Fearful Flash Fiction Review

This is a review of all the stories in the Fearful Flash Fiction project, not a story.

Hi Kids!

Yes, I’ve finally gotten around to it, we’re doing a review on Fearful Flash Fiction.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the project… How did you end up here? Go read some stories, then come back when you’re ready, ya big ol’ galoo.

For the rest of y’all, here’s the plan. I am going to re-read each story and put down my thoughts on them with the luxury of hindsight. Then, if I am so inclined, I will give a little bit of backstory.

Think I’m being a lil’ narcissistic to do a review of my own writing? OMG same, you’ll like this post then!

Gah I’m dallying. I really don’t like getting ready to read my own stories. Once I’m actually reading it I’m usually fine, but the lead up is the worst.

Arrrrrrrrgh aaaaaaaaand here we go!


Deep Water

Alright, not too bad. Definitely a 1am write-up, which is when I tend to get descriptive.

I’m still pretty proud of “silky sinusoidal movements.” I was very excited when I wrote those words and they’re still pretty okay thank you very much. I may not remember much from when I was a marine bio major, but I do remember that sinusoidal is a fish thing!

I managed to get close to the 500max word count on the first go, but I cut down the section where I describe the monsters in the water a lot. It was originally twice as long, but I think shortening it did more good than harm.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Yes, don’t judge me. Water is very scary, and I have an active imagination. I have gotten over this, but occasionally…

NEXT!


Give It All

Yes! Still a big fan of this one.

I tried to put in some little details here, mostly with the salutations and closings for each “email.” Sandi slowly gets less and less formal in her addresses to Deborah, meant to show that she is more “comfortable” with her over time. People in general make big requests of people they think they know well, and Sandi is very comfortable with Deborah by the end.

On the other end of the spectrum, Deborah gets less and less“respectful” in her closings as she becomes overloaded with work. Her emails are curt but professional, and the closing is the only indication she gives that she’s unhappy doing everything Sandi asks of her.

Also, that very last email? I did indeed hold down my ring finger as I typed it. That was fun.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Not literal, I don’t expect a future employer is going to have me give someone my literal heart, but the idea is a fear. I tend to go all-in when it comes to work and will often say yes before thinking through whether I can handle something.

NEXT!


Blinding

*Note: Agh no I found a mistake… (third paragraph last sentence is repetitive, FIXED)

This is another one where I tried to put in little details to lead up to the “big reveal.” For example, how is the alarm clock going off if there’s no power?

There are inconsistencies, though. Like, how would she know that the water glass is half full? Does she thinkof the light switch as “white” every time she hits it?

Things like that I won’t be changing because it is what it is. That’s the danger of late-night writing, sometimes you think you’re so clever that you miss tiny issues. The repetitive sentence is going to bother me though, so it’s gotta go.

Is this a real, literal fear?

YES. As a glasses-wearer with terrible vision, the idea of going blind terrifies me, and I have a constantly-evolving contingency plan for if that somehow happens.

NEXT!


Crawlies

*Note: I am actually pumped to re-read this one!

**Note: Why did I make the partner’s voice “nasally?” Just, why?

***Note: “leaving no patch of skin unwashed” is a little dramatic, calm down Emily.

****Note: “A single” followed by the singular “black leg” is repetitive, come on now.

After re-reading I feel… solidly okay about this one. It’s not the best, but I think it gets the point across.

This is one where the 500max word count was very annoying. I wanted to do a lot more lead-up, and there originally was about 300 more words, but I was still following the rules at this point.

Also, look! This is where I started breaking up the stories with dividing lines, so I wouldn’t have to write proper transitions! Yay for cheating away the things I’m bad at!

Is this a real, literal fear?

The idea of stuff building up under my skin skeeves me out. The roaches, though, THE ROACHES.

I don’t know what these bugs/insects are, but they kept popping up in my bathroom over the summer and scaring the daylights out of me. I do not enjoy them.

NEXT!


Finite

*Note: Ooh yeah, I remember being really annoyed with myself when I wrote this one.

