I want to say a big thank you Jason for inviting me to guest post on his blog and, of course, promoting my book, A Dash of Flash, in the first place. I really do appreciate it, Jason.
So, given such a kind invitation, I thought I’d share a little about how I became involved in writing flash fiction on WordPress and what I’ve included in the book.
I’ve been writing flash fiction on my blog since January 2015. I must be honest and say that until that time, I’d never even heard of it – or micro-fiction, as it’s often called. It was reading and commenting on a story written by fellow author, Mara Fields, that introduced me to it. Mara simply suggested I should ‘have a go’.
The challenge Mara had responded to was Monday’s Finish the Story so my first piece of ‘flash’ was written for that one. As many people on WordPress will know, the lovely host of that challenge, Barbara W. Beacham, sadly passed away in the middle of last year, so that challenge no longer exists.
After posting my first-ever piece of flash fiction, Homework (which provided an image and a first-line prompt) I rapidly became hooked. Before long I was participating in three other challenges as well, including Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff Fields, Picture it and Write, hosted by Eliabeth and Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up with so many and gradually dropped all but PJ’s FFfAW, which I still do when I have time.
There are now many writing challenges out there, with word limits ranging from 6 words to 500 plus, and I’m often very tempted by some of the prompts I see in my Reader. But for the past few months I’ve not only been trying to ‘get on’ with Book 3 of my Viking trilogy, I’ve also been putting many of my flash pieces into a book – which is now, thankfully, done. This is the cover, which I like because it’s rather old fashioned, like me:
I already had more than enough stories on my blog to use in the book but I also wanted to include new material. So I’ve written a lot more stories, some of them much longer than the ones for the challenges. Since anything up to 1,000 words is generally accepted as ‘flash’, I’ve included half a dozen which almost reach that limit. Several are between 500 and 1,000 words but most are around 200-300 and none are less than 100. Some of the flash stories already published on my blog have been tweaked or extended to make more rounded stories.
Many of the flash fiction books I’ve seen on Amazon are quite short and there are a couple out there with barely a dozen stories. I wanted to make mine a longer book so I aimed for novella size. I’d read that novellas are typically between 18, 000 and 30,000 words and my book of 85 stories eventually weighed in at 22, 287 words, including titles but not the front and back matter. The stories themselves are an eclectic mix of contemporary and historical, with a few fairy tales amongst them.
I also decided to include images to illustrate the stories. These are not the original prompts provided for the challenges: most are from Shutterstock or Pixabay and a few are my own photographs. Although I had enough images for all 85 stories, I settled for just 30 to brighten the book up. These are three of them:
Publishing this type of book is all new territory for me, so I’ll just have to be patient and see how it goes. I enjoy writing flash fiction a lot but it really ought to come with a word of warning:
THIS ACTIVITY IS TOTALLY ADDICTIVE.
But it’s also a whole lot of fun!