Yes, April has been kind to me on the writing front. I’m so happy to have learned that I have been short listed for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize this year. Two stories – brilliant. Entering competitions and getting listed is a great boost. I’ll keep it going now – both entering other competitions and writing. I’ve linked up with twitter friend, writer Yasmin Khan Murgai @msyasminkhamand and we’re giving each other daily prompts to write a Flash a day for April. I love writing with others in this way. Writer Christine Dalcher @CV Dalcher is also involved, contributing prompts and writing flash fictions most days. It’s been a further boost to get so many favourites and congratulations on the short list success from twitter friends. There’s a great bunch of writers out there, supporting each other.
Getting shortlisted for these two stories in the Fish Prize is especially interesting for me because both stories followed exercises in the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, the book I like a lot and have written about several times on blog posts.
The exercises I used from The Field Guide were devised by one of the contributors, flash writer, Bruce Holland Rogers and concentrate on structure and sentence length – a writing departure for me. I frequently spring off into writing from a word or visual prompt and time myself in order to push for an end. Thinking slowly about the balance of sentences within the piece is something I only do on a second draft.
I followed Rogers’ idea for a “Fibonacci” sonnet. This structure he devised uses 18 sentences of set word length to write a story, as below:
The first paragraph uses these word lengths for the sentences – 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34 and 55. In the second paragraph you write in reverse 34, 21, 13,8,5,3,2,1
Composing longer sentences than normal and creating one word sentences was a challenge, but it worked.
His second exercise I followed was to write a ‘word loop.’ The first word of your story will also be your last word. The last word of each sentence must be the first word of the following sentence. He says this process requires “a balance between steering and allowing yourself to drift” Quite tricky but fun.
I recommend trying out these structures. It’s fascinating what can emerge.