A little philosophical musing

I’ve written a brief (100 word) story today. Nothing new here (you *DID* vote for your favorite story at the Weekly Challenge, right?). But unlike the last few, which my wife has “liked”, this one I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t.

Which has nothing to do with it being effective.

I’m rather fond of this dark little tale. It’s the kind friends often describe as “fun for your therapist”. I managed to collapse (or at least imply) a complete horror story arc in 100 words. And it’s effective, IMHO. I get that sick twisted gnawing feeling that good horror gives me – not the nausea of splatterpunk or gorefests, not the adventure thrill of shoot-’em thrillers, but horror. (YMMV.)

When writing in 100 words (or any flash fiction), the best comes close to poetry. Its spare economy implies much, and can say even more, but in few words.

It also means that’s it’s highly culture-dependent. The author has to rely on your knowledge of relationships, objects, and norms. It can feel almost like cheating. Liz Vaughn has pointed out before – and she’s very right to do so – that fanfic *is* cheating. Fun, but cheating. Why? I’ll steal her example:

Kirk drew his weapon. “Ready, Spock? Scotty, beam us down.”

There’s a lot implied there – character, setting, relationships – that the fanfic author doesn’t have to actually work at. Someone else has already done the heavy lifting.

Still, while flash fiction (and especially drabble) has to lean on cultural norms and sensibilities, that doesn’t mean that it *requires* that kind of cheating. It’s that quality, that invoking of a scene without descending into stereotype, that makes good flash fiction. Sometimes I do it well, and those are the stories that are effective – regardless of whether or not you “like” them.

Remember to vote for your favorite!

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