(This post was first published on December 16, 2013)
The best flash fiction is all about the right words in the right order; or, diction and syntax. The best flash fiction is also about knowing which words to leave in and which words to leave out; because the words you leave in have to imply the words you did not have room for.
This is where the reader comes in. If the writer is talented enough and lucky enough, he or she will leave in the right words so that the imagination of the reader will provide the words (or the emotions, images or the thoughts) that are implied.
This is why the best flash fiction is a creative partnership between reader and writer. The writer provides the dots (the words) and the reader connects the dots.
Isn’t flash fiction wonderful?
Well, the Old Soldier made his beer run to Armand’s in Little Italy. I sat up near the front window and watched Liberty Avenue and tried to think deep thoughts; but all I could think of was how bleak the scene looked on Liberty Avenue. Oh, all the businesses had up their Christmas decorations, but the Old Soldier has never liked overcast skies.
Still, it felt good to be retired, to be able to do with my time what I wanted to do with it. It felt good to be an editor and a publisher and a writer.
And I knew that the sun would eventually come out again. If writing teaches you anything, it teaches self-discipline and patience.
I checked my bus schedule and got a six-pack of beer to go.
PS Every writer gets rejections notices. Every writer does not keep studying his or her craft. It makes a difference. It is often the difference between success and failure.