Flash Fiction, Saviour Of The Creativity

Flash Fiction, Saviour Of The Creativity


Not that I’m listening to Queen or anything.

I’ve been reading considerably more than I’ve been writing recently, but I feel like that might be on the edge of changing. Bad timing, really, since I need to be working for my exams this summer and don’t have time to go delving into a novel, but it feels good to flex my writing muscles a bit. It’s still ages since I wrote any poetry, but I’ve been trying my hand at a few other bits and pieces.

I’ll start with the most extraordinary: for the first time in nearly two years, I posted a piece of writing on Protagonize.com, which was a response to one of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever participated in one of those, but the picture he shared just caught my imagination, and a 1000-word story seemed more manageable than most other things I’ve tackled recently. So, it’s called Oberon Is Here, and if you like, you can read it. It’s basically unedited, but I had fun with it.

Protagonize was a hugely formative influence on my writing and I met some of my closest writing friends on there. I credit it with massively improving my writing by encouraging me to write every day, prompting me to take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2009, and generally feeding my writing habits.

However, like many websites I adored when I was thirteen, I gradually stopped using it. This was partly because I didn’t want to post work that I might later like to publish or enter into competitions in case of copyright problems, and partly because the community there had been slowly changing so that it was no longer made up of the people I had originally worked with, and I found it harder to participate. Instead I focused on writing novels that I shared with a few people instead of posting publicly, and only occasionally put anything up.

Today was my first time contributing to the site since April 13th, 2013. Since the story needed to be posted publicly so that I could link to it, Protagonize seemed like a good place to put it. It was more a writing exercise than anything else, and I had fun with it.

The other thing I’ve been working on recently is a little more typical for me. With my Death and Fairies series I’m always writing disconnected scenes, mostly from later points in the series, that one day I’ll be able to slot into the story or otherwise adapt. However, book two is really the one I should write next, and I’ve had absolutely no inspiration for it whatsoever.

I’ve known a bit about it since the summer of 2013: I’ve known that it’s set in the English Civil War, and that it focuses around a fairy called Fyodor who is introduced first in book one although only in passing, as well as a gifted human called William. Beyond that, however, I had nothing.

And then a couple of days ago one of the other characters, tentatively named Maggie, walked into my head and started telling me things. Suddenly I had some idea of the voice I wanted to use for them, and how I would narrate their sections of the story. I wrote a couple of scenes, which ended up showing really important parts of Maggie’s interactions with Fyodor, so they’ll likely shape the story quite a bit.

It’s amazing what a few scenes can do, really.

I don’t know what’s triggered this return to writing, whether it’s that my medication is no longer improving my mood at the cost of my creativity, or whether taking a slight break from reading quite so much allowed me to think a bit more. (I think I’ve only read two or three books this week, which is a bit shocking, really.) Maybe it’s just that I’ve finally realised I’m meant to be working, and have decided to procrastinate more actively.

But I’m welcoming it, this chance to write random scenes and short stories and play around a bit. I’m a novelist at heart, as I’ve mentioned, and flash fiction isn’t usually my forte, but perhaps it would be good for me when my time and attention span is so limited. Plus it gives me a chance to play with different voices and styles of writing — Oberon Is Here, for example, is set in America, although it’s short enough that that isn’t all that noticeable. So I had to try and think how something would be phrased in an American setting, even if I stuck to my British spellings.

It feels good to create. It’s been too long. Part of me wants to commit to writing a piece of flash fiction every week and posting it on Protagonize so you guys can read it if you want to, but part of me also knows that it’d end up getting in the way of my work. I can’t commit to deadlines right now, which is why I’m not doing Camp NaNoWriMo (although I salute all of you who are, and wish you the best of luck).

I’ll just write as and when I feel like it, and post them when it seems like a good idea, and maybe when I blog here I’ll slip in links to whatever I’ve been working on so that you have the option but not the obligation to check them out. Sound good to you? Sounds good to me.

In the meantime though, I should probably get on and review some of the books I’ve read recently. Oh, and do some work. My Old Irish translation isn’t going to do itself…

4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction, Saviour Of The Creativity

  1. I’m very fond of flash fiction myself; I’ve got two writing challenges that do weekly prompts, and it’s a nice way to experiment and get stuff out without committing to a longer work. Also, I tend to write serials of late, and the flash fiction episodic format is really good for that.

    1. I can imagine it would be, yeah. I don’t think I’ll ever be as keen on them as I am on novels, because I love slow-building character development and the sort of relationships you can explore with that, but I definitely like it as an exercise and a way to flex my writing muscles. :)

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: