ABCs of Flash Writing: The Conclusion

Posted by on May 14, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Flash Writing: The Conclusion

I marveled at the words. The sentences brevity and richness.

“As she picked it (a wild pink rose) to add to her bundle she noticed a raised mound, a ring, around the rose’s root” as told in “The Flowers” by Alice Walker.

Ms. Walker puts me in that moment so that I am Myop, the girl who wanders away from her family’s “hen house to pigpen to smokehouse” to pick flowers in neighboring fields. I am the girl who “made her own path, bouncing this way and that way, vaguely keeping an eye out for snakes.” Until Myop “steps smack into his eyes.” A skeleton. A man hung long before Myop had an inkling to wander so far from her home. The body long dead as provided in details such as “the buckles of the overalls had turned green” and the “rotted remains of a noose, a bit of shredding plowline, now lending benignly into the soil.”

This flash fiction enables the reader to become the pre-pubescent child stumbling upon the remains. The details bring to life the piece’s literal and figurative meanings. Ms. Walker never tells the reader that this is a hung man’s skeleton nor does she go into backstory or the child’s dramatic imaginings but instead provides breadcrumbs of rich description as Myop experiences her day. This masterful use of specific details enables the reader to unravel the mystery of the dead body, the historical significance, and the finding’s effects on the child.

The piece ends with the simple and heart wrenching statement, “And the summer was over.” Possibly literal and definitely metaphorical; complete in this one succinct sentence.

In flash fiction, we have a small space to create a world, to tell a story, to allow the reader to become part of it. Ms. Walker enables this to occur with the richness of details and the focused viewpoint of Myop. And that is our goal. To enrich, enliven, and bring forth a flash fiction or nonfiction story through active and descriptive verbs and vibrant adjectives so we not only read the story, it becomes a part of us.

In the past 26 days you’ve learned from various writers about how to approach writing in the flash genre. Now, take those tools and create on your own.

Lisa Diane Kastner is the Founder and Executive Editor of Running Wild Press. She got her MFA from Fairfield University (FUMFA) and lives in Los Angeles with her amazing husband and maniacal cats, The Master and Margarita.