Silver Blade now accepts flash fiction
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Mr Bulwer-Lytton would have not fared well writing flash fiction. In flash fiction every word counts and superfluous verbiage does not work. No meandering phrases. When you have less than 1000 words to tell a complete story, you must choose your words well. How many times have you finished a book and thought: “That would make a very good twenty page essay.”
For the reader, when time is limited and you do not have time to read a 10,000 word story, you probably do have time to read a 250 or a 1000 word story.
For the author, writing flash is good exercise, a place to work on technique. It is also a good place to test ideas. It can also help with mild writers block. Who, knows, maybe writing some flash fiction would have tightened Bulwer-Lytton’s language and made his books more readable.
Flash fiction can be a good antidote for those school classes where you were forced to produce ten pages of essay, even though there is only two pages of ideas. If the academics were forced to practice flash fiction writing, maybe the writing coming out of our universities would be more readable.
Here are two short examples. In the first the title helps set the time and the first line recalls the massive death toll. The next takes it to the personal level and ends with the irony of the cause of it all–all in less than 100 words.
In the Time of Black Death
The cry came faintly to the cellar. He sat in dim candlelight, resting before a pile of displaced floor stones and a half dug grave. Unwilling to surrender the body of his beloved to the dead wagon, he picked up his shovel and resumed digging.
A large gray rat ran across the huge center beam, eyes reflecting pink in the candlelight. For a moment it stopped and watched the man. The rat reached up and scratched behind its ear with a back paw and then continued on, into the dark.
In the second example, again less than 100 words, the author creates a setting, yanks the reader to another time, and presents the reader with two different generational outlooks.
Yellow flame curled around glowing logs, toasting a marshmallow golden brown. Tony sandwiched the gooey blob between a Hershey bar and a graham cracker and savored sweet perfection with eyes closed. Across the field, coyotes yipped at each other.
Crackling logs echoed off pine trees, and sent fireflies skyward. Crystalline stars winked overheard in a cloudless sky.
The airport intercom squealed an unintelligible string. Johnny had his nose pressed to the window, watching turbines wind down on a 737.
“This is awesome.”
Tony dropped his stale McMuffin into the garbage.
“It was magical, not long ago.”
The economy of words. Although some stories may require more than one hundred words, many can be told within the confines of a thousand. Do you have it in you to spin a good yarn with few words? If so, we would like to hear from you. Beginning December 1, 2015, Silver Blade will begin accepting Flash Fiction.
The rules are pretty basic:
Size range: 250 to 1,000 words.
Wow us. We want characters and stories readers will remember long afterward.
Submit only one (1) flash fiction per file, and upload only one file at a time.
Accepted Document Types: pdf, doc, docx, rtf
Follow this link to make your submission.
Silver Blade looks forward to hearing from you.
Les Weil, Fiction Editor
Karl Rademacher, Publisher