Today is National Flash Fiction Day (NFFD), which is a day to celebrate the art form of the very short story. I love writing flash fiction - it’s a fun challenge to create characters in such a small space and still get the reader to care about them and their situations. Also I’ve always been a fan of twist endings, and flash is the perfect medium for twists.
I regularly participate in flash fiction competitions held by NYC Midnight, which is where I met the fabulous writer Rachael Dunlop. Rachael is part of the team organizing Flashpoints to celebrate NFFD, so I heard about this fun writing activity from her. Flashpoints combines the public spontaneity of a flash-mob with creating and sharing a story. The full explanation is here, but basically: you go somewhere public, get inspired, scribble down a very short story, and leave it for someone to find. This sounded both exhilarating and a tad bit scary to me (no editing? no deleting and retyping every word choice 20 times?), so I was on the lookout for the right time to Flashpoint (does it work as a verb?).
A few weeks ago, my brother and I had a sneak peek screening of our latest short film High Heels and Hoodoo at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, SC. We had dinner with out-of-town family members, which finished sooner than we anticipated, so we ended up at the screening over an hour early. I was pacing to burn off nervous energy and trying not to fret, when out of the blue I remembered Flashpoints – what a perfect way to distract myself!
I glanced around the lobby of the theater at the other people waiting to see the films, and the idea for a story popped into my head. I pulled my handy-dandy notebook out of my purse and started scrawling. When I was done, I took a picture of it “in the wild” like the Flashpoints website requests. I also took a close-up picture so I could transcribe it for sending to Flashpoints. And I even took a picture of myself with it because I was all dressed up and since that so rarely happens I needed a photo for posterity. Then I left it in the lobby – I pity the poor person who tried to decipher my chicken scratch.
If you’re interested in reading the “masterpiece” I wrote that evening, you can find it here on the Flashpoints website.
It was a fun exercise, and I encourage all my writer friends to take a moment today to write a quick short story in celebration of National Flash Fiction Day.
Do you enjoy writing flash fiction? How are you celebrating National Flash Fiction Day? Are you thinking about finding your own Flashpoint?