I've been dabbling with fast fiction these last few days to try and keep that uninhibited writing spirit alive. I've dubbed it fast fiction but it's more commonly referred to as flash fiction or micro fiction or even plain and simple short short fiction. Whatever we're going to call it, I thought it might help me because it gives an immediate result - and actually, just seeing some words on a page is a great source of joy at the moment.
The definition of fast fiction varies greatly depending on who you talk to. Some people describe it as 1,000 words or less and it must have a beginning, a middle and an end with conflict and resolution. However, as with anything, this has evolved and you now get people tweeting fiction in the 140 character limit and there are websites like 100words.com which class diary like entries as works of fast fiction:
You can write about anything you want. Anything. Some people open tiny windows into their lives; others write surrealist poetry. Some writers post finely tuned, perfectly crafted vignettes; others show up at the end of the night and spew drunken nonsense onto the screen.
You bring the content. We set the format.
This is an exercise in disciplined creativity. Writing exactly 100 words at a time -- not a single word more, not a single word less -- isn't as easy as it sounds. The word count may be arbitrary, but the motive is not. To borrow from Proust, the tyranny of rhyme often brings out the poet's best work. By working within a standardized form, the writer can concentrate on other matters.
If you want to take fast fiction to the extreme, it's rumoured that Ernest Hemingway wrote the shortest ever fiction in just six words when he took on a bet. For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
When I first read this, I was completely against the idea that it could be classed as a fiction - and then I opened my mind and pictured a story behind those words. Imagine a mother who has lost her newborn. She wants to sell the shoes as a step to getting over her grief. And that little scene then starts to conjure up all sorts of storylines.
For fun, I took on the 100words.com challenge to write exactly 100 words about something. It's more a musing than a true fictional work. I often write poetry when I'm feeling stressed or anxious or elated so this was a new outlet for me. Here's what I came up with:
It's too easy to be trapped in the everyday, the patterns of routine wearing us down. Smiling, laughing, joking, crying, shouting, living, getting through it, challenging ourselves, having fun, planning and preparing, looking forward to. Sometimes it's a struggle. Sometimes it's a joy. Sometimes it's just plain overload. What to tackle first? All of these projects to get stuck into. Making the time to snatch at time so we can readdress the balance and do something that makes us happy. Squeezing the wants between the needs. Indulging is selfish but selfish is necessary. Keeping the path clear for feeling free.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.