Flash Fiction: Big Story, Small Space — or The Billionaire and the Mermaid 8


Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steph_lawton

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steph_lawton

This week marks my blog’s fourth anniversary. When I opened the website, my goals were to share all things wonderful about speculative, fantasy and science fiction — a mission I still hold to.

At the same time, keeping this blog has presented me with an opportunity for growth, for realigning priorities, and for gaining exposure to new works of fiction, some great and some not-so-great — and sharing my discoveries with you in the process.

Over the past few years, I’ve worked at writing my own fiction, first novels, then starting late last year, short stories. One current project is a book that I’ll be releasing November 1 that contains 15 Christmas short stories plus a few poems, most of which have a twist of fantasy to them somewhere. I just can’t help but put in that little bit of magic. I think it’s in my DNA.

Now, the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking a free three-week Flash Fiction course with Holly Lisle (you can find it here: https://howtothinksideways.com). If you’re not familiar with the term, flash fiction is a complete story in 500 words or less. Now there’s a good way to tighten up one’s writing. By the time I’m finished with Holly Lisle’s course, I should have five complete flash fiction stories.

So this morning I wrote the opening of my first piece. Still unnamed and not yet finished, I want to give you the first peek. Here goes:

The 40-foot wave thundered onto the sand and Richard grinned, pushing blond hair out of his eyes blown there by the misty breeze. He tightened his grip on the surfboard and plunged into the receding surf. The challenge ahead filled him with an excitement that all his billions in the bank never could.

Out in the swells he floated, hand on board, waiting for the monster wave that would carry him to shore. He took a deep breath and dunked into the water for just a second to slick his hair out of his eyes, but when he kicked to push himself back up, a tight grip latched onto his ankle and pulled him farther down.

Four hundred more words and it should be done. What do you think? Have you read much flash fiction? Or written it perhaps? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The bottom line: A wonderful tale — science fiction, fantasy or any other type — is all about story. How tightly can one pack in all the good stuff and keep it moving? I’m about to find out.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Big Story, Small Space — or The Billionaire and the Mermaid

  • Milo James Fowler

    Sounds like a great challenge! Flash fiction forces us to make every word count. 500 is tough; I prefer the 1K limit. Your first 100 pulled me in (literally), and I’d definitely read more. Mission accomplished, I say! Be sure to check out Every Day Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, and Nature Futures for some of the best flash out there.

    • Dona Watson Post author

      Cool! Thanks for the sources! I’m going to check those out now–and thank you for the kind words too. Without your encouragement at SDCWG I probably wouldn’t be writing short fiction. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Devin Miller

    Cool post! I’m a huge fan of flash fiction myself. Your beginning sounds good. It raises lots of questions. Hopefully I’ll get to read the rest and have them answered. 🙂

  • Beverly Nault

    It’s an overcast, chilly morning here, but as I read your opening I was all of a sudden sitting in the sun, feeling the waves under my board, toes in the water, sea salt breeze in m hair. Well done! Can’t wait for more!