WE’RE BAAAAACK with another Flash! Future! Last week it was my privilege chattering about #VSS365 and its ever-growing roster of writers. Communities like #VSS365—and like the vibrant if temporary autumn breeze community you’re soldering together here at Fire&Ice—are a genuine gift to readers and writers alike. Your stories challenge, inspire, shred, and enliven, sometimes all at once. As for myself, I can’t tell you how many times the way you’ve painted your worlds, or breathed life into your characters, or sewn in a clever twist, or pirouetted across rich, poetic detail, has taught me what writing can be.
It reminds me of something Mary Robinette Kowal, the multi-Hugo-award-winning short story wizard, said about short form writing:
Writing is fractal. Once you understand how something works at one length, you can apply it to other lengths as long as you understand the principles involved.
The truth is there is much to be learned from flash and microfiction, not only for the tiny power-beasts the forms are themselves, but for what they can also show us about writing longer forms. So I thought it would be fun today to share with you a hands-on guest lecture Kowal gave last semester on short story writing. In it she elaborates on her celebrated MICE quotient approach (milieu, idea, character, event) at the same time she challenges us, the viewers, to write along with a fresh piece of flash.
Are you game?? If so, please pick up a pen and dive into this lecture with me. And I welcome you, if you’re so inclined, to share your thoughts on Kowal’s lesson OR!!! if you dare!!! share your resultant story in the comments. May Kowal’s words spark a bonfire of ideas for you, as your own words have so often done for me. Thank you. ♥