Monday, July 25, 2011

Verbs Rule, Adverbs Drool?

I was planning to write this post about the importance of Verbs already. But comments on one of my writer's loops helped me to get to it quicker.

One of the 'rules' of modern writing is to avoid adverbs. But I like what one writer says about writing rules or laws. They really are more like suggestions than hard and fast rules. Kind of like the Pirate Code from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Adverbs are not expendable and a well placed adverb is worth its weight in gold.

But all writers need to remember that verbs are where the action is, literally.

So when this is discussed, people get real defensive and bring up all the great writers of old who used lots of adverbs. This is completely understandable. Writers are nothing if they are not creative. And all creative people hate to be boxed in. So that's why I think, instead of saying that avoiding adverbs is a 'rule', it would be better to look at it as a suggestion for streamlining a modern story for smoothness and aerodynamics. A well place adverb could be like racing stripes rather that something that protruded from the body drawing too much attention to itself and causing wind resistance.

Or perhaps a writer can look at it this way. Verbs are the meat of the story, the action. Adverbs, along with adjectives, article, prepositions, etc., they are more like the seasoning.

This thinking is particularly important with flash fiction since the point is to get to the action and to keep things streamlined.

Adverbs are not to be avoided like the plague but rather used carefully and sparingly like the perfect spice to enhance the power base of the story which is the verbs.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why Flash Fiction?

I had already mentioned in the previous post that flash fiction fits well into the busy life-styles of the modern lover of fiction, both writer and reader.

I'm sure there are many other reasons for reading and writing flash fiction than what I can come up with. And I'd be interested in anyone else's opinion as to why they like to read and/or write flash fiction.

On reason that I have taken to it is that my writing style is already sparse and concise. Even back in college, when I had people proof read my essays I'd get complaints that they couldn't skim because there was too much info and not enough fluff. With former critique partners, instead of being told to cut words, I was encouraged to add words to add depth. And when I would critique other people's work, I could always find ways to tighten and to say the same thing using less words.

So this is one reason flash fiction seems to be a good fit for me. I can concentrate on 300-400 hundred words and work on a system to get my point across in the sparse concise voice I already have, plus work on deepening it using a few tool and tricks that I've learned along the way.

Anyway, this, along with natural time constraints, is the reason I'm experimenting with flash fiction right now. I wonder why other people read and/or write flash fiction?

Monday, July 18, 2011

What Is Flash Fiction?

I'm still learning.
But on Avenir Eclectia, the pieces can be anywhere between 150-400 words.
Also, I know that my children don't like flash fiction. I have them read my work before I send it in to see if it makes sense or there are spelling errors. 400 words is too short for them. They want a bit more to their stories. And that's a good thing.
But I'll tell you, I'm kind of enjoying reading the flash fiction from other contributors. Because I'm so busy, just a snippet of a story is better than no story at all.

So, flash fiction is a way to get a bit of a creative story into your fast paced life, a life just a little too busy for a full length novel at this time.

It is also a good way for an over-worked, frustrated novel writer to still work on fiction to sharpen her skills for the time to come when she's not quite so busy and she can actually work on that novel.