Instastory Just Got Real. Literally.
A few months ago, I was walking around London, turned a corner and came face to face with this amazing building.
I snapped a picture and immediately shared it on my Instagram, like most people in my generation. And like most writers, the cogs in my imagination started whirring and a little short story popped up as the caption! It didn’t have a name, but I’ve called it ‘The Silent Prison’ just because of the sinister silence I felt, while walking down the road and around the building.
If you’re a writer on social media and frequently stumble across a building or landscape that sends your muses running amok, then don’t be afraid to post a little short story or poem as your caption. (Word count permitting, of course!)
And this is where writing or experimenting with flash fiction comes in.
‘FLASH! Aa-aaaah! Literary saviour of the universe!’
For those of you who aren’t familiar with flash fiction, it’s a style of literature which tells a complete story, in just a few short words, typically ranging from 6 – 1000 words. Some might call it drabble, dribble, micro-fiction and now the new ‘Twitfic.’ If you’re a frequent visitor of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, then you’ll see those writers who post neat little challenges, an interesting picture with the caption: “Write a story about this picture in six words or less.” It definitely gives your creative muscles a good old squeeze. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Ernest Hemmingway’s infamous flash fiction.
“For sale. Baby shoes. Never Worn.”
Damn, who’s cutting those onions?
In six short, sharp words, our minds churn out possibilities of a backstory we’ll never get.
Some might see it as a lazy form of short storytelling but hey, each to their own. It forces you to think outside your creative box and hit those ‘Beginning, Middle & End’ notes with gusto. One image is your story and that’s your lot.
Flash fiction even has it’s own national day now, on May 16th! I… don’t know who campaigned for such a thing, but thanks!
When writing my Instagram stories, I think about the first image that smacks me in the face when I look at the picture. First, it’s the character’s voice. What POV is it? Are they male or female? Do they have a name? For The Silent Prison, I had an image of a woman, circa 1800’s, standing across the road, from the bleak, gothic building. She was visiting her husband or lover in prison, but couldn’t stand the silence. It unnerved her. Like it unnerved me.
The best part about writing these little ficlets
(another word!) is that you don’t have to worry about your readers losing interest. And in an age of social media, where instant gratification in craved and attention spans waned, there’s no time like the present to engage in some harmless flirting with flash fiction! 😉