I wrote a story yesterday.
I have been seeking out invitations to submit short fiction for a number of reasons and this one intrigued me because of limitations of subject matter and word count.
Flash Fiction is a relatively new name, I think, but I like it. It’s certainly better than “Short Short Stories”. While the person who is accepting submissions has the final say, most Flash Fiction anthologies I have seen place the word count at between 100 and 1000 words.
That is tough for me. I tend towards verbosity and a certain wealth of description. In Worms Of Heaven the first ten chapters cover about twelve hours in my narrator’s life. (Granted, it is a very busy day.)
Yesterday I sat down and wrote out a story which ended up being about 1500 words. Then I went back and cut it down to under 1000. The first two hundred or so were easy, I was able to find sentences to snip out entirely.
Then I started working on my syntax, finding more succinct ways to frame sentences and omitting needless words. That was harder. I like needless words.
Finally I had to reread the whole story, start to finish, and decide what was really important. There was some of the setup that I was able to cut, trusting my readers to figure out what was going on from context.
I got it down to 999 words and did a final read-through, found two different places where I had left a word out of a sentence, put the missing word into one of them and cut the other entirely.
I’m happy with the finished product. I think that it retains the impact of the original story. I deliberately went against the grain with it and took it in a direction that I hope none of the other contributors will consider.
We’ll see. I have another story I want to get to work on, this one with a more liberal word count window. I’ll be looking for more Flash Fiction anthologies in the future, I think. It’s good practice for me.