I hate to be the one to break the news to you, people, but the novel is dead!
No? What’s that you say? You beg to differ?
Well, then, in return, I say to you, “So go and buy a copy of my reasonably priced eBook, Missing Zero! Go on, prove to me people still want to buy novels…”
Uh-huh. Now, here’s where you’re gonna start to make up lame excuses about your having a ton of other things to read currently and how you’re suffering another one of your infamous cluster-fuck headaches and how your pet hamster’s got her period, right?
Yeah, right! Just admit it. You haven’t read anything longer than this blog since those navy seals supposedly shot Bin Laden dead and then mysteriously dumped him overboard.
Not that I’m suggesting the two things are in any way connected; trust me, I’m just simply pointing out to you the extreme length of your novel-reading abstinence in a (slightly) overly-sensationalized way.
Sorted. Ok, so we’re agreed the novel is at the very least flat-lining as we speak (metaphorically speaking, that is).
So what the hell are we writerly-types going to do about it? Become poets? No, not bloody likely, let me tell you! I flatly refuse to smoke hand-rolled cigarettes, for one thing. And for another, I don’t own a single hand-knitted woollen vest. Sorry!
Anyway, poets are to Literature what wanky-poseur jazz musicians are to good music.
Which again leads us back to the question, “Quo vadis (trans. whither goest thou), Sweet Wordsmith?”
Well, if I might be so bold, I think I might just have the answer: Flash fiction – (cue singing, “A-ah, Saviour of the Universe!”).
Let me apologise. As you’ve probably, no doubt, already noticed, I can’t hear the word “flash” and then not be compelled to imitate Freddie Mercury belting out the theme song from Queen’s soundtrack to the 1980 film version of Flash Gordon. Don’t worry, it probably isn’t all that contagious.
But I digress. On a more serious note, let me say that I didn’t really have any experience with micro-fiction/flash fiction (what have you) — “A-ah, It’s a Miracle!” – until about a week ago.
In one of my previous blog posts, I recently detailed some of the experiences I have had since joining Helium, a professional blog-writing community. But what I didn’t mention at that stage is that I also had a go, for the first time, at writing some 400-word flash fiction pieces, as part of a creative-writing competition Helium runs over there each fortnight.
In short, from my brief foray into the condensed format flash fiction offers, I would say it may well end up driving the final nail into the coffin of the whole moribund novel-writing caper. Just sayin’?!
Some guy called David Gaffney wrote a good introductory article for the Guardian back in May, 2012 about this new-ish phenomenon, which should whet your appetite enough, if you haven’t given flash fiction a go already. See the link below:
And should you wish to check out my own first attempt at a short-short story (written under the pen name of Hadiran Brand), please follow the link here!
Pathetic Earthlings…who can save you now?