Flash Fiction: Cat

This week’s flash fic­tion must be in text form and quite brief, I’m afraid. The pod­cast takes a while to do and I’d like to con­cen­trate on the cur­rent nov­el. If you’re sub­scribed to the pod­cast, then (i) why not let me know? and (ii) don’t worry, the hiatus should be brief.

This week’s flash, called ‘Cat’, inspired by my adop­ted ger­bil:

The kit­chen sink has not been cleaned, though the dishes are regi­men­ted: drip­ping, the rank and file wait on a plastic slope. The bin is full. Newer items of rub­bish have been placed next to it with a curi­ous sense of the neat. A left shoe is on the doormat. It was not delivered. Toe-nail clip­pings sea­son the lid of the down­stairs loo. There is a sci­ence fic­tion magazine — Interzone — open on the low­est riser of the stairs. A cat, Mandy, stops on the Interzone to wash her face. She has not been fed but she has so far main­tained her indif­fer­ence. She can keep her­self neat too. There is a cool­ing body in the liv­ing room, lack­ing a left shoe. Mandy settles on the chest for a second night. She might see some­thing in the shad­ows as they stretch and darken. She might not.

Charlie’s Diary: Bang, Bucks, and Delivery in Recompense

Charles Stross