Flash writing as performance art

Guest post by Guy Hogan

The best flash writing is performance art.  It is performance art because the writer must partner with the reader to complete the creative process.  That’s because the flash story is really two stories in one.  There is the surface story and the implied story.  The implied story takes place in the reader’s imagination.

Now you could argue that all good storytelling takes place in the reader’s imagination.  That’s true; but not to the extent of the flash story.  If a writer writes a flash story that is, say, 800 words long, the story must have a beginning, a middle and an ending.  It must have description and characterization.  It will usually have dialogue and have drama.  It must provide enough information to give the reader some idea of what happened before the story began and what might happen after the story ends.  That’s a lot; but there simply is not enough room to spell it all out for the reader.

So, a much higher percentage of a flash story must be implied, must take place in the imagination of the reader, than has to be implied in a short story of traditional length.  This means the reader must actually help the writer to create the story.

Pretty neat, huh?

Of course, I’m speaking of the best flash writing.  But if you are a writer, what other kind of flash would you want to write?

The best flash writing is performance art.

Guy Hogan is editor and publisher of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette

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Categories: guest posts, misc

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