Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Wild Child Publishing has issued the second volume of short stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue. The tales take up where Vol. I left off — bringing back Klein the Biker, Straight Charlie and Sammy the Madman while introducing new characters stumbling over life’s difficulties in the late 60s. Vol. II is an e-book published by Wild Child Publishing that you can download, save as a pdf (Adobe) file and print. Read both volumes and see that life isn't all that serious. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online book sellers.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flash Is Faster, or Is That a Fiction?

Author Jim Harrington asked, “Is a fast read a fast write? Isn't that what writers like about flash?" The question resolves as to whether it’s faster and easier to write a story in fewer than 1,000 words instead of a longer, more developed short story. I opt for a hearty yea. Others say no, it’s harder and slower to write succinctly when every word counts.

Start, of course, from the premise that in flash you’re only going to sketch out a character, location, time period. You must eliminate all the “decoration” and description that embellishes a short story. Can you do it?

I believe flash is easier because I’ve written short pieces for the past half dozen years. And, I come at it from a journalism background and newspaper experience. A newsie is expected to sit down (at a battered Royal, if necessary) and bang out a 30-word lede that tells the reads all the who, what, when, here and why he/she needs. (The “how” comes a few paragraphs later.)

For years, I also dedicated 30 minutes a week to a chatroom on called Flash Fiction Friday. A given phrase challenged any and all to write a story — long as you wanted, but taking only 30 minutes to write. Bam! Then, I’d edit it, spell check, and post it.

Going back to Wordtrip today, I was surprised to find I’d drafted 35 stories, some of them running just over 1,000 words. (You can see the original drafts at the site and my contributions as “Timberline.”) Of those 35, 30 have been published. Roughly half came in at under a thousand words.

Are they good stories? Yes. Are they literature for all times? No, often they’re genre pieces with a revelation (punch line) conclusion. Come to think of it, they’re the kind of fiction O. Henry wrote with his eye on a deadline. But you tell me. Here are the links to four of the pieces:

> “Abandoned” was published by Every Day Fiction Sept. 3, 2012 at 

>“The Coral in Belize Is Dying” was published by Bewildering Stories Nov. 12, 2012, at

>“Queen at the End of the Bar” was published by Gumshoe Review on Sept. 1, 2011, at

>“Million Dollar Find” was published by r.kv.r.y. quarterly June 30, 2011, at

Try the 30-minute writing exercise.  At worst, you have a crappy piece of fiction.  At best, you're learned to cut through the clutter and get to the essentials of telling a story. Story prompts for fast fiction. Calisthenics for the brain.