In case you missed it, this is the last week of anything goes at the speakeasy. For yeah write #78, we’re moving to a fiction and poetry only format. We’re celebrating with a four week Broken Magic short fiction drunken hoe-down. I’ll be revamping the speakeasy’s FAQ over the next few days, and I’ll Tweet about it often. No story left behind.
Stories under 1000 words are called flash fiction. This is my favourite style to read, because, as Stephen King wrote:
…a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger. That is not, of course, the same thing as an affair or a marriage, but kisses can be sweet, and their very brevity forms their own attraction.
Flash just does the job faster, and that kiss should knock the reader for loop. These stories can be enjoyed in one sitting, revealing a complete narrative in a short body of text. They should read as though they were written with ease, but in reality, every word has to fight to justify its place in a sentence. There is no wasting verbiage in short fiction and there is no room for the author to trumpet self-indulgent phrasing and false sentimentality. If you’re writing to impress yourself, that’s what you’ll get. If you’re writing for your audience, they’ll know it and beg you for more.
The practicalities of short fiction require a protagonist, a conflict, and a resolution. Because we’re working with so few words, we have to make implications about some of these elements, so the reader can infer things necessary to know. This is the tricky part of the writing. We’ll review that, briefly, over the next couple days. Stay tuned also for more information about the speakeasy changes and the Broken Magic party. Think about the spooky stories you will write in the coming weeks that will knock our socks off. Feel free to share tips or ask questions in comments.
In the meantime, the speakeasy at yeah write #77 is open! For some of you, this will be your last submission to this grid. We hope you’ll visit often and look forward to reading you on the challenge grid.