Presentation on theme: "BW: 22 September 2015 The following is an example of flash fiction: “The Scarlatti Tilt” - Richard Brautigan "It's very hard to live in a studio apartment."— Presentation transcript:
1 BW: 22 September 2015 The following is an example of flash fiction: “The Scarlatti Tilt” - Richard Brautigan "It's very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who's learning to play the violin." That's what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver. 1.Come up with 5 questions! Level 1, 2 or 3.
2 Flash Fiction
3 Objective & Purpose Create a piece of flash fiction.
4 What is Flash Fiction? (Define—Circle Map) -Style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category, but most are under 1,000 words. -Many markets want stories that are 750, 500, or 100 words long. Some contests, such the annual 55 Fiction contest, require even fewer words. With the surging popularity of Twitter, some writers have now exchanged word counts for 140 characters. -Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction, and short short story.
5 Elements in Flash Fiction (Cornell Notes) Setting is where the action takes place. This can be told in a sentence: She watched him go to bed. Usually, there is not room for more than two characters--three at most. But realize "characters" don't always have to be human. In fact, they don't even have to be animate. Can you create a story about a pebble and a blade of grass trying to inhabit the same spot? Conflict is just a difference of opinion--tension to keep the reader reading. It can be verbal, physical or mental. It doesn't always have to be villain/hero.
6 Elements of Flash Fiction (Cornell Notes) Resolution is the conclusion of the conflict. "Small" works best in flash fiction; don't go for miraculous resolution, in which the protagonist is saved by some miracle not of his/her making. Most writers use surprise endings, partly because flash fiction lends itself to such, but mostly because it makes it more fun both to read and to write. But they are not necessary. Even with a twist, don't surprise your readers too much. Make them think, "Ah--of course!" Don't make them think, "Boy, am I stupid!"
7 Famous Flash Fiction Pieces “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” - Ernest Hemingway BRAINSTORM! Setting, Conflict, Resolution
8 “The Dinosaur” by Augusto Monterroso “When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.” BRAINSTORM! Setting, Conflict, Resolution
9 Richard Powers “Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.” BRAINSTORM! Setting, Conflict, Resolution
10 Innocent Victims and Lost Soldiers: The Endless War Against Life and Time The sniper takes aim. A child in the grey street holding hands with his mother. Is everything going to be ok? Everything will be just fine. The shot. Missed. Down they fall. Lost in the dust.
11 Writing Flash Fiction Now that you have read several examples of Flash Fiction, it’s your turn to create your own. You may choose one of two options: Select one of the stories you’ve read and expand on it: create a part 2 or a prequel Write your own unique flash fiction story about whatever pops into your head Your story needs to be at least a paragraph and no more than a page
12 Flash Fiction Writing Ideas Write as fast as you can. Don't worry about grammar - yet. Fill about half a page, count the words, fix the grammar, then read it aloud to yourself. Does it have setting, implied or otherwise? Conflict? Resolution? Edit yourself-ruthlessly. Write your story, then go back and erase all phrases, clauses and coordinating conjunctions that are not absolutely vital to the story. Delete any unnecessary adjectives. You'll be left with tight, active sentences. Let dialogue do it. Write an all-dialogue story using as few tags as possible. Let the dialogue describe the characters and create conflict.
13 BW: 23 September 2015 1.What is the following story about? Describe the setting, conflict, and resolution. “Houston, We Have a Problem,” by J. Matthew Zoss. I’m sorry, but there’s not enough air in here for everyone. I’ll tell them you were a hero.
14 Flash Fiction Packet
"Flash fiction" could only be a relatively modern creation. In the age of channel-hopping, instant messaging and ad breaks designed to jolt you from torpor to spend, spend, spend, flash fiction is a format indicative of these times.
Though its roots run deeper, the popularity of flash fiction seems to have grown exponentially alongside the expansion of the internet and a hunger for instant gratification.
Earlier this year, the Guardian ran a selection of flash fiction stories by renowned authors. The results were decidedly varied, proving that some writers can turn their hand to any literary discipline, while others are better at handling 60,000 words than they are the mere six they had to work with here. Few matched the standard of Ernest Hemingway's standard-setting flash work, a story he called his best ever piece of writing:
Untitled by Ernest Hemingway For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
What the Guardian piece failed to offer, though, was a concrete definition of what flash fiction is. Wikipedia has flash fiction as "less than 2,000 words long", with "most flash-fiction pieces between 250 and 1,000 words long." This seems to stretch things a bit: for some writers 2,000 words can be an epic. For others it is just enough for an opening sentence.
I prefer the various sub-genres of flash fiction, which include microfiction, the 69er (69 words), the Drabble or - my favourite - 55-word fiction. Fifty-five words is a perfectly reasonable word count with which to tell a story. Fewer is even better. Either way, flash fiction places the onus on the reader to provide their own input. A successful flash fiction story is a seed planted in the reader's imagination, which, once there, should grow and flourish.
There are a plethora of great ultra-short stories out there on the internet. Donald Barthelme and Italo Calvino were economical masters, as was Richard Brautigan who could concoct a scenario, a mood and an outcome in 33 words:
The Scarlatti Tilt by Richard Brautigan "It's hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who's learning to play the violin." That's what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
More recently, Dan Rhodes's Anthropology collection was crammed with 101 witty and quite moving flash fiction tales about love. Each, with staggering economy, measured 101 words in length. The recently-published collection The Flash, edited by Peter Wild also contained many nuggets by a sterling line-up of contemporary writers. And look out for new UK writer Chris Killen, who is effectively turning flash fictions into novels. (My own effort, incidentally,, can be found here.)
In the US, Mike Topp's comic flash fiction contains the sparseness of a Basho meditation, and the observational, gag-heavy humour of Steven Wright. It's flash fiction that feels no real need to advertise the fact:
My Father by Mike Topp My father was a snowman. He got depressed and blew his brains out with a hair dryer.
This seems to be a running theme with the very best flash fiction authors: few suggest they actually belong to this genre, they merely feel a few words will suffice.
An old adage says that to become a great prose artist, a writer must first master the art of poetry. In these changing times, I think that can be manipulated to say that a great storyteller should be able to tell a tale within a few sentences.