Within the next week, I’ll have accumulated half a year of stories in response to Jennie Coughlin’s Rory’s Story Cube Challenge. (I got behind and combed two weeks into one story, which is why there will be twenty-five stories instead of twenty-six.) About three months into the Challenge, I decided I’d amass the stories into a collection and publish the collection via Kindle Direct Publishing. Short story collections are notoriously hard to be picked up by publishers, and add in the fact that these short stories are flash fiction and mostly fall in the “thriller” genre, and Kindle Direct was the only logical answer.
But Kindle Direct has helped in a revival of short stories for both traditionally published writers and self-published ones. Kindle Singles started out as essays, but many publishers, and authors, saw it was an easy to get a short story published. Many traditionally published authors come under pressure from their publishers to keep their name before the reading public between books, and Kindle Singles fit that bill as well.
But I digress. Once I started putting together the manuscript, I saw it had a certain incoherence if I left the stories in the order in which they appeared in this blog. I spent some time deciding when each occurred. For a few that was obvious because the story wouldn’t have context without the date. One story’s title is a date, after all. Once I assembled the stories in more or less chronological order, they had a certain flow. Good decision, that.
The novel in stories is quite popular lately. From Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) to Molly Ringwald (When It Happens to You), novels in stories have made a mark. Writer friend Cliff Garstang’s new book, What the Zhang Boys Know, is another example of a novel in stories. Basically, each story can stand alone, and, in fact, most of Garstang’s twelve stories in this book were published separately in literary journals before the novel came out. For the work to be considered a novel in stories, each of them has to be a piece of a larger or overarching story arc.
Can you have a novel in flash fiction stories? We’ll see.
This is last week’s roll of the cubes:
This is what I saw: l. to r. – ringing a doorbell; a hand; a UFO attacking (this one was tough); gifting/giving a present; a water fountain; a tree; the letter L; clothes drying/clothes hanging on a line; falling.
As a lot of my fiction does, the story, “Closure,” involves a recent historical event, which becomes obvious early if you remember your recent history.
As usual, if you can’t see the link on the title “Closure” above, go to the top of this post and click on the Spy Flash tab then select the story from the drop-down menu.