Thursday, January 29, 2015

Take Time When You Write

It seems that everyone in today's world is in a hurry. People look for shortcuts in nearly everything they do. Keep it short is almost a mantra for some. Technology has only added to the idea of doing everything in a rush.

Flash fiction came into being because too many people claimed they didn't have time to read full stories. They missed reading so the short-short story filled the need. Poetry contests limit entries to a line count that excludes a good many poems. We want this to be a quick read is what most of us derive from that requirement. There are even calls out for fiction of 100 words or less. Now, that's almost flash-flash fiction!

I'm sure you've noticed that magazines are considerably skinnier now. Part of the reason is cost to the publisher but I think that allowing the reader to get through the magazine in less time is also a factor.
The same thing is happening with newspapers. Again, cost of production is a major factor, but fewer and fewer people read the newspaper, preferring to get their news in bits and pieces online and on tv. It reminds me of that old Dragnet tv show where Sgt, Friday was known to quip, Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. That's about all the news that a large chunk of our population is willing to read now.

In this speedy world we now live in, do you rush through your writing projects, too? Do you try to make them as short as possible? I hope not. We may be writing flash fiction for those 'have no time' people to read, but we need to take enough time to make it a minimum of words that are worthwhile. Hurry through a writing project and it will show. An editor will spot the I zipped this thing out in an hour story in a flash.

He who hurries through a writing project, who does not take the time to revise and edit more than once, who dashes it off without a backward glance is going to be the one holding a rejection letter in hand (or in an email).

It's all too easy to have the hurry-up attitude in your writing because of all the other speedy things in our lives. Slow down and give your writing time. Hurry through other parts of your life if you must, but take some time when writing.

A word about writing flash fiction or even flash-flash fiction--it might be short to read but it's not at all easy to write a full story in a very few words. If you've ever tried it, you know. If you haven't writtten anything like this, give it whirl and you'll realize how difficult it is to write thise bare-bones stories.


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