Archive for the ‘ Flash Fiction ’ Category

Damned I’m not Not Late Getting Started Again

Damned if I’m not late getting started again, but it’s not my fault this time. No, I blame day, that being last night.
How can I blame a period of time equal to a fraction of the rotation of the earth? Easy, I went to sleep at 0100, that is 1:00 AM for the twenty-four-hour clock challenged.
You see, I sit up with my lovely wife until she falls asleep, approximately 2345. (Subtract 1200 form the number to read the time.) Then, after watching a few minutes of The Late Show With Steven Colbert, I decide why not read for a while. One thing led to another, and I start editing back over yesterday’s writing.
Suddenly, it’s 0100. (If you can’t read that go back to my second paragraph.
See what I mean, not my fault at all.

Well, only so much exhaustion can be fixed with a cup of coffee.

Ah, much better. Now, where was I? Oh, yes.
The alarm blares at 0520. I wake up, stab my alarm to death with my finger, and glance at my wife and say, “Time to get up, Dear.”
“Five more minutes,” says Dear.
What is a man to do? So, I give her five minutes.
“Five more.”
Now I start feeling like the witch hunter in Salem, Massachusets who in trying to seduce a confession from a suspect witch dropped a rock on his chest only to hear, “More weight.”
You probably see where this is going but being a writer, I can’t stop.

It’s like an addiction, and there is no twelve step program.

Five minutes later. “Dear…

“One more minute.”
“I have to wake up the boys.”
“One more minute.”

Then up she pops like a devil from a Jack-in-the-box. Strip from her Tee-J. (That is a t-shirt she sleeps in.) Bathroom break. Brush teeth. Shower.
A few minutes while I wake up my son.
Dressed, we run downstairs where she fixes breakfast to eat from her desk at work and takes most of the coffee.
Son #1 comes downstairs, bleary-eyed. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug and the door.

I need to compress time here, a bit, so consider this a brief trip through a small wormhole. (Obligatory Science Fiction Term.)

Boys fed and dropped off at school, I return home, sit my cold cup of coffee on the end table and recline with a lie to myself. I will just close my eyes for a minute.
1100, Oh, shit!

Damned if I’m not late getting started again, but it’s not my fault this time.

Now that we’ve reached that sudden moment of Déjà vu for you, I need to go to work.

Writer’s Log 01.12.2018-0758

Good morning all you beautiful people!
Woke a bit earlier this morning, and begin what has become a comforting ritual, beginning my Log. Putting words on a page may be tedious to some, but I find the quiet pop of keys falling, and the appearance of black letters on a white screen soothing in a way that escapes my definition.
Of course, there is the annoyance of the occasional misspelled words or grammar mistake that I must fix, but that annoyance is more like biting into a peppercorn in a delicious meal, a rush of pepper than gone.

Shift, by Frank Darbe
“Two o’clock in the fucking AM on a smoky night with no clouds and only the light from the overglow of distant fires, Toss sat on the goose seat of a Harley Sportster with his arms around the waist of a beautiful woman. He lived a young man’s dream, and all he could think about after hours of driving East was that his ass hurt from his knees to his neck.”
Chapter 3: Chasing Ghosts
Available at JaCol Publishing and Amazon

Writer’s Log – Supplemental – 1628: I wrote a Flash Fiction piece titled, “The Path Most Demanding” using the painting by Johann Georg von Meyer. 812 words.

Painting by Johann Georg von Meyer

A Writer’s Plan:
So far, I have pursued this without a pl;an, other than published a book. Well I’ve done that and now I need to move on. I intend to try something a little different. Writing a series of Novella’s that will add up to a larger novel. Novella’s can be as short as 20,000 words and upwards to 40,000. I want to aim at 30,000 words. I can write one in thirty days or less. For a series, I can have each novel complete on its own, and series arcs.

I am already working on a Novella. I am going to make this either a duology or a trilogy. It will be Science Fiction of the Space Opera genre. It will run like a series of modules in a game, one leading to the next but each being independent, capable of standing alone.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 01.13.2019-0048
I have written the basic background for the series of Novellas. I suspect it will be a Trilogy. The first novella will be the gathering of the three primary characters and their escape from Breakersbore in search of an ancient colony ship.

Flash Fiction Prompt – Crash Scene

I found the image below striking. It catches a moment of tragedy.
My response was the Science Fiction Story “Crash Scene” submitted to Flash Fiction Online.

What is your response?

Flash Fiction Prompts

Anything can be a prompt for Flash Fiction. I tend to like images because pictures have a way of evoking emotion and memory. This old song works perfectly as a prompt. What does this romantic ballad say to you?

My answer to this prompt became the Flash Fiction story, “It Ain’t Bogey and Bacall,” in submission to Every Day Fiction

Rules of the Road for Writing Flash Fiction

1. Study the Form

Flash Fiction is brief, disciplined. A maximum of 1,000 words, they leave no room for complex character development, convoluted plots, or long character arcs. Though the form can be used with any genre, its limitations are best understood after careful study. Flash Fiction pieces can be read in five minutes or less. Spend an hour or two reading stories in your target genre. Make copies of stories that appeal to you to serve as examples.

2. Writing Prompts are Your Friends

A writing prompt, be it an image, a sentence outline of a story, or a character is a rich source of story ideas. You can use your own ideas, but you should not ignore the wealth of prompts that exist. There are many sites on the internet. Spend some time seeking out a source of prompts that can be used for your own stories. Take a few minutes or ten (it’s all good) and choose one that stimulates your story buds.

3. Begin writing “In Media Res,” in the middle of things.

Now, write!

Really, what did you think happens next? You knew you had to start sooner or later. Get a nice cup of something to drink.—It doesn’t have to be coffee, though why the hell not? Assume the position in your favorite writing spot. Set a timer for an hour. (That part is important.) Now, write! Don’t stop! It’s only a 300 to 1000 word first draft. You’re not writing an epic here. Don’t worry about it being good. Get the story down. Make it complete.

Oh, and remember to write in media res because you don’t have time to go looking for the beginning.

4. Limit the Number of Characters.

One is good. Two is optimum. You don’t have time to describe or characterize more than that. In 300 to 800 words, your characters are, at best sketches. Hold the ruffles and flourishes for your regular shorts stories, novels, and epics.

5. Follow Classic Story Structure (AKA Freytag’s Pyramid) (Unless you like experimental, that’s Okay, too)

Give it exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement. Don’t freak out, man. This is classic storytelling, and you’ve been doing this since you told your first story, even if you wouldn’t know Freytag from a Maytag. All these aspects of the story will be there. I bring this up because dénouement, (resolution, revelation, or catastrophe, the untying of the knots of the plot) has a special place. If you end your story abruptly, whether it be through the natural flow of the story or a radical twist that leaves people gasping, you can’t just drop your readers off the page. A little falling action gives readers a chance to think about what they read and gives the change in your character’s solidity.

6. Editing

You know the drill, spellcheck, grammar (it matters), go over the story for errors. If you have a friend or belong to a critique group get them to read it. (I belong to an incredible group on Facebook where people line up to criticize me.)

Second drafts are better drafts, and it’s only 300 to 1000 words.

6. Editing – Make Your Title a Hook.

In a Flash Fiction Story, every word must work for you. This is doubly true of the title. The title will be the first words consumed, and you want them to taste delicious. Put your best effort to edit your title so that it contributes to the story and draws a reader in.

7. Editing – The End: Make Your last line memorable

The last line is that rare chance for another first impression. When the readers finish your story after about an average 3.5 minutes, you want to leave them a reason to remember your name.

8. Submission

Not to me. As a writer, you are your own person. No, there are hundreds of places to publish your Flash Fiction. Check out Writer’s Digest. (You can find them in books stores.) Look for markets. You can also Google “Flash Fiction Markets” and check out one that sounds good. (Or just close your eyes and throw a dart.)

Many of the markets use the “Submittable” application. There is no more painless method to submit your stories.

9. What Next? (Jeez, Do I Have to Tell You Everything?)

Wash, Rinse, Repeat!

Set a goal per week, from one to however many you think you can do. Writing a novel or larger project? Flash Fiction takes an hour or two a week per story. They will teach you to start and finish stories.

Well, don’t just SIT there. WRITE SOMETHING!

A Plan for Flash Fiction

There is a huge market for Flash Fiction, much of it unpaid, but a published story is a published story.

Today, I wrote another Flash Fiction piece, “The Box.” (300 words) As a writing prompt, I used an image of an old fashioned, black analog dial telephone. Memories of my grandmothers party line and the old Phone Exchange numbers, individual rings brother out a story about loss an dealing with death, particularly of my mother.

It could be considered Magical Realism. I have no problem with that.

Over the next three days, I will write more, and then submit them to Copper Nickel or elsewhere.