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Thread: Confused

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  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW nevada's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Confused about the flash being written

    I've been reading a lot of flash fiction. And I've found, that with a few, wonderful exceptions, most flash fictions are all set-ups for a last, clever line that turns the whole thing into a joke or some cautionary lecture. Why is this? Why is it accepted that because it's flash fiction the conventions of literature can be disregarded? Why is it okay to make it no better than a joke you tell your friends? And not even a good joke at that.

    If I read a book only to find that the whole thing was a set-up for a "clever " ending I'd be mightily pissed. Especially if the book wasnt well-written to begin with. Of course, I would have stopped reading the book long before I got to the end, having recognized it for what it is. So what makes it okay to do that in a flash fiction piece?

    Just because it's flash fiction, doesnt mean we shouldn't spend time on it to make it as perfect as it can be. More time, in fact, than we spend on longer works. Flash is like poetry. Each and every word is vitally important and should be slaved over, struggled over until the absolutely perfect word is found.

    A clever idea is just that. A clever idea. It doesnt make an interesting, good story in and of itself.

    Fear not. I have examples.

    First, an excellent little article about micro fiction.

    some examples of good flash fiction, some of them excellent even. The first two links are longer stories. With this one, some are better than others. Especially read the last one by Shelly Webb, who is Shwebb on AW. It's everything a flash should be. Brief, well written, and not one bit of cleverness in sight. It has a proper beginning, middle, and end, with a proper resolution. (For the sake of honesty, I must disclose that the story Soft Peace He Brings was written by me)

    Am I missing the boat? Is that what people really want? Precious little ideas that read like those little snippets in Reader's Digest only not as funny? Because I can't, I won't write that. Shouldn't we all strive to write the very best we can? I'm not necessarily talking "literature". I'm well aware of the disdain a lot of people have for literature. But even something genre based, something that entertains us, should be the best that it can be, shouldn't it?
    Last edited by nevada; 06-17-2007 at 08:36 AM.

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