Keeping it short and sweet

It’s been a week for (very) short fiction, for me — a nice change from the long slog of the novel.

Back in May this year, as the deadline for 2013 National Flash Fiction Day (NFFD) competition — for stories of 300 words or fewer — was approaching, the NFFD folks (in NZ Society of Authors Newsletter Friday 17/5/13) asked 2012 finalists “What’s so great about flash?”. Here’s what I said:

My first fiction published in print, back at the tail end of last century, was flash fiction, so it’s a form I’m fond of. Not much more than a single page or screen of words, for the reader it’s a snack, an appetiser, a treat. For the writer, it’s a muscle flex, an idea in miniature, prose wrought tight and reined in. Limits define and refine it, making every word earn its place.

On Friday this week, a special issue of the web zine Flash Frontier was published, featuring the top stories from New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day 2012 and 2013. You can find my story “Beer Goggles” (highly commended in 2012) if you scroll down the page.

There are some great stories featured. I love the clipped sentences, the “sweat and smoke” of Mary McCallum’s “Dead Space”. And how can you go past a story (“Elephant” by Janis Freegard) that starts with an elephant on a beanbag in the corner of the living room?


So, Friday started well with Flash Fiction. But to cap off the day, I was the winner of maximum kudos in New Zealand Book Council’s world-famous-in-New Zealand #fridayshorts. There’s a tweet as evidence.

Each Friday, NZ Book Council tweets six words under #fridayshorts (recently migrated to #rāmereshorts), challenging followers to tell a story in a 140-character tweet, using all six words — plus the hashtag. No prizes, just kudos. A short, sweet end to the week.

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