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Flash Roulette – or, how to write a story a day, every day.

February 21, 2013

I seem to have completely run out of time lately for updating my blog, which may have something to do with my One-a-Day flash fiction.

It’s nearly two months into the year and so far I’ve managed to keep up with one flash fiction a day. ‘Challenging’ isn’t quite the word for it – I’m pretty much driving myself mad with it. It’s a big commitment alongside other things (not least trying to get my novel out this year) but it’s also been very rewarding. Having to exercise your writing brain to come up with a new and complete story every day is fantastic writing practice and I think it’s actually becoming easier with time to write on demand. It’s a good excuse to try out new ideas and new techniques, too and it’s a good way to practice developing plot. That’s the biggest challenge I’ve been finding; it’s easy enough to write a vignette every day, but I’m trying to make sure that every story has an actual beginning, middle and end. I’m hoping that by the end of this year I’ll end up with a full collection of flash fiction that can be read one a day for a year and will not only be entertaining but will chart changing seasons, life events, writing progress, mood – sort of an autobiography in fictional form.

One other difficulty I’ve encountered is trying to ensure that my stories don’t get too repetitive in form and subject, so after a discussion with my friend Joe Hobson (who is an excellent poet) we devised something called the Flash Roulette Wheel. What you do is, you roll a die and move the window around the specified number of times, allowing you to randomly pick a tense, point of view, protagonist and genre. It’s proving rather useful on those days when I’m stuck for inspiration. And yes, we could have done it with the categories written down on pieces of paper instead, but behold, it fills me with nerdy joy:

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