How familiar are you with the art form that is flash-fiction? Personally, I had never heard of it until about 3 months ago. Short-story? Yes. Short-fiction? Certainly. But flash-fiction? Never.
The name is incredibly fitting. Flash-fiction is a skill which can come in useful in all aspects of writing. The fast-paced nature of it can be useful in not only longer short-stories and novellas, but also in novels too. Ever needed to right a suspenseful chapter in your novel, a thing of utter tension? Mastery in the art of flash-fiction would undoubtedly come in rather handy in such an instance. And for those reasons, I believe that flash-fiction and short-stories should be a tool used by every writer, in order to fine-tune their writing; to help them paint the sometimes daunting bigger picture.
Below you can read my first ever attempt at flash-fiction. In fact, I think in my instance, they should invent an entirely different category for it to fit into. This piece brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘short’.
He hurried down the dark streets. Not out of fear, but rather, out of interest. He followed her from afar: the girl of his dreams. He was the man of her nightmares. He had been following her for about half a mile. She had left the pub alone after her argument. Or so she thought. He picked up speed, closing the gap between them.
The girl sped up. It was an alleyway she regularly used to get home. But tonight, something spooked her. Perhaps it was the transition from the loud, exuberant street into the quiet, desolate alleyway. Or perhaps it was something else. Something, different…
He was onto her. Like a flash of lightning. He launched her across the alley. The girl crashed into a group of trash cans, scattering them. The man finished his drink and flung the bottle at the wall. “Now I have you.” He said menacingly. He approached the girl; grabbed a fistful of her hair and pulled it downwards, forcing her to look up at him. “How could you do this to me Anna? How?!” He drew the gun and pressed it tightly against her forehead, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I love you.” He said, choking up. The shot echoed throughout the city as she fell to the ground into a lifeless, bloody heap.
He turned the gun on himself. He drew the note which he had pre-written specifically for this exact moment. The only difference was, when he was writing the note, he didn’t actually believe that he would make the transition between thought and reality. A tear fell. A gunshot resonated. What had once started as a freeing love affair had become a downfall. Silence befell the alley as it mourned their death, taking the place of the once reverberating gunshots.
That piece stands at a rounded 300 words. Yeah, I wasn’t lying about the short part!
I hope that upon reading my first attempt at flash-fiction, it has helped you to appreciate and value the importance of it. Remember: it can be a tool to help paint the bigger picture. And when the bigger picture becomes blurred and you become an artist in despair, you must utilise all of the goddamned tools that you can get your fingertips on!