|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
What are My Views On Flash Fiction?
As a writer who is getting back into the community and establishing contacts in the ever shifting landscape of writing and publication as it exists today, giving an opinion on this one feels a bit like being asked for my favorite burger recipe in Calcutta! As an exercise for sharpening your grasp of basic form and function I see a purpose in it. As a valid part of the art form that is writing....I'm still out on that. I've seen it used well when the creator has a solid idea and knows their craft. It isn't, as I've seen it defined lately, something that you just sit down and rip out in as brief a time as possible in a minimum number of words (sometimes as few as three hundred) and expect substantive art. Yes, there are some who I feel get lucky, but whether or not they can repeat the performance over and over on a broad range of prompts or topics, that would have to be proven.
Now then, remove the time constraint and leave room to work at and consider the content and mechanics, okay! Let's face it, for something of this nature to bear real scrutiny and provide insight and impact, a lot of fine tuning is going to need to occur. Otherwise you have an open ended scene with too many loose ends to it. I am not saying I need resolution in every case. There are any number of times I can look at something and say, "It would have been nice if I was left to ponder just where that was headed." That, though, usually only occurs if you can make me feel for the subject. Do I invest in the character and plot immediately? Or am I left with more hole than fabric?
Of course this is IMHO and in no way am I saying it can't work. It can and it does and when that happens I like it, but it takes real skill. Yes, skill needs to be developed and if you don't risk it how do you improve? Just consider if you are HONESTLY comfortable with the next one you bang out before you hit the send/post button. Does the rest of the world really need it? I have a drawer full of poetry, short fiction and longer work that isn't up to my standards yet. Occasionally it gets to see the light of day and from time to time I find the missing pieces. None of it is a given though and I have committed some of my stuff to shredder heaven and recycled it as cushion for Christmas presents, but then my two favorite quotes are from Ernest Hemingway, "I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit, I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.", and the second from William Faulkner, "Kill your darlings."
If you have any interest in seeing some of what I have sent out, or not, recently, check above in the My Work/My Love page. If you'd like to put something up here, I welcome comments, critique, suggestions in the comment window at the bottom of the page. If you'd like to get a little extra exposure you can submit short fiction to twelve hundred words, poetry to 25 lines or thoughtful essay in the comment function (I prefer them in .doc format please) and they will be considered for the Your Work/Your Love page. That's not a guarantee I'll post them but you have my guarantee I won't pirate your stuff either. If you like I would consider commenting on why or why not something got in (just remember, it's my blog and life is subjective).
On the right margin are gadgets. You can use one to 'Follow' this blog. There is another one that will connect you via rss or e-mail. Also are some of the spots I visit on a fairly regular basis looking for ideas and inspiration in 'Procrastination Lane'.
As always...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis