Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: 100 Word Story

Two freebies today in Nostalgia City

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This week’s installment features two giveaways—of sorts. First, I’m giving away a signed copy of Death in Nostalgia City. All you have to do is register on Goodreads.com. Here’s a link to the contest: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/112192-death-in-nostalgia-city

The deadline is midnight, Saturday, Oct. 18.

The second gift today is a 100-word flash fiction story from my ebook (available on Amazon, etc.), Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words.

 Lionel’s New Game

 Gazing across the resort pool, nattily dressed Lionel spotted a familiar face. “Say Jake, didn’t I hear bad news about you last year?”

“No big deal. So, what con are you running in this ritzy place? You doing your old investment scheme or romancing some rich widow?”

“Alas, nothing with finesse. I’m working with a bellman. We go through rooms when guests are gone.  “Sad, huh? What do you think?”

“I think you’re going to do jail time.”

“What? Wait! I remember. You were caught!

“Yup. Red-handed. This very hotel. So I agreed–reluctantly mind you–to work for them.”

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Faulkner’s fresh look at flash fiction

Everyone has his or her idea of what constitutes flash fiction.  I’ve noted this before.  Defining flash fiction by word length seems the easy way to do it.  Problem is, few editors and writers can agree on the various labels to attach to say, 100-word stories, 1,000-word stories or even 25-word stories.

Flash fiction, however, is more than numbers and no one has explained that better than Grant Faulkner, editor of “100 word story,” in a recent New York Times op-ed piece.   Talking about his introduction to the miniature genre, Faulker says, “Most of my writing life has been a training ground of ‘more,’ so I rarely conceived of less.”  But when a friend of his suggested he try a 100-story, he was at first exasperated.  “At best, I could chisel a story down to 150 words,” he writes, “but I was frustrated by the gobs of material I left out.”

This frustration led Faulkner to examine his writing habits and eventually he discovered “a different kind of storytelling.”  The balance of his article beautifully describes flash fiction in qualitative and rather than quantitative terms and, perhaps without intending to, makes the case that flash should be an integral part of a comprehensive literary education.

“Flash allows literature to be a part of our everyday life,” he writes, “even if we are strange multitasking creatures addled by a world that demands more, more, more.”

The New York Times used Faulkner’s article as the basis for a language arts lesson plan on flash fiction, part of its Learning Network.  The lesson plan references a relatively recent book edited by Robert Swartwood, “Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer.”  In his introduction, Swartwood establishes a hierarchy of story length: sudden fiction, flash fiction, micro fiction, drabble and dribble, the latter being 50 words.   Obviously, his final category is hint fiction of 25 words.

“Hint fiction,” he says, “should not be complete by it having a beginning, middle and end.  Instead it should be complete by standing by itself as its own little world.”

Twenty five words seems a bit too short for a story.  But not too short for a hint of one?

 

Hyperlinks:

Going long.  Going Short. by Grant Faulkner

Flash fiction lesson plan

Hint Fiction edited by Robert Swartwood

Today’s flash fiction:

The Blond Bombshell Case

“Nice suit detective, not your usual stakeout grubbies.  So, how’r we coming on the Christine Albright case?”

“I talked to all the victims, lieutenant.   None of the guys will press charges.   They’re either too embarrassed to admit she romanced them out of all their cash, or they think she still loves ‘em.”

“Pretty sad.  She must be a knockout, huh?”

The detective nodded.  “We may never catch her.  Looks like a hopeless case.”

“But I thought someone was working undercover.”

“That would be me.  We’ve had four dates, but so far Chrissy hasn’t asked me for very much money.  Really.”

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