Wednesday, April 1, 2015
>In preparation for next months homework -Flash Fiction piece on Loss. >Next month's meeting will be on Wednesday 6th May, and our Vice Chair, Neil Sehmbhy will be stepping in to cover as Chair for the meeting. Neil has set Flash Fiction as the homework for the May meeting, details below... >In preparation for next months homework -Flash Fiction piece on Loss. >Flash fiction or micro fiction is a very short story max 500 words but it can be shorter with a beginning, middle and end. >How to write flash fiction >1. Start in the middle. >You don't have time in this very short form to set scenes and build character. >2. Don't use too many characters. >You won't have time to describe your characters when you're writing ultra-short. Even a name may not be useful in a micro-story unless it conveys a lot of additional story information or saves you words elsewhere. >3. Make sure the ending isn't at the end. >In micro-fiction there's a danger that much of the engagement with the story takes place when the reader has stopped reading. To avoid this, place the denouement in the middle of the story, allowing us time, as the rest of the text spins out, to consider the situation along with the narrator, and ruminate on the decisions his characters have taken. If you're not careful, micro-stories can lean towards punchline-based or "pull back to reveal" endings which have a one-note, gag-a-minute feel – the drum roll and cymbal crash. Avoid this by giving almost all the information we need in the first few lines, using the next few paragraphs to take us on a journey below the surface. >4. Sweat your title. >Make it work for a living. >5. Make your last line ring like a bell. >The last line is not the ending – we had that in the middle, remember – but it should leave the reader with something which will continue to sound after the story has finished. It should not complete the story but rather take us into a new place; a place where we can continue to think about the ideas in the story and wonder what it all meant. A story that gives itself up in the last line is no story at all, and after reading a piece of good micro-fiction we should be struggling to understand it, and, in this way, will grow to love it as a beautiful enigma. And this is also another of the dangers of micro-fiction; micro-stories can be too rich and offer too much emotion in a powerful one-off injection, overwhelming the reader, flooding the mind. >6. Write long, then go short. >Example- >Derailed >All day I spent looking for you just just like the day before. Deep beneath the bustle of the train station, I retraced our steps along platforms and tunnels, travelling the route we shared together. If I look closely I can see the mark your shoulder made against the freshly painted wall. >I remember how you found time to curse, even as you told me it was over. >Silently I scan the crowds, hopeful for a flash of red, a glimpse of your Korn t shirt, or the clack of your heeled boots on the tiled floor of Victoria station. >I first saw you, months before I mustered the courage to speak to you. Once we sat next to each other drinking coffee, knees touching under the table. >I told people about the woman on the train, way before we spoke, as if our future was predetermined. >For the first time in my life I was grounded, calm. I understood my destination and who I'd be travelling with. >One evening you were late, I panicked, almost leaving the train. But then you were there, squeezing in beside me. >The spike of your heel stabbed my foot, but as you apologised, our eyes met and the rest was easy. We discovered we lived two streets from each other. >That evening as we emerged into the bright sunshine, the world was bright, not grey. My heart raced and my hands trembled as I bounded up the stairs to my flat. >"Guess who I spoke to today?" I gasped. >My flat mate, Jenny, rolled her eyes. >"Don't tell me, the girl on the train?" >My phone beeped as I nodded.Jenny winked. "That'll be her now." >Checking my message, you'd text "Hello you! xxx." >We fit together seamlessly and met each others family and friends. It was amazing. >Jenny moved out and you moved in, 'Our place' we called it. >I never realised anything had changed until you told me. I didn't notice the late nights or believed there was someone else, but the signs were there, even if I ignored them. I marvelled at how beautiful you were even as you spelled it out for me, my back against the wall, your eyes distant. >You were leaving.Out of town. With him. >Even then, I didn't want believe it.That was the last time I saw you. >I keep coming here, expecting you to walk straight past me. I imagine you unchanged. Unlike me. I sit on the bench nearest the tunnel, the same as everyday beneath the map of the underground. A loose corner of the poster on the wall opposite flaps in a rush of stale air as the tannoy sings out the approach of the next train. >Without hesitation, I rise and jump onto the line. Just as I did before. >One day I'll find you and take you with me. Together, forever like we should be.