Flash fiction: “Mind Out of Time”

fiction-moot-tn.jpgI’ve recently become fascinated with the phenomenon of “flash fiction,” that is, fiction that is ultra-short, anything from a single sentence to 1,500 words (although opinion on the upper limit varies). I’m presently enjoying reading an anthology of such stories called FlashSpec. Flash fiction is not to be confused with the notion of syphoning a scene from a longer work. Flash fiction is supposed to have a coherent plot, just like regular fiction. One skill is in deciding what material to show the reader and what to merely infer. Another is in composing vivid descriptions with a brutal economy of words.

An idea for a new short story struck me a few days ago. I started thinking about the complexity of it, and all the scenes I would have to include. And then I asked myself, what really do I want the reader to remember from this? And the answer was, I want you to remember the novelty of the idea and the twist in the tail. So I got on a different track mentally, figured out what I could summarise and infer, as well as what I wanted to show, and I began. I found that I took to the flash style instantly and had a great time writing the story. It’s also a nice feeling when you start something and finish it the very same day.

I showed the story to my friend Earl, who is often kind enough to edit my fiction. I was a little apprehensive about it, because recently he edited the first chapter of a novel I’m toying with, and he brought to light so many flaws that I started feeling deflated about the sheer scope of the task ahead. But it turns out that Earl loved this new story, and the only edits needed were minor ones. I may have found a style that suits me better than long-form prose.

Here’s “Mind Out of Time,” if you’d like to read it. Let me know what you think, positive or negative.

[ Read Story ]

4 thoughts on “Flash fiction: “Mind Out of Time”

  1. My day is just starting; but yes flash fiction is an exciting genre. It is also a very demanding art form. I’ve been fortunate enough to have several flash fiction pieces published. So, when I get back home later today I’ll definitely read “Mind Out of Time.”

  2. I wrote my first piece of Flash Fiction today, and submitted it to a website. I quite like the fact that it’s 1,000 words or less, it totally fits in with my laziness. 😀

    I can see myself writing a good few stories in this framework, and i wouldn’t have even known the format existed, if i hadn’t read about it on here. So thanks Darryl. 😀

  3. Paul,

    I thoroughly enjoyed writing “Mind out of Time” and was delighted by the amount of positive comments that ensued from it. I wouldn’t quite say it fits with my “laziness,” but something close. It fits with my lack of willingness to devote copious amounts of creativity to mere entertainment. I have loads of cool ideas that I’ve never written because I can’t face the investment of time. But you’ve put me in mind of delving into flash again. Let me know what happens with your story.

  4. The best possibility i see from Flash, is to use it as a testing grounds. I had a few ideas that i was either formulating or had already started writing, for longer stories, but being able to cover them in a much smaller time and space, will be a good way of seeing how they work.
    The ones that do work, and work well, i can then expand on, and turn into longer stories. This, for me, would be priceless, as i often dedicate hours and hours to something, then go back on it and hate it, so it gets deleted and the time was wasted.

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