22 August 2011

Famous flash fiction:  “For Sale: Baby shoes.  Never worn.”  (often attributed to E. Hemingway)

Today we worked on a second MasterWorks Journal entry.  If you wrote about a 55er before, write about a longer Flash this time.  If you wrote about a longer flash last time, write about a 55er today.

When we pooled our numbers on the board, we realized that these flash writers used almost NO adverbs, very few adjectives and LOTS of nouns.  Verbs were in the mid-range, and we found that surprising.  We talked about transitions, and noticed that while “The Baseball Glove” transitions by changing emotions, “A Purple Heart” kept coming back to the actual funeral to transition.  In “Edmunds…” we saw that the writer referred back to his previous paragraph by saying “these developments,” but the other 55ers didn’t really have much in the way of transitions–they seem to be implied more than stated.

We also noticed that the flash endings tended to do a few things:

  1. Explain the story (like shining a light backwards at what you had already read).
  2. Create a final act (like a prayer or a funeral/burial).
  3. Peek into the future (like in “A Purple Heart” where the writer says “History would set everything aright.”)
Tomorrow we will begin writing our own flashes and we’ll be in the library on Wednesday typing them.  Remember that this first week probably feels really fast–that’s okay!  This is practice.  Usually we’ll spend a week on MasterWorks and a week on writing and a week on critique.  Now we’re spending about two days on each.
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