Whether writing poetry or the very short story, the good writer turns the mundane into the meaningful.
My writing students at the University of Pittsburgh (2004-2006) were always searching high and low for good short story ideas. They tried to squeeze world changing events into 500 to 800 words of a flash fiction story. They wanted to save the world. The thing about saving the world in 800 words is that it never rings true. Now, saving a friendship…
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My students were keenly aware that the content of their flash fiction stories had something to do with keeping the interest of the reader. The bigger the splash, the more interesting the story would be. Well, they got it half right.
Since flash fiction was my niche, I used the form of the very short story as an example of how to turn a small event into a meaningful event. Part of the course I taught also dealt with poetry. Much poetry also works on the principle of turning the mundane into the meaningful.
In all of our lives there are big events: birth, death, marriage, the end of a relationship and so on; but for my students to better understand how much of flash fiction and poetry works I wanted them to realize they could write about the more quiet moments in life that are significant. After all, for most of us the quiet moments out number the big moments by far.
Much flash fiction and poetry are about these quiet moments; and since few of my students had saved the world they had to learn to write about the quiet moments. A quiet moment can be any realization that a character might have; like when a young man kisses a young woman for the first time and she realizes that yes he really does like her.
That would make a great flash fiction story.