Thursday, August 9, 2007

What is sudden fiction, anyway?

My collegiate mentor, postmodernist author Robert Kelly, taught a course at Bard College called Sudden Fiction. Ten years later, he may still teach it. The goal of the course was to produce fictions so short they were Sudden!

Sudden fiction is known by many names, including flash fiction, short-short fiction, and so on. However, defining this style (or defining these styles) is difficult. While there are really no hard-and-fast rules, here are the guidelines.

Sudden fiction is often:

-Short, usually under a page
-Boiled down to a sensuous reduction, like the metamorphosis from sap to maple syrup
-Unconventionally styled, a close cousin to poetry

From a philosophical standpoint, some authors see these gems as simply microscopic short stories, with a traditional plot and character development. Others get experimental. Regardless of its definition, sudden fiction makes a play to capture the imagination in a modern moment. It imposes an incredible constraint on authors to get to the point quickly, while using all our wiles to express something powerful in a short amount of physical space.

If you are interested, join me at Raincoat Flashers, whether you are an experienced author or (like me) just a weekend warrior. Not only is sudden fiction fun to write, it's fun to read!


Barry Hess said...

This looks to be a very interesting format. I like the photo inspiration as a prompt. A flash format with prompts is a very effective way to generate ideas and get outside one's comfort zone.

Good luck!

Rion said...

Thanks Barry. I hope to get a lot of players!

Meanwhile, I need to get writing, myself.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

This looks like fun. Thanks for inviting me to play!

Rion said...

Fantastic. I hope you have fun writing.

Clarke O'Gara said...

Hello Rion thanks for looking at my work. I will certainly be taking part in this. Didn't they used to call this kind of writing flash fiction? Well I think sudden fiction is a better title anyway.

Mike Ivsin said...

Creating something from nothing calls for some skill and patience. Hermes' tablet helps even if it has worn out some at the edges.

The first step is nigredo where much gentle heat is called for. I skipped a step somewhere but then the sudden flash in the pan -- well, what you see is what you get.

I don't mind starting over but I am not sure how to make nothing out of something. Called on Hermes to help me fix it but he left this planet after falling out with (several) daughters of men. So I am told.

Lettuce, anyone?
Of course it's fresh -- just made it!