Capturing perfect words and essential moments in short stories appear effortless in the work of authors like Cate Kennedy, Nam Le, David Malouf, Juliet Marillier and Roald Dahl, but of course, it’s not – the shorter the story, the harder you must strive to make it work. Therefore, writing a perfect short-short story in even less words is likely to be even more of a challenge. And as challenges are wont to do, they turn into obsessions … addictions.
Obsession, know thy name … Flash Fiction.
And a year ago, I stopped resisting the siren call of this genre. I set up a challenge to write a story a week for a year. And so began, my flash fiction collection for adult readers – a most satisfying, intimidating, crazy and rewarding literary obsession.
At its heart, these fifty-two, 500-word narratives are snappy, sensory exposé of the human condition, frailties and strengths – stories that rings with a sense of shared humanity. Their finales hold a twist, an exquisite ah-ha moment that surprises both protagonist and reader.
The stories cover many genres – mystery, historical, fantasy, dystopian, contemporary, humour, romance and more. Each of the narratives is inspired by a single abstract word, randomly chosen before I started the challenge by a ‘shut-eyes, open dictionary and point’ method.
Publishers usually don’t take on short story collections, unless they’re written by the top echelon of the genre. But that won’t stop me.
I’m about to send out my collection to publishers. It’s called Every Grain of Sand. It’s perfect for time-poor readers – for that moment of solitude over morning coffee, an afternoon’s Darjeeling or commuting to work. Read the fifty-two narratives in sequence, or by title, genre or chance. Read one a week. Savour one every now and then. Or join the flash fiction obsession and gobble them up in one go.
A side note: To keep me company along the Challenge, I set up a Facebook Flash Fiction page, a site dedicated to a community-based, 52-week writing challenge. An ulterior motive was to promote the flash fiction genre as well.
The Facebook site has proved popular with many writers and readers from Australia and abroad who joined The 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge. Some writers who’ve never shown their stories before, now openly contribute, their confidence measured by willingness to share and comment on others’ stories. Other members are published authors who’ve become hooked on flash fiction. Many are keen to take up the new Challenge #2. If you would like to join this Facebook Flash Fiction Challenge click HERE.