*Note2: Scratchy twice in one paragraph (paragraph 2) is repetitive, FIXED!

I’m torn.

I like the story, but I also feel like it’s predictable. The formaldehyde scent, checking the pocket watch, the sun setting… it’s all a bit on the nose.

Also, there are a lot of repetitive words. Part of that was I didn’t think there were other ways to say/phrase things, and the other part is I wrote these stories during bouts of insomnia. Hopefully this will get better over the remaining stories?

Is this a real, literal fear?

I’m not afraid of dying, per se, but I am afraid of what will happen leading up to dying. I’m scared of no longer looking like myself.

NEXT!


The Void

*Note: I found broken hyperlinks on the FFF  landing page, FIXED!

*sigh*

I mean, no. This could be so much better.

Also, no way in heck I’m writing more of these. I talked about doing more when I released this one, but no. Just no. I don’t need to write them.

This story is a bit existential, a little bit of a commentary on writing on a digital platform, mostly it is just… Eh. I’m not a huge fan in hindsight.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Kind of? Like it feels as though I am throwing my writing out into the void right now, but there are like 3 people who do read this blog so it’s fine (hi peeps!).

NEXT!


A Waste

*Note: Haha, “$an.amount,” I forgot about that.

I like this one more than I thought I was going to.

This is where I realized that writing in active voice can save a lot of words. I am not huge fan of writing in present tense because I find it harder than past, but it is useful. I am trying to get better at it.

Here is my big issue. I’ve been playing around with non-traditional dialogue for a while because it is fun. This is where it can trip me up though.

At the beginning of the story, the main character “speaks”in italics. That’s cool, I like that. BUT, at the very end, I wanted “What a waste” to be their internal dialogue. Because it is in italics, they are technically saying “What a waste” out loud.

I could just de-format that instance, and without quotation marks I think it would still be understandable that it is internal dialogue. However, that’s a tiny formatting thing that a reader may not notice. Italics are noticeable.

I’m going to leave it as-is for now. This is good for me to keep in mind though.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Oh, lordy yes. I am quite scared of being a waste of a person, of a life, of a career potential, of an everything. I also don’t like having to explain why I left college for a while, because people assume it was because of bad grades (it wasn’t, and yes, I’m defensive about that). I’m just a bundle of neuroses when it comes to possibly wasting my life.

NEXT!


Overload/Too Much

Ah, yes. The one with two names because I am indecisive. That’s fun.

In hindsight, Overload is a way better name than Too Much. At the time (early, early, early morning), I remember thinking that there was some big significance to the two names. I can’t recall what that significance was, but I’ll keep them both anyways. Why not?

So, as the stories go on I use the dividing lines to breakup stories more and more. This is an example of where that weakened the story.The first section with the coworker is not necessary. If I were to write this again, I would take that out, and have everything be one continuous scene of Sherry stumbling through the house.

Not so coincidentally, the first write-through of this story spent a lot more time at the house. For me, deciding what contributes versus what is filler is difficult, because I want to keep everything in. That’s part of why I did this project, to learn to focus my stories on one main point.

This is an example of where I stumbled with learning that.

Is this a real, literal fear?

I am pretty sure I talked about this in the blog post announcing this story, but this isn’t so much a fear as it is a wish? If I could come home every day and literally dump my brain out, that would be amazing. Perhaps the fear bit is more with what would have happened if Sherry didn’t release the pressure in time… (ominous ellipsis)

NEXT!


Listening

*Note: Ooh I hope this one is as good as I remember…

**Note: Oh, dang I forgot that in this story the narrator is writing a proposal, did I accidentally link it back to Overload/Too Much? Because that was not intentional.

 ***Note: For the previous story I talked about using the separating lines too much, but this story needs one before the computer does its shtick. Also, using dark twice in one section is repetitive, and that first “goes” should be “turns.” FIXED!

Is it weird that my brain inserted a “dun-Dun-DUN” after the last line?

Anyhoo, I am actually really happy with this one, aside from the minor fixes.

