I just found out one of my flash fiction pieces has been accepted for publication. Mind you, it’s probably going to be a really long time before it shows up, like a year and a half or so. Still, as they say, any publicity is good publicity. The publisher is Vine Leaves Press. They electronically publish a story every day–they call them 50 Give or Take, and the stories are, you guessed it, 50 words more or less. In Novembers they publish an anthology of the stories from the past year or so. Mine apparently will show up in the 2024 anthology, but maybe not. It’s story number 1436. As of this morning they hadn’t broken 1100. I don’t mind, really. Getting published is a waiting game, decidedly not for the impatient.
I sometimes wonder why I like writing short stories and flash fiction. I suspect it’s because I’m lazy. Still, writing a good story of whatever length takes work. My novels, Beloved Lives and The Ginger Bread House (the latter currently being reviewed by a publisher), aren’t epic 100,000 word tomes. Wasting Water wasn’t even a novel. I’m suspecting Wickham’s Daughter is going to be a lot longer just because there is so much story to tell, but it’s not my usual modus operandi. The other novels still in the doodling phase of development may or may not be longish. It’s hard to tell at this stage.
The cool thing about writing short stories and flash fiction is that you are creating a little jewel, self contained and concise. The characters don’t take a lot of side streets and get lost. They go where they need to and do what they need to do. You tell their whole story in a snapshot. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a flash piece, usually less than a thousand words, shows a moment in time, a significant event contained within a careful word count where each word matters.
During this National Write a Novel in a Month November, I’ve taken a little detour from writing my current novel to jot down a flash piece that has been stirring around in my mind for more than a year. Just because flash pieces are short doesn’t mean you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, developing them, writing, rewriting, and visiting them again and again. I am pretty lazy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work at writing when my muse pokes me. And she can be a real pain.
Now, back to the novel.
Image: Small things. By Marilyn Evans