All right, you’re a writer or want to be a writer. What is your vision of humankind? What? You don’t have a vision of humankind? You need one. This vision of humankind will run through everything you write. A writer’s vision colors what he or she writes about and how he or she writes about it. Knowing what your vision is will help focus your work. And if you are working within the tight confines of flash fiction (or any length of fiction) your work must be focused. Spend some time thinking through exactly what your vision is. This will help to make your work unique. Your work needs some kind of uniqueness to make it stand out in the eyes of an editor. What are you really saying about the human condition?
Your vision may be made up of very ordinary elements. That’s okay just as long as you are aware of these elements and how they inform your work. If these elements are important to you they will be important to your characters and your readers will recognize many of their own concerns in your work. Never state in a story what your vision is; it should be acted out by your characters.
I think one of the reasons we still read the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald is because of how intimately his vision informed his subject matter. His vision was his subject matter. I would argue that his fiction was about the struggle to achieve paradise on earth and paradise on earth was made up of youth, beauty and wealth. Later, a more mature Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise was published when he was 23 or 24 and it brought him money and national celebrity status) wrote about the moral corruption that was at the heart of this paradise.
All my fiction is held together by the vision of an emotionally wounded humanity trying to survive and find meaning in a hostile world.
So, you’re a writer. What’s your vision?