Inspiration of Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is a short story, and the weekly Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenges constrain a flash to 99 words, no more, no less.
Constraints spark creativity. Authors Adam Morgan and Mark Barden wrote the book, A Beautiful Constraint. It's not for creatives, however; it's for business people. They explain success as transforming the idea "I can't" into "I can, if..." Creativity leads to opportunity for anyone.
Back when I was in an office setting, I started weekly meetings with a constraint -- a five line poem called a cinquain. The creative constraint was not to produce department poetry, but to open my team to an elevated state of problem solving. The ten minutes it took to write and share our cinquains made our meetings were more efficient and problems solved with innovative ideas.
When I decided to build a literary community at Carrot Ranch, I wanted to offer a challenge that would be fast, thus not interfering with the busy lives of active writers. I also wanted something that would noticeably improve writers' creative response, so writers would want to come back. For me, flash fiction fit the criteria and could easily include emerging or shy writers -- those who want to write but feel uncertain about doing so.
Flash fiction is a constraint that inspires creativity in anyone.
The following three stories are flash fiction from the collection, The Rebellion Begins. Writers explored what it is to rebel. If you like what you read, be sure to go to the complete collection.
Rebellion by Pat Cummings
All his life, Karl fought his nature.
Born with a keen eye and genes for long bones and plenty of muscle, he avoided sports and opted instead for dance classes. Blessed with a mind hungry for mathematics and science, he spent any free time writing poetry and crafting beautiful watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings of abstract forms. A charming extrovert, he traveled to places where he would be isolated by language and customs from those around him.
Happy in his rebellion, at peace with the world and himself, now he does as he pleases. His battle is over. Karl won!
We Don’t Like Your Kind Here by Deborah Lee
Jane Doe pulls the bills from her pocket and counts out the correct number, handing them over. The cashier’s stare seems as weighty as the backpack Jane wears. Now she sees the tight line of the mouth, eyes hard and glittering as diamonds. She accepts the change thrust at her.
“Go on now, “ says the cashier shortly, jutting her chin toward the door. Why so rude? Then Jane remembers her backpack, the bedroll screaming, “Street person!”
“I said move along,” the cashier snaps.
Jane straightens. “I forgot something, “ she says coolly, and turns back toward the shelves.
Rebellion by Anthony Amore
“No way,” her son pouts.
“You have to.”
“Because, I say so. You ordered it; you eat it. That’s the rule.”
“It looks gross.”
“It’s not gross,” she points at her husband’s burrito, “That’s gross.”
Her husband smirks, “Yours looks different but it’s like a grilled cheese.”
“Being like a grilled cheese,” he retorts, “doesn’t make it a grilled cheese.”
“Fine, don’t.” She waves off the waiter carrying more tortilla chips and salsa, “But you’re not eating anything else.”
He relents, bites, chews. “It’s OK.”
Thus, she thinks, the Mexican Revolt is quashed.