Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lessons Learned Writing Micro-Fiction

There are many different types of micro-fiction - flash: a story under 1k; Twitter: a story in 140 characters or less; drabble: 100 words exactly, just to name a few. But they are all similar in that they try and tell a story in a space that most would consider challenging if not downright impossible.

Having written a few pieces of flash and over a dozen of Twit fic, I can safely say that it's not impossible. And there are lessons to be learned in writing with few words. Here are the two that impressed me the most.

1. Backstory/Worldbuilding Are Not as Important As You Think

This sounds counter-intuitive, I know. Every story needs some glimpse into the foundation of the characters, where they come from, what their world looks like, etc. But there is a lot to be said for not telling us that information and, instead, implying it by how you tell the story. Word-choice. Rhythm. Emotion. All of these elements can tell a backstory better than you think.

2. No Story is Too Short To Edit

You might think that a story that is only 140 characters long couldn't get any shorter. Or couldn't use different words than the ones you wrote first. This is not the case. Any story can be edited, no matter how short and sweet you think it is to start off with. And most stories should be edited. Because we all get lazy or have a bad day and use the wrong word in place of a better one.

3. It is Possible to Say Something Important Without Being Long-winded

I say this, because too often we get bogged down in trying to SAY SOMETHING. We use too many words. We beat the reader over the head. We meander. We get stuck on our own ability to weave words in a magical way. But this is not necessary. Important things can be said in few words. And they will stick with the reader more than a convoluted passage might.

We can all learn to write more cleanly, even if we aren't all writing in microscopic forms.


Sharde(Shar-day) said...

I admire people who can convey a whole story in such limited space. Nice post.

A.G. Carpenter said...

I find Twitter Fic is a pleasant little challenge. Similar to writing haiku, without so much structure. :)