Flash Fiction: The preliminary canter.
Creative writing. Flash fiction. The art of compressing the many into the few. Like finding the man on the moon, some say it is a man leaning on a fork, on which he is carrying a bundle of sticks picked up on a Sunday. Shakespeare could do flash fiction, write a sparse few words and convey at complete story. Flash fiction, for my part, for The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature submissions, needs to be 750 words or less. Oh, and in case I forget, submit today.
Flash fiction gives a writer many options. Do I imply a greater story is to be told? Do you tell the story in its entirety? I tend to go back to the original story and my inspiration, adding to it without intending to do so. If you write flash fiction, how do you do it?
The Adventures of Farago and Nelson
Farago and Nelson walked into the room. People turned their heads to notice the arrival. The two were lucky to pick up a horseshoe, lost in thought, caught up in the abandon. At the eleventh hour, Nelson turned to Farago, whose face turned bright crimson, and said, “I’ll make this place too hot to hold him.”
Farago and Nelson bound by the by and by, left the room. Omnibus gatherum with absolutely no regard to to suitability or order, the occupants fled for the safety of the chair rail. One could hear footsteps descending a staircase. No one saw the nude.
Will you lend me the mule to go a mile? Would you? Money will make the mule go.
To find a mule’s nest is to make what you suppose to be a great discovery, but which turns out to be either no discovery at all or moonshine. It’s all moonshine. Bunkum; nonsense. The light of the moon was formerly held to have deleterious effects on mental stability. See LUNATIC. The minions of the moon are thieves who rob by night. Farago thought about all this and regarded the truth as a fallacy. “I suppose this is art, a great discovery,” he responded to Nelson’s query.
“It’s an assemblage.” Nelson bowed his head. “You have found an elephant in the moon. It turns out, my dear Farago, that Sir Paul Neal, a conceited virtuoso of the 17th century, I read it somewhere in a book, this Sir Paul Neal it was, looked through a telescope and thought he saw an elephant on the moon. True story, told was a mouse crept onto the telescope, he’d a been mistaken.”
“Nelson. You are my dearest friend. Shave your face, wet your whistle, combine your talents and let us join the room again. It’s all moonshine.” Farago opened the door once the ablutions commenced and completed. “We join the fray.”
Flash fiction really trips my creative trigger. Shakespeare can trip my trigger. Shakespearean flash fiction: A vengeance on your crafty wither’d hide! / Yet I have faced it with a card of ten. — Taming of the Shrew, ii, 2 A seventeen word short story. The “faced it with a card of ten” is important here, it means to meet an attack with craft and subtlety. A complete story leaving you wondering who and what but knowing just enough to make your imagination soar.
This coming month, in April, we’ll feature flash fiction. There’s still time to submit. Keep it under 750 words and use our submission page or add your flash fiction to the comments. The best story gets a prize!! A Dead Mule School of Southern Literature coffee mug.