A New Exercise: Hyper-current Flash Fiction

One of my new year’s resolutions was to write more and write more often. One of the arenas I’ve wanted to venture into is flash fiction. For those who don’t know, flash fiction is a very short story. They’re very short bits, almost vignettes, of maybe 1,000 words. So I wanted to try that, but to put a couple of spins on them that I’ve not seen before. First off, expect many of these little bits of fiction to be either sci-fi or fantasy related because, after all, I love that stuff.  Beyond that, here’s a couple of things I’ll be trying.

Imagery

Adding a DimensionException essays by Isaac Asimov
Adding a Dimension
Exception essays by Isaac Asimov

I love images. Photos, drawings, illustrations, or whatever. If it’s in JPG, PNG, or some other digital file format, I’m down with that. I especially enjoy book cover images from old sci-fi and fantasy books. Sometimes I’ll look at the cover of an old book and dream up a quick story based on the cover. My story is usually far shorter and completely different than the book, but that’s part of the fun.

For instance, take a look at the book on the right. Adding a Dimension is a collection of non-fiction essays by Asimov. Like all of his essays, they’re excellent. However, what interests me is the cover. Some will look at that cover, see a space station orbiting a red star, and move on. Me, I see a space station orbiting a red star and I wonder. Who are these people? What are they like? Why are they there? What are they studying? Do they get along? Are they going somewhere else?

And all of those questions lead to a story that answers, well, at least some of them. So for many, if not all, of these little flash fiction stories, I’m going to start with an image. I’ll include the image in the post so you can see where I came from. Who knows? You’ll probably come up with a totally different story. The thing is, when I see something, I think of characters — and when I think of characters, I immediately begin to wonder what they’re up to.

Hyper-current Settings

For those stories that aren’t set in the far future or in a past that never was, I’m going to do something I don’t often see in books or online – hyper-current settings. My first story, which will go up later today, takes place in Hong Kong. It could’ve happened yesterday. All of the stuff we have today is there. There’s even a mention of some music a character is listening to. To place that music within the story, I hit up the latest top forty pop music hits currently spinning around Hong Kong. There’s not a tonne of that, and I don’t go out of my way to do it. It’s kind of like little Easter eggs I throw in. If it’s set today, you know that something is in there that’s current and popular today.

It’s hard to do that with a book. After all, there’s weeks or months of writing it. Then it goes to a publisher where it’ll sit for a while. By the time the book sees a store shelf, a good year has passed, probably more. With this kind of medium, you can be hyper-current, and I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

Formats

I’m publishing these things three ways. First, it’ll just be right here on the site with a picture and all the text. I’ll also have links to download the story in two formats, ePub and Kindle (mobi format). Read it here, grab it for later, do whatever. All of these things are Creative Commons, so you’re free to share.

Hope y’all like what’s to come! The first story will be up later this afternoon, 13:00 Phoenix time or 20:00 UTC.

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