Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Hard Can It Be?

Last week, for the first time, I started working seriously on a piece of flash fiction (loosely defined as fiction under 1200 words, but I'm thinking well under 1000). I gave myself an hour-and-a-half to come up with a story that I liked.

I know, I serious could I have been to think I could accomplish something in the time it takes some fiber-deprived people to relieve themselves? What can I say? Sometimes hubris gets the better of me.

The interesting point, though, is the fact that I did have something interesting in an hour-and-a-half. At least I thought so when I first read through it.

But that feeling lasted only three seconds beyond The End. In as little time as it took me to have a coherent thought, everything felt mushy and imprecise. So, back the story went for some surgery.

I carved out words. I reinforced thoughts. I shuffled sentenced and phrases.

Then I read it again and still found it wanting.

Five or six times I went through this edit-print-crumple cycle, marking my dissatisfaction with a red pen.

Finally, perhaps six hours beyond my initial budget, I got to a place that the story doesn't scream at me for further face-lifts. I can't say for sure whether it works yet, but it's better than it was, and, for now, it's as good as I can make it.

The point of this post, I guess, is to tip my metaphorical hat to the writers of good flash fiction. Yours is a consice, efficient, energetic discipline.

I hope I don't embarrass myself too badly with my early attempts to join you.

P.S. The title is--I hope obviously--tongue in cheek.

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