The Cul-de-sac was set up originally in the summer as a separate blog with which to post new pieces of writing. I had made a resolution with myself at the start of the summer to start to put a concerted effort into my writing on a regular basis.
I was not ready to write The Novel nor to finish a supernatural western novella I had been working on. I needed to practice and build up the habit of regular writing. I also needed confidence, and this is where the #fridayflash phenomenon on twitter came in.
Friday Flash is a concept spearheaded by the author J M Strother which has it that authors should post a new piece of flash fiction (1k words approx) every Friday to their blogs and to share the fact on twitter with a url to the story and the tag #fridayflash. The concept has been such an immense success that J. M. Strother has just published a collection of the best Friday Flash stories so far via CreateSpace and Amazon. What was originally part practice and part networking has led to many first time writers getting that first all important publication.
On the subject of publication, the flash form of writing also lends itself well to publication in magazines both traditional and digital as they often fit on one page. A quick search on google also reveals plenty of opportunity to turn that casual Friday habit into a competitive zeal with many competitions held regularly.
There has long been two camps of writers when it comes to the little matter of giving away your baby works of great fiction. One side thinks you shouldn’t show your genius without seeing the color of money first, the other thinks that giving away work is an essential part of the new socially aware industry paradigm.
Here is the thing: People will buy The Novel from you if you have convinced them with your free work that your worth their time and money. Just as music fans (I don’t just mean consumers of music but lovers of it) will still buy CD’s and mp3′s of their favorite bands when they could just as easily download them free from somewhere else*. It’s a sign of respect for talent quite removed from a capitalist instinct of getting the most for the least investment.
For me #fridayflash has been a useful outlet to experiment with different writing styles, to meet some amazing, friendly, talented people (see links on the right) and also boost my self-confidence. Nothing boosts your self-confidence more than receiving an email from a publisher wanting to release your short fiction like Ether Books sent myself and fellow flasher Rebecca Emin (no doubt among others!).
I may have only posted 3 stories to the blog so far, however another 1 has been reserved as an exclusive for Ether Books and the inspiration has led to over a dozen other ideas that I am pursuing. Some as flash pieces, some as short stories, some as ideas for novels, serials and even non-fiction work.
That surge in productivity, to me, makes the concept much more than a flash-in-the-pan.
* At least I still buy my music and movies legally, call me old-fashioned.
Note: J M Strother publishes a list of stories every week that have been added to his ‘collector’. Go here to add yours and reach a huge potential audience of keen writers and readers.