Wallowing in my second NaNoWriMo failure, I decided on only the sixth day that I’m not a writer of novels. At least, not in the traditional sense. My 2012 NaNo word count sits idly somewhere around the 5K mark, where I have, for the most part, given up on it.
That said, in the last seven days, I’ve written three entirely adequate pieces of short fiction, one of which contains no three-letter words. Beat that with a stick. The week before, I wrote two little fictional stories. I realized that I’ve been writing little pieces of flash fiction all along without even knowing it.
For those of you who are wondering just what the hell flash fiction is, and I include myself in that number since I did have to look it up, here’s a definition from Wiki: “Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.”
After I accepted my failure as a novelist, I noodled about the interwebbery and discovered a site that has 365 flash fiction prompts. Well, they’re not so much prompts as phrases to write about. I did the first one, Suitably Warm, today. I wrote it without using any three-letter words as the Daily Post prompt instructed, combining two challenges into one. I’m awesome like that.
The three short stories I wrote this week could be considered flash fiction in certain circles. 1,000 Words: The Last Picture is exactly 1,000 words because I was being a smartass with the prompt. Revisionist Fish is 667 words and Suitably Warm: No Three-Letter Words is 480 words. All three of those sort of fit within the very vague definition of flash fiction. In fact, nearly every single piece of fiction on this blog could be considered flash fiction and there’s quite a bit of it. The shortest story I wrote was in response to a prompt that had me “Write a 100-word story without using the letter ‘e’ in any words.” That one was a bitch.
I’m not fond of watching word counts. Part of the reason I have a hate/love (mostly hate) relationship with NaNoWriMo is word counts. You’ll be cruising along writing something and thinking it’s awesome. You save and update your online word count only to realize that you wrote 600 words. The word counter slaps you across the face and says you need to write 1066 more words to finish on time, otherwise, you won’t finish until January 30, 2015. Well, crap. NaNo does not take quality into consideration. It only eats words in bulk and I’m not really a bulk writer.
I have no intention of writing exactly between 300 and 1,000 words for each prompt. I hate word counts and I refuse to be beholden to them. I will write as much as I have to say on a subject and that’s that.
Now, I know how I am with setting daily goals for myself. It’s just not going to happen really. I’m not going to force myself to write something every day because that is a surefire way to set myself up for failure. 365 prompts may take 795 days to write, but that’s OK. I will do the best I can while still answering Daily Post prompts and writing all the random crap that clutters up my brain anyway. I added a category called 365 Flash Fiction Challenge to keep track.
This might be a lame excuse not completing NaNoWriMo again, but it’s really not intended as penance. It’s just that I think I can do it as long as I have a fire under my buttocks and something awesome might come from it that is not a novel. You never know.