Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Huge Thanks To The Friday Flash Community

I just wanted to express my thanks to everyone and I mean everyone, I've come into contact with through the #fridayflash community over the last 20 months.

I've met some fantastic folk and read some wonderful fiction. I've shared trepidation over blog redesigns, rejection letters, book launches with several of you via Twitter. I've weighed into debates hosted by several of you, done the odd guest blog post and generally tried to actively participate in our community. But now for me the time has come to an end, as the shortest story form is being usurped in my priorities with long-form novel writing.

I can't remember how I came by #fridayflash. Who alerted me to it, or whether it was a punt I took on a link someone posted somewhere on Twitter.

Up until then my blog was a bit derisory. I had only really posted the odd bit of various novel works in progress, completely shorn of their context and viewed by about 1 person a week. When my novel came out in October 2009, I took a decision that I would concentrate on promoting it and would not commit to any new writing for nine months while I did so. I started making videos on self-publishing trends and writing blog posts.

But somewhere around then I also started writing and posting flash fiction. I'm still not quite sure why. I'd barely ever written short stories let alone flash. My writing style shall we say, veers towards the wordy. I'd also sworn I wouldn't be writing any new prose. Well now I've written about 70 and discovered that I can still interweave even the shortest form of fiction with demanding language. I've even performed some of them live at readings. Recorded them for either audio or video. In that 9 months of promotion, (extended to 18 in reality), through writing flashes I probably wrote more regularly and more volume of words than I ever had. 70 stories around 1000 words each, that 70,000 words then and there!

Nor can I remember my first flash piece as it wasn't posted on my blog but on one of a couple of collective writing sites I was a contributor to. My earliest pieces got one or two comments, but within a month or so that had risen to double figures. You guys seemed to validate what I was trying to do with language, within a form that didn't give you much leeway for playing around with it and that gave me great heart since it had been a criticism often levelled against my longer prose. My blog traffic took huge spikes on Fridays and Saturdays. Some of you were kind enough to honour me with blog awards, which I found a little hard to accept as I still don't see myself as much of a blogger!

I'm lucky, I have 3 Fridays in four where I'm not working. That allowed me to dive into reading as many flashes from you guys as I could. Gradually I got acquainted with people's styles; who tended to write genre and those who might tackle anything, so that one had no notion of what you were about to read from week to week.

My heart gave a little kick each time MazzzinLeeds' outlandishly long gun barrel at the top of her blog hove into view, as I wondered what fiendishly clever story she would offer up this Friday. Or hit the 'play' button for Anthony (Bukowski's Basement)'s mood music to accompany reading his story, looked over by that dissolute photo of ChuckBuck himself. Laura Eno's fantastic series of Chronos, Death, a motley cast of characters and cocktails and peanuts, leaving me hungry each week for the follow up. Of Carrie Clevenger's wonderfully evocative Texas Gothic writing, Kat Del Rio's brutally frank stories of people using people usually for bad, Alison Wells, DJ Young and Penny Goring's sublime lyrical treats one could bask in endlessly and Linda (@drwasy) always signing off her comments with "Peace", while rendering her own often deeply unsettling flashes. The sometimes melancholic, always soaring prose of Rebecca Emin and Rach Carter, the politically passionate stories of Virginia Moffatt and the outrageously clever variety of Jon Wiswell and Tony Noland's work. I followed Michael Solander's trend for progressively shorter and shorter distillation of his powerful pieces. Genevieve Ching's and PJ Kaiser's effortlessly smooth transition between styles and themes. Of Mari and Marissa who I always mixed up in the early days on Twitter! And of course the Daddy of the community, the man who made it all possible, Jon Strother.

After writing 52 stories in 53 weeks, I took a break from flash for shadowing NaNoMoWr with a new novel of my own. But after completing a draft of that, I found I had a lot of new flash ideas bubbling under and so returned this January. Like me now, some of the old names had turned to pastures new. This time round I encountered the wonderful prose of Anne Michaud, the OTT muscular writing of Tommy Salami, the ebullient prose of Jason Coggins, the thoughtful pieces of Phillip Ellis and Pete Domican, the quietly affecting work of Lisamarie Lamb and the dark deeds wrought by Melissa Webb. And many more of you for which I want to express my thanks for letting me read. Another hugely admirable writer Tim Van sant and I have swapped notes on flash anthologies and the likely make up of an introduction.