For the bit at the end with the pseudo-programming language, I tried to research how to put down actual coding for that. I really did! However, it put me over the word count. Sacrifices were made.

Overall, though, I am pleased with this story. Yay.

Side note: The narrator originally cursed a whole heckuva bunch in this story. But, I don’t write curses, even though I do it quite often in my personal life. Cursing feels so much more egregious when it’s written down. I’m not saying no cursing ever, just that it’s not my personal preference when writing.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Oh, every gosh dang day it is. Every. Gosh. Dang. Day.

NEXT!


Blank

I mean, it’s fine? I guess?

I wrote this when I was tired and frustrated, and it’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. Did I mention that it’s fine?

It’s fine.

Is this a real, literal fear?

It’s fine! It’s fine… It’s fine.

NEXT!


Alone

*Note: Please be okay, please be okay…

**Note: I think I’m going to reformat these story pages on my site. The first line is too close to the featured image, there’s no postdate, I just think they could look nicer. Not right now, but, y’know,sometime in the future.

***Note: Starting in Listening, I began writing in first-person present tense a lot. It’s fun! And hard.

****Note: Should the window be a bay window? Also, what is a bay window?

*****Note: I found out what a bay window is. It should not be a bay window. FIXED!

******Note: Viewport! It is a viewport.

*******Note: Should it be ninety degrees or one hundred eighty degrees? I think ninety, otherwise she would just be looking at other pods…

********Note: “Speak” and “speaker” is repetitive. FIXED!

Writing sci-fi is so much fun. Writing this story was so much fun. Heck yes.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Literally? Nope, I love being alone. People are annoying. Existentially? Yes. Ending up alone is a terrifying thought.

NEXT!


Insomnia, Stranger, & Everything

*Note: I’m lumping these three together because they are tiny. Microfiction!

Some context: I wrote all three of these very quickly, very late at night, and when I was very worried about work, school and life. I personally enjoy making tiny little stories like these, but rarely do anything with them.

When using so few words to write a story, I get scared of accidentally copying something I’ve never read. Someone, somewhere, has written these words before. Probably. Oh well.

Anyhoo, Insomnia. I don’t sleep much at night, and when I do the dreams usually are not great. I have definitely avoided going to sleep because of this.

Stranger. Ah…yeah. When I wrote it, I felt very deep and reflective, but in the end, it is just about being true to yourself or some other banal platitude.

Everything. Do you ever repeat a word so many times that it loses all meaning? This story is my meaningless, constant refrain.

Is this a real, literal fear?

Yes. I have bad dreams, and weird waking dreams which are not fun. Yes, I am always worried that I’m not being my “real self” with people, intentionally or not. And yes, I am easily overwhelmed, and overwhelmed often.

NEXT!


Failure Parts 1 & 2

*Note: Ooh here’s the big one, here we go…

**Note: The “Part 2” hyperlink is broken. FIXED!

Oof.

Let us just skip to Is this a real, literal fear?

Yes. Failure is my worst fear.

I have failed a lot in my (admittedly young) life. I have failed in spectacularly dramatic implosions, and in quieter ways. I fail often. So far, though, I always turn around and get up that ladder. Sometimes I’m up it in a heartbeat, sometimes it takes longer.

I am deeply afraid of failure. But I am more afraid of never getting back up.


The Big Picture

When I started this project, I thought I would hate it. I needed a way to process grief and a whole bunch of emotions, and Fearful Flash Fiction is what I came up with.

However, I have found that I really enjoy writing flash fiction. I usually tend towards long, overblown stories that meander and rarely have any solid plot. Writing flash fiction forced me to tackle that tendency head on.

FFF is far from perfect. The stories are messy and weird, and the quality of writing could be a lot better. Overall, though, I really enjoyed writing and re-reading them. I think I will continue to write flash fiction, though I’ll be spending a lot more time on each story. FFF has ended, I will no longer be putting stories under that project. This project has served its purpose, and I am happy with it.

 

Posted 4 December 2018

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