In the last month or so, the members of my writer’s group have been challenging each other to write more short stories to submit for publication. The idea is that if we are writing and getting published, then we might have some credibility on the subject. And that is important since we want to do some speaking engagements at writers’ conferences about short stories.
I love short stories. I love all stories in general, but short ones are nice for me because I don’t always have the staying power that long ones require. That doesn’t mean that I don’t dream about long-form fiction. But dreaming isn’t writing any more than wishing to be skinny is exercising.
The problem I have with short stories is that I get the seed of an idea and then it keeps growing. When it grows big enough, by all rights it should become a novel. But I have three unfinished novels currently moldering under a pile of good intentions to finish them and no plans to do so. So keeping my vision for short stories small is important.
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about fantasy stories. There’s a flash fiction contest coming up from Splickety Publishing Group that focuses on fantasy and sci-fi, and I intend to make an entry. As a result, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite fantasy stories: Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Discworld, Fablehaven, Harry Potter, etc.
Want to take a guess as to how many of these are representative of flash fiction? I’ll save you the trouble. None of them.
Fantasy stories are made to be long, because half the fun of having a fantasy story is in creating the world in which the story is set. And a good world need rules. If there is magic, how does it work? What are the fantastic creatures like? Are there gods or deities meddling in the affairs of men? How did the world come to be in the first place?
Once you make the playground for your characters to run around in, it is nice to take to your time with a long page count and let them run free. Restricting them to a 500 word count is hard.
And yet, that’s my plan. My seed of an idea is growing, but I think I can break it up in flash fiction tidbits. Essentially, I’m going to create a series of related stories set in the fantasy world I’m designing. Will it work? I don’t know. But that’s not going to stop me from trying.
Would you read a series of flash fiction posts set in the same fantasy world? Do you like world-building? What is your favorite fantasy series and why?