Well, all I can say is the last two weeks have really kicked my ass.
Even still, in the midst of all this, moving forward is the only option. Oh, I know I could probably lie down and not get up, but my Momma raised me better than that, and I have a grandbaby on the way. What would he think of a Noni that is prostrate on the floor, or weeping and gnashing her teeth? I can do better. I will do better, even if it’s just one little step.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Let’s talk about structure and format of a flash fiction story.
Once upon a time, I was part of a wonderful workshop administered by Pam Castro. If you’re at all serious about writing flash fiction, Pam provides fabulous resources and an outstanding training ground, highly recommended. I learned a lot, and the insightful critiques of my fellow flashers were invaluable. One critique, in particular, stands out in my mind. In it, the ‘critter’ remarked on how he loved the appearance of the story on the page, how it added to the atmosphere of the tale I was telling.
When I write flash fiction, I pay attention to structure and formatting. It’s important to have a good story, but it’s also important how it appears on the page. Your sentence structure and formatting are also tools to use when crafting your flash masterpiece, much like they are in poetry.
For instance, take this passage from “In The Blue”, a story I wrote in 2004:
My eyes are blue. My socks are blue, too. I have a blue bedroom and I like blues music. My bruises are black and blue. Sometimes I wonder if everything just looks blue to me because I have lost my mind.
There you have it. A block of prose – like a brick. Let’s carve that sucker up, what do you think?
My eyes are blue.
My socks are blue, too. I have a blue bedroom and I like blues music.
My bruises are black and blue.
Sometimes I wonder if everything just looks blue to me because I have lost my mind.
The flow of the story is very different in the second example. The structure of the sentences invites the reader to pause in all the right places, to get the feeling of this person – just by the spacing and positioning of the words and sentences. It mimics the thought process, adding weight to the “voice.”
Keep this in mind when putting together your flash fiction piece. Sometimes the position of a single word, or sentence, can add a dimension to your story with a deft and subtle touch that can be very powerful. Play with your words; stack them up then tumble them down. Juggle them like a circus act – don’t be afraid to experiment.
Do you have any examples to share of your own work, or the work of a favored author whom you feel employs the same technique? Please share in the comments section, and thanks for stopping by.