One Thousand Words

I’m trying to write a piece of flash fiction. Flash is usually 1,000 words or less. To use an old-fashioned metric, it’s about four full pages, double-spaced, with a point 12 font and one inch margins.

It’s hard to write a complete story in 1,000 words.

You can usually pull off a story with a twist ending. You can’t really create a gaggle of characters, unless a gaggle of characters is the story in some way. My story has two characters.

I’m trying to write about the implosion of a marriage, using an extended metaphor that becomes literal in last couple of paragraphs.

It’s a topic I know nothing about first-hand.

There are no SF or fantasy elements, although the final paragraphs should have a surreal quality.

I pare away. I embellish. I delete. I add back. I walk away. I return.

It becomes a quest for the exact word, in some ways, I guess, like poetry. Writing should always be about the exact word, but when I am writing 10,000 words, I feel like a have a safety net. There’s no safety net here.

The challenge forces insight on me. As I visualized the main character’s house, it looked stylish but empty. I couldn’t fill it with the right knick-knacks and stuff. It seemed like that couldn’t be right. Then I saw that it was. Lilah’s marriage is an empty house.

That helped, but still, I struggle to fit a simple story into a 1,000 word box.

This entry was posted in Thoughts about Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One Thousand Words

  1. Chad Hull says:

    I’ve tried these kinds of challenges before and if nothing else I think it’s good practice if you view it as an exercise. Usually after working with an imposed, super-small, word count, if the idea is worth expanding I’ve always found an excess of material in my head to work with.

  2. Marion says:

    I agree with you that it’s a good exercise. I writing friend of mine once said he used it as a “test” to decide if a concept was a short sotry idea or a novel idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *