Here’s a great tip for a writer of flash fiction: “Write about what you know and then make the rest of it up.”
Hello hello hello, my brother and sister bloggers, poets, readers and writers from all over the world! It’s going to be a warm, overcast day in Pittsburgh and the Old Soldier is looking forward to karaoke tonight at Nico’s in Little Italy; but I digress.
Every writer has been told repeatedly to write about what he or she knows. That is great advice. There’s a reason why it’s great advice.
When I taught undergraduates (I taught in the Cathedral of Learning) fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh as I worked on my MFA at the university between 2003 to 2006, my students would turn in short stories full of quirky characters who lived in strange, exotic places. I was baffled. The stories were terrible. Not because the writing was terrible, but because the stories were unbelievable.
My students had no first-hand knowledge of the quirky people or the strange, exotic places that they were writing about.
When a writer simply creates stories out of thin air, he or she leaves all kinds of holes in his or her stories. And the writer doesn’t even know it. The moment a reader realizes that a writer doesn’t know what he or she is writing about…Well, you fill in the rest.
So, write flash fiction about what you know, and then make the rest of it up.
PS My students started writing flash fiction stories about what they knew (and believe me they knew a lot) and I was generous with the Bs and the As.
Welcome to my blog of stories, poetry and sex. Karaoke is the social event of the week for the Old Soldier (Vietnam War). I shave my face and head and wear a black bandana.
Karaoke is fun. And it’s great entertainment. You get a few beers in you and you get up in public in front of a crowd of strangers and you sing. Pittsburgh has several karaoke bars, but I go to Nico’s in Little Italy. Nico’s is easy for the college students of the University of Pittsburgh to get to. Pitt is in Oakland (my neighborhood) which is right next to Little Italy.
I’ve tried promoting this blog by passing out my blogger’s business card, but it doesn’t work. The students are there for fun and they don’t want some old dude hustling them to check out some blog about stories, poetry and sex.
So, tonight I won’t be passing out any business cards. I’ll just sing.
This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh.