Short shorts/ microlit/ flash fiction/ microfiction/ very short stories, by any other name would be as… umm… short.
The deadline for the national Newcastle Writers’ Festival/Joanne Burns Award 2016 is gaining on us – 31st August. See details here.
That might seem like ages away when you only need 200 words but great microlit has its own set of challenges.
What are the main challenges of writing such short pieces?
- An idea must be distilled into a ‘micro’-cosm, the essence of the idea that doesn’t lose its full flavour.
- Just like longer works the short form needs time: time to think, write, rewrite, think again, revise, edit.
- Every single word and phrase has to earn its place in the story, and most will carry more than one meaning.
- Imagery is important to all writing, but none more than microlit. A single image can save you hundreds of words. Writing is a visual art; paint pictures with words.
- Things don’t have to be explained, merely implied. This is the beauty of the form, that behind the words a whole world is peeping through.
- The micro-story has to say something. There has to be some deeper resonance or narrative insight. There must be the feeling that something important happens, otherwise it’s an anecdote or vignette.
- relinquish neatly tied-up conclusions for endings that keep the reader wondering about the story long after he/she reads the last word.
This post is already 50 words longer than the flash story you will enter in the competition. Did I mention the challenge of keeping to the word count?
So start writing now! Have fun and good luck!