The signing at Forever Knight Games in Olympia went well. I met several wonderful authors I hadn’t had a chance to meet in person: Sechin Tower, Jolene Loraine, Rachel E. Robinson (Maquel A. Jacob), and Erik Kort. We were joined my my good friends, authors Lee French, Lindsay Schopfer, and Jeffrey Cook. These wonderful people write great books, and I was privileged to be counted among them!
We had a great time, and it was a good first event at that venue. I want to thank all my friends for coming out and meeting my favorite local authors. Tower of Bones was my big seller–which makes me happy.
But then, after the big party was over (and it was a party–believe me) I had to drag myself back to reality. As I said the other day, sometimes my head isn’t in the right place for reading. At the event this last weekend, a friend asked me how that inability to read without the editor in my head making noise affects my ability to write. I had to answer that it does affect it to a certain extent.
The reason being in an editing frame of mind affects my writing is that while I am creative, it is like my creativity has to go through a maze to get to the ends of my fingers and into written form.
It’s a sloooooow process.
I do a lot of things to jumpstart that creativity. I clean things I don’t really care about under normal circumstances. Something about a really orderly environment gets my mind relaxed enough to work properly.
Sometimes I write flash-fiction, 100 to 1000 word short stories.
I find great art that really makes my mind click–Wikimedia Commons is awesome for that. Today I came across a download of a picture that, two years ago, sparked a 250 word flash-fiction. That image, which I will get to later, was painted around the year 1910 by an American artist, Paul Cornoyer.
His work is quite intriguing, and much of is done in an impressionistic style.
According to the Fount of all Knowledge, Wikipedia, Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement. Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.
The thing about the impressionists that so inspires my writing is that they don’t give you all the details–they give you what they saw including the mood of the piece.
In so many ways, good literature is like good art–all the important things are there, everything the eye needs to have a perfect vision of the mood, the setting, and characters–everything is there within the piece, but with economy. When you limit yourself to expressing the complete idea of the story in less than 300 words, you discover just how well (or how badly you can write.)
This last picture is the piece that inspired one of my better, short pieces of Flash Fiction, which will be featured later this month on Edgewise Words Inn. I will post links to that here when it goes up
It is called The Plaza After Rain. I love it because, even though it depicts New York City in a different time, it shows the way rain is in the springtime. The sky is dark, but the trees are just beginning to leaf out. The streets are wet with rain, but a hint of blue is showing through the dark sky. When you see this painting, you feel like sunshine could happen any minute.
That is what we try to convey in flash fiction, and that is why it’s so important to practice writing in short, complete bursts. You never know when one will become a longer tale, so you will have a backlog of fodder to fuel your creativity when you need a good story idea. Being able to create an entire story in 3 paragraphs is an art. Sometimes I can do well at that, and sometimes not so much.