I have a couple of flash fiction pieces published in the upcoming anthology ‘Twice Not Shy’ by local legends Night Parrot Press. My work in that anthology is different to a lot of things I’ve written before because it’s not speculative – the stories are based strongly on life and my own experience. They both fell out of my time in Night Parrot Press’s flash fiction writer’s group, which temporarily existed during the earlier days of COVID-19.
It’s got me thinking of Jennifer Probst’s book ‘Write Naked’, which I’m reading and isn’t at all what I was expecting. I thought the book was going to be a guidebook to be more expressive as a writer, while it’s actually more of a memoir. It’s still highly enjoyable, but it isn’t give me what I was hoping for, which was to connect and express more emotionally in my writing.
Something that did help me connect more expressively was flash fiction. By its very nature, flash is condensed, and that makes it concentrated and intense. Like epigrams, it can have a strange sense of being both intimate and ringing with broader significance. I’ve found it’s the perfect format to vomit an emotion onto the page and have it somehow work – not as pure expresssion as in poetry but as the core of a story.
Flash helped me draw out the emotions, and that in turn helped me connect with them in order to use them in longer work. I’m currently restructuring a novel, and the nature of editing this long piece of work can feel disconnected at times from the emotional core of what I want to express. I know I’ll come back to that emotional core in later edits, but for the moment, it’s hard to connect the hard work of figuring out plot structures for the first time with the work of writing.
Anyways, if you’re not a fan, I strongly recommend reading some flash fiction, maybe starting with this WA-based anthology, that I happen to be in.