Today I was moved to write my first blog that is not a flash fiction story. I hope it is not too boring, especially as it is four to six times the usual size of my posts here. 😳
“For some reason I don’t like prompts. They annoy me. I should go deeper as to why, I think.”
Mel’s comment got me thinking. My blog is completely the opposite: my last fifty-five posts have been based on my responses to two writing prompts:
1. FridayFictioneers – hosted by the novel and short story published author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields;
2. WhatPegmanSaw – hosted by the talented writers Karen Rawson and Joshua Hardy Carroll.
For the last twelve weeks I have written, on average, two stories per week for each of these photo prompts. Some weeks, I have written three stories for a particular FridayFictioneers photo prompt.
Okay my blog was set up to “Keep Calm and Write Flash Fiction” and in the early weeks I was writing flash fiction to be offered to The Drabble, who use photographs in much the same way novels use their front cover artwork: to support their stories, and pique reader interest.
But why, after having half a dozen stories published by The Drabble, did I then opt to concentrate of writing one hundred word and one hundred and fifty word flash fiction stories based on photographs that were easily worth a thousand words, often more?
Was it about being more economical in my word usage without sacrificing on meaning, a useful exercise in tightening my prose, not having that wiggle room that novelists could enjoy?
The answer to this question is, ‘Yes and no’ as I have been a short story writer since winning my first short story competition in the spring of 2006, even during my MA in creative writing from 2012 to 2014, which concentrated on the major forms of storytelling using the written word: plays for theatre; plays for radio; short stories for radio; short stories for anthologies, mass market novels and self-publishing; scripts for television and scripts for the film industry.
So, was I not a good enough writer to use my own imagination and not rely on photo prompts?
There is no simple answer to this question. Sorry. I suppose there is something about the challenge I like. That competitive side of me comes out, maybe. However, for me, it is not about competing, not about proving I am better than another author, rather it is about showcasing my stories. But even that is not correct because I enjoy spending more time on other’s work than my own – by commenting on as many of their stories as I can, supporting their efforts and encouraging them. And even though common story threads appear each week, it never ceases to amaze me the variety of different stories and styles that are created by the aspiring and published authors. The buzz surrounding these stories is significant, as is the amount of research performed by some writers for their stories.
Despite all this, what it really comes down to for me is – I believe it is better to give than to receive. Truly. I know many of those bloggers I follow and read regularly may disagree with my sentiment, but in immersing myself in these photo prompts each week, I feel part of a community of supporting and encouraging writers, who read my work, and understand it – and offer constructive criticism when they do not, criticism that is more meaningful as they offer their work to be read and commented on, something Rochelle actively promotes and polices in the kindest and friendliest way imaginable.