So this has been a wonderfully warm and enriching experience for me. Apart from the friendships, I now also have an anthology of 52 flashes which I will bring out on Kindle over the next couple of months. I will try and dip in and out of your #fridayflash stories on offer, but I have to dedicate my Fridays to my novel work. If I have one regret bout our community, it is that it is mainly writers speaking to other writers and somehow has to try and burst through to reach 'pure' readers.

Thank you one and all for your generosity, your interest in my work and your welcoming openness in having me as part of your community.

marc xx

20 comments:

Janet Lingel Aldrich said...

Good luck with your novel work. I've enjoyed reading many of your stories.

Marisa Birns said...

You brought wonderful words to our flash community. You made us think and you amazed us with your stories.

Best of luck with your novel work, Marc! xx

Virginia Moffatt said...

Ah thanks too Marc. You have been a very generous and supportive member of the #fridayflash community whose contributions have always been interesting, challenging and entertaining.

Good luck with the novel!

Virginia

Anonymous said...

GO! NOVEL XXXXX

Pen

KjM said...

Best wishes for your novel, Sir. And yes, ~70,000 words written is not to be sneezed at.

I hope you get the chance to stop in and read some #fridayflash from time to time. As you say, there's such a variety each week.

Karen from Mentor said...

Best of luck sir. May your words flow forth and flourish into a tome heavy enough to accidentally break a toe when dropped.

*hugs*

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Of course we hope [and expect] that you will wander back into Friday Flash eventually.

PJ said...

Marc, thanks for the mention and for your reliable comments on my stories. I am one of your biggest fans. I'm so sorry that you won't be continuing with #fridayflash, but lucky for me, I have fallen behind on reading your stories, so I should have enough to keep me happy until your anthology is available. You'll still be tweeting, right?! Best wishes with your novel :-)

li said...

It was a distinct pleasure to run across your writing several months ago. You make me think, you make me feel, and often you force me to work at untangling the threads of your ideas - always a good thing. You've greatly expanded my horizons as far as what can be done with language, and how truly multi-faceted and beautiful it can be. Last but certainly not least, you encourage and support others (as well as entertain). Fortunately, since I'm late to the game I will have the pleasure of trolling through your older flashes in the future. I look forward to it, and wish you luck and success with your current projects.

peterdomican said...

Marc, thanks so much for the mention and your encouragement. As a new writer, it meant so much to have someone championing my writing each week. I wish you all the best with your work but hope you'll have an occasional relapse and post something new.

Dan Holloway said...

Marc, I've looked in on the #fridayflash community from the sidelines ever since you dived in with absolute awe. For me the flash is up there with the novella as the quintessence of fiction, but the sheer diversity and prolific nature you guys achieve is utterly beyond me and I can only look on in admiration. I hope to hear many many of your backlist of flashes at readings in the months and years to come

Chuck Allen said...

What a wonderful post about the #FridayFlash community. Best of luck on the novel writing!

dijeratic said...

Can't really add anything but 'I agree with all the above' - I'm very pleased you'll keep your work collected and best of luck moving on.

There are a small handful of writers whose work I've fallen for over the past couple of years - you are one of them.

Now get your arse back to work. ;-)
XX
DJ

Rebecca Emin said...

Thank you so much for including my name in this post, such an honour. I hope everything goes well for you with your novel. I am in novel mode myself at the moment so I can understand why you posted this, but don't feel you can't dip in and out of #Fridayflash if you get inspired every now and then. You'll definitely be missed.

Maria A. Kelly said...

I'm heading to Novel Land myself. Good luck in all of your endeavors. You'll be missed at Friday Flash. :)

Sonia Lal said...

Good luck with the novel and the flash collection! I will miss your pieces on Fridays!

Jen Brubacher said...

I wish you all the best and I'm looking forward to what you post from now on.

Anne Michaud said...

NO!!! I will miss you and your stories:( Best of luck with your novel:)

Jason Coggins said...

Hot dog! There I was idling away an afternoon visiting other flashers and I thought to myself it would be improper not to check in on your good self ... only to have to bid you a fond farewell. As to "ebullient" ... there be food for thought there! Good luck & see ya in the funny pages, dude.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Ah man ... Say it ain't so... Good luck!! Please keep us posted!!