|Pull up your laptop and write!|
Hi all, Denise here!
I got the idea for RomanticFridayWriters from my weekly participation in #Fridayflash. It is where I cut my flash fiction teeth. However, the stories are usually quite dark at #ff, so I was having a discussion with my Pommie mate Francine and ran the idea by her – why can’t we start a weekly flash fiction group for romantic writers? So, we sprinkled a little fairy dust and RFWer was born!
I met some absolutely awesome writers in my weekly forays into #fridayflash. (I still participate when I can! It’s where I practise my paranormal, weirder stuff!) The flashiest writer I’ve ever met lives in the woods on the Muskoka River in Canada. Her stories taught me a lot, so I’ve asked her to guest post for us this week. And she’s indulging me by linking to my requested favourite story by her, Ruby Tuesday. She posted it maybe two years ago and it’s still ringing in my head, so that means it resonated with me big time! And it has a romantic element!
Hi there! I'm here today to talk about how Friday Flash changed my life.
Really, it might sound a bit cliched, but I can’t put it any different than that. Before Friday Flash, I was an ex-reporter who missed writing and dabbled in blogging. Since Friday Flash I actually have the cojones to call myself a Writer, with fifty-plus short stories to my credit and a novel in progress.
I now have friends all over the world, including Denise who so kindly asked me to write for her – friends who mean as much to me as my childhood friends, as much as family members and colleagues.
Writing flash fiction in a like-minded group can be a life-changer and, if you have any kind of a writer’s soul at all, you’d be daft not to try your hand at it.
Jon Strother, the founder of Friday Flash, is a talented writer who blogs at Mad Utopia. He dreamt up the Friday Flash concept as a way for writers to showcase their work, to meet other writers and encourage the writing of flash fiction, much as Denise and Francine dreamt up RomanticFridayWriters to encourage romance writers to hone their craft and have fun doing it in a like-minded group.
What is flash fiction? ‘Flash’ has nothing to do with taking your clothes off in public. It’s simply a short story, 1,000 words or less. It needs to be a complete story with a beginning, middle and end but other than that, you get an idea and run with it. Being given a weekly theme or prompt as at RFWer gives you a starting place, but that’s all! The rest is up to you to make of it as you will.
I must tell you, though, writing flash fiction is addictive. Have you found that? I wrote a story almost every week, for an entire year. I wrote one the week I got married. I wrote one on my honeymoon. I wrote when I was sick. I wrote when I was tired. Nothing would dissuade me from meeting the weekly #Fridayflash deadline.
Some people take an entire week to write their Flash. How about you?
With a full-time job, two kids, a husband and a great love for the outdoors, I don’t have a heck of a lot of time for writing during the week. Thursday is my Flash night. I start thinking about a story idea on my way home from work on Thursday night. Sometimes I come up with an idea on that drive. Sometimes I don’t. After dinner and dishes I disappear into the bedroom with my laptop, close the door behind me and stare at the blank screen until the first line pops into my head.
I write for about an hour and a half. Sometimes less, if it’s a short piece. Sometimes more if I have extra words. (The word limit at #ff is 1,000). Generally, though, it isn’t a long time. When I finish I announce, loudly, “ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!” and haul my laptop into the kitchen where I read it out loud to Dave, my long-suffering husband.
This is how I edit. By reading to Dave.
Reading anything out loud is the best way I know of to find mistakes in your flash fiction. They pop off the page when you read them orally. When you read a story to yourself, the mistakes stay hidden because you see only what you want to see. I can’t overstate the importance of reading aloud. Even if there’s nobody else in the house, it’s important to hear the words.
But having a husband willing to listen and say nice things is very, very nice.
When the quick edit is done I post it on my blog with the Twitter hash-tag #fridayflash. I see you have similar options at RFWer. Social networks are the stuff of dreams for memes! (Yes, we have poets at #ff just as you have at RFWer, but I'm not one!)
It’s important to travel around the blogosphere to read other writers’ stories after you've posted you own. I comment, then I hype their stories on Twitter. This cross-promotion is also important to the group process. It helps your work, it helps other people’s work. It’s just win-win all over the darned place.
If you write to a regular flash meme as at Fridayflash and RFWer, you will eventually begin to see a group of writers whose tastes are similar to your own. You will naturally gravitate to them and eventually you will find yourself in a supportive, friendly circle of people who are just like you.
I haven’t written a flash for a few months, only because I’m in the middle of writing a novel. I miss it though. Miss the excitement of reading people’s comments about my stories. Miss reading other people’s stories. Miss the camaraderie and party-like atmosphere of Friday nights, a flurry of Tweets and woots and exclamation marks.
The absolute best thing about being in a group like Friday Flash or RFWer? It hones your ability as a writer. My stories aren’t always fantastic – sometimes they are downright embarrassing. But the steady business of writing every week makes me a better writer. Gives me confidence. And besides, two or three of those stories I wrote were pretty darned good. If I do say so myself.
And, of course, I do.
Cathy Olliffe-Webster is a writer and graphic artist living in a log cabin on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada.
Thank you Cathy for sharing with us today. I wish you all the best for your novel and the NaNoWriMo experience!
Here is the link to Cathy’s amazing story, Ruby Tuesday.
- What do you think? Did anything Cathy shared resonate with you?
- How do you go about writing your flash fiction?
- Has writing for RFWer made you a better writer?
- What is the best thing about RFWer for you?
Please share your thoughts...