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Does writing flash make you a better writer?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fioOxf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 8:39pm
Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

It's great to see all of these thoughts. I asked because I was thinking about how much I've learned here. Bu I think a big part of why I'm learning is the quick feedback loop here; that has helped me learn the most.
Debating whether to do the SSC too...

Interesting thread. I'm a newbie too AND also trying to decide whether to sign up for SSC AND it looks like I live just down the road from you. LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Talespinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Nov 2018 at 5:36am
Better? Jury's out; but Pat, TaleSpinner and I, we like my stuff better.

More concise? Certainly

More metaphor, poetic license? Yes, what fun!

More creative? Yep: random prompts push me outside my comfort zone, away from same-ole, same-ole into fresh pastures with odd-looking hay-stacks to firkle through and new needles of gold to discover.

More confident? Sure, on a good day.

More productive? Absolutely, in terms of time management, focus and word count. 

NYCM has taught me to produce a finished flash piece within 1000 words in a dozen or so revisions over a week, and I'm delighted with that. Quality is improving all the time. (And I've learned that for me, good writing blossoms in the revision process.) 

Practice has taught me I can always shave a few words to get it within 1000 words: I write a lot of crap which can be removed. E.g. "taken out" was two words; now, "removed" is 50% shorter! And, the first draft is always a haystack of junk. The early revisions are firkles, looking for the story which will surely emerge...

I've learned to keep several stories in work concurrently. When I return to one to revise it, I return with a fairly fresh mind and see its strengths and weaknesses more clearly. With having worked on the others and with the passing of time, I return to the one with some distance and objective critical thinking. (When there's just one work in the pipeline, it gets too precious to revise objectively.)

I'm seeing flash as a goldmine of creativity, sometimes producing little stories that stand by themselves (I think flash can be art, in itself) and sometimes producing shoots that can grow into short stories or maybe more.

Better? Confidence, conciseness, creativity, metaphor, poetic license, productivity: heck yeah!

Going into indie publishing in Q1 2019 will tell me whether anyone else agrees...

Thanks for the question and the opportunity for reflection, GG,
Pat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wateringcan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 8:20am
Writing short form is definitely helpful to me, regardless of the medium. I've worked here and there as a comedy writer in the past and, about a decade ago, I had a cartoon strip in a local magazine. Doing the cartoon amped up my abilities in comedy exponentially. They always tell comedy writers to write sketches before sitcoms, because if you can't write a sketch you can't write a sitcom. I disagree a bit with that, because I don't think everyone is a sketch writer, but I think there is a point in there somewhere. If you can't do the job in one scene, then given more scenes you'll just use that space to 'cheat', instead of keeping it tight. It makes me think of playing piano. You're taught without the pedals first because it's too easy to 'cheat' with a pedal (hold the notes with your foot so you can move your hands) and this makes for sloppy playing. It's kind of the same with writing. You want to learn how to be succinct, be tight, be economical, and forcing yourself to tell a story in a very small space of time is how you learn to do that. You don't learn to do that with 50 scenes, where you can use that extra space for sloppiness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KJHunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 8:56am
Undoubtedly it has helped me. Just before I entered the FFC I was working on a book, albeit very slowly... I had written short stories, but not a lot of flash. The most common crit I received on my R1 story was that it read like a prologue... so I took that feedback and applied it to a flurry of flash pieces and though I still have work to do (I'm a sucker for description), it helped me so much to drill things down and focus on brevity, getting the point across without getting lost in exposition, and to ask myself "Is this a complete story?"

Flash forward to today (see what I did there?) and I'm doing NaNoWriMo and though it's going to need some serious editing, I can tell how much the writing has improved based on the techniques I've learned writing flash. If anything, I'm going to have to go back and ADD description! In the end it has helped me to really consider every single word and whether or not it should be there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 11:05am
I've been thinking a lot about my own question.
What I've been thinking about in particular is brevity and clarity.
How to be brief without being confusing.
How to be brief without too much ''telling".
How to use "good telling" alongside "showing".
How to use subtext selectively, and to be direct where that is what is needed.
I am still puzzling this out, I think it's a personal thing really, balancing all of those.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 11:09am
Originally posted by KJHunter KJHunter wrote:

Undoubtedly it has helped me. Just before I entered the FFC I was working on a book, albeit very slowly... I had written short stories, but not a lot of flash. The most common crit I received on my R1 story was that it read like a prologue... so I took that feedback and applied it to a flurry of flash pieces and though I still have work to do (I'm a sucker for description), it helped me so much to drill things down and focus on brevity, getting the point across without getting lost in exposition, and to ask myself "Is this a complete story?"

Flash forward to today (see what I did there?) and I'm doing NaNoWriMo and though it's going to need some serious editing, I can tell how much the writing has improved based on the techniques I've learned writing flash. If anything, I'm going to have to go back and ADD description! In the end it has helped me to really consider every single word and whether or not it should be there.
Did it sound like a prologue because you were starting the story in the wrong place? Curious.
Fantastic to hear it's helped you with nano. 
I love descriptive writing but I know what you mean!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 11:11am
Originally posted by wateringcan wateringcan wrote:

Writing short form is definitely helpful to me, regardless of the medium. I've worked here and there as a comedy writer in the past and, about a decade ago, I had a cartoon strip in a local magazine. Doing the cartoon amped up my abilities in comedy exponentially. They always tell comedy writers to write sketches before sitcoms, because if you can't write a sketch you can't write a sitcom. I disagree a bit with that, because I don't think everyone is a sketch writer, but I think there is a point in there somewhere. If you can't do the job in one scene, then given more scenes you'll just use that space to 'cheat', instead of keeping it tight. It makes me think of playing piano. You're taught without the pedals first because it's too easy to 'cheat' with a pedal (hold the notes with your foot so you can move your hands) and this makes for sloppy playing. It's kind of the same with writing. You want to learn how to be succinct, be tight, be economical, and forcing yourself to tell a story in a very small space of time is how you learn to do that. You don't learn to do that with 50 scenes, where you can use that extra space for sloppiness.
Two comparisons I had never thought of, sketch writing and piano playing. So insightful, thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KJHunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 11:29am
Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

Originally posted by KJHunter KJHunter wrote:

Undoubtedly it has helped me. Just before I entered the FFC I was working on a book, albeit very slowly... I had written short stories, but not a lot of flash. The most common crit I received on my R1 story was that it read like a prologue... so I took that feedback and applied it to a flurry of flash pieces and though I still have work to do (I'm a sucker for description), it helped me so much to drill things down and focus on brevity, getting the point across without getting lost in exposition, and to ask myself "Is this a complete story?"

Flash forward to today (see what I did there?) and I'm doing NaNoWriMo and though it's going to need some serious editing, I can tell how much the writing has improved based on the techniques I've learned writing flash. If anything, I'm going to have to go back and ADD description! In the end it has helped me to really consider every single word and whether or not it should be there.
Did it sound like a prologue because you were starting the story in the wrong place? Curious.
Fantastic to hear it's helped you with nano. 
I love descriptive writing but I know what you mean!


I think less because I started it in the wrong place, and more because I ended it in the wrong place. Rather... there wasn't any specific resolution. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, there wasn't enough conflict/action, and it left too many unanswered questions. That's what I got out of the feedback anyway - you're free to read the story (linked in sig) and tell me if I'm off base there. :)
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