I must confess that I read very little “flash” fiction (short stories under a thousand words), so I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject. All I know is that I found Spidersong by Alex Shvartsman be satisfyingly creepy.
The spiders are coming, but with the adults chattering endlessly, the children cannot hear the song. So they ask one adult for a story, while the spiders grow ever-closer.
A good read if you like creepy scifi! Check it out online at Daily Science Fiction. It won’t take long!
Alex Shvartsman is a writer and game designer. His adventures so far have included traveling to over 30 countries, playing a card game for a living, and building a successful business. Alex resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and son. His blog can be found at www.alexshvartsman.com
Is flash fiction a preferred style for you, or was this an exception? What do you see as the advantage to the extra-short format?
Most of the stories I’ve written to date are flash fiction. Partly it’s because of how little time I’m able to claw out of an average day to spend on this. More importantly, I tend to be very concise in my writing, and that compliments the flash format very well. Most of my friends struggle to get their manuscripts under the word limit guidelines of their target markets. I, on the other hand, often struggle to hit the lower accepted limit instead!
Perhaps the greatest advantage of flash stories is their accessibility to the reader. Our readers lead busy lives and it’s a lot easier for them to find a couple of minutes to read a flash piece from Daily Science Fiction or Every Day Fiction on their coffee break than to sit down and enjoy a 5,000 word story, no matter how great that longer story may be. Personally I often snatch a few minutes to read flash pieces on my cell phone.
In terms of crafting a story, flash is challenging because you have very few scenes to work with (often only one) and a limited amount of time to develop the characters. Trying to cut a story down from 1200 words to a thousand really helps cut down those excessive words – a skill that can and should be applied even when the word limit is less stringent.
Are you afraid of spiders?
I find all manner of insects unpleasant. While seeing a spider doesn’t make me run for the exit, I wouldn’t ever want to hold or even touch one of those large fuzzy pet tarantulas.
This story was inspired by the photo of trees in Pakistan that were completely covered in spiderwebs. http://pics.livejournal.com/alexshvartsman/pic/0000w2rp/
The image was equally beautiful and spooky. It made me imagine giant spiders that covered entire forests with their silk. I worked this image directly into the story. It’s the scene where two of the children meet a spider for the first time.
What are you working on now?
I’m in a process of writing another Conrad Brent story. This is a series of light, action oriented urban fantasy short stories set in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY. I delight in using titles that reference popular books and movies about the borough. The first story, titled “A Shard Glows in Brooklyn” will be published at Buzzy Magazine in 2012. The one I’m working on currently is titled “Requiem for a Druid” and has the protagonist butting heads with a fictionalized version of Donald Trump.