saw your 7 word story at the other comp- that's pretty tiny. We'll soon be writing one word stories - or is that "new vocabulary"?

bonita said...

wow I didn't realize that all those snippets I 've been saving until I have time to expand them actually have a name!!! whooopppeee
there are times when that is the appropriate reaction to hoarding chocolate

Elspeth Futcher said...

Well done, Lauri. Minimal words for maximum impact. You can't do better than that.


Lauri said...

Bonita- Of course flash fiction is THE THING nowadays. Get those snippets working!

Thanks Elspeth!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Yikes! You scared me.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic story and completely true. I mean, who wouldn't kill for chocolate? LOL.

Helen Ginger said...

Aaakkk! Always share the chocolate, that's the moral of your story.

Straight From Hel

T. Powell Coltrin said...

That was a great piece well done in gooey dangerous chocolate.

PS I'm not above fighting for chocolate.


Lauri said...

But the question is Teresa- would you kill for it??

Yes, Helen aka Aesop, I believe that is the moral of the story. Ha!

Selma- Especially if you're a psychopathic little girl.

Elizabeth glad I scared you. I think I'm missing Halloween a bit. Maybe I should dress up and go around and scare people in the village...