Friday, November 6, 2009
The first time I referred to myself as a writer in conversation I shocked myself. I was probably a freshmen in college and still learning the ins and outs of how to gather an audience of some sort; whether it be my friends or people I didn't know. Then I discovered blogging. It seemed long-winded, but so did everything else. Blogging turned into Twitter. And thus, flash-fiction/nano-fiction/micro-fiction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it was born and evolved and grew tremendously in popularity. But now people's attention spams are limited. How does this affect the way writers write?
As the editor of 50 to 1, I try to keep this idea in mind. I know people want to read something short and still want to feel like they've accomplished something by doing so. It is the same for writing these micro pieces. It is definitely something that every writer should keep tucked away in the back of their brain.
I don't necessarily agree with the realm of flash-fiction storming literature the way it is, but I do see why it is gaining numbers. Don't get me wrong; I love reading a strong piece of flash-fiction. If you write something that short that is so strongly developed, then you have done a lot. That's what I look for as an editor. It is hard to write a 50-word story and still have it do something. When it works, its awesome. When it doesn't, its just a couple of words blotched together.
I just don't like to see the other forms of literature go unnoticed because of this. I want people to keep writing novels, poetry collections, short stories, etc. I want to keep reading them. As should everyone calling themselves a writer.
I guess what I'm getting at; don't let a good story or poem go unread because it is too long. And, in that same idea, don't shorten the length of your work because you want it to be published somewhere. Don't change your style to gain an audience; that's no fun. Most writers know they are readers first, writers second. So most writers understand the differences people have in style. Yes, there are writers who dedicate most of their work to flash fiction. And, vise versa, there are writers who dedicate their work to novels and lengthier fiction. But they understand the importance of the opposite category. Most writers I know dabble in just about any area they can; even though they'd like to call themselves a strict flash-fiction-ite or a strict novelist.
Maybe I'm not making any sense at all. I don't know. I'm certainly no expert on the area and I probably sound like an idiot. But hey, what the hell. I like all kinds of literature and, basically, I think that is what should be important to any writer. Just be open to anything and stay true to yourself. Have your favorites, write whatever you want, and read everything. Your audience will come to you and continue to grow if you just keep at it.
Glen can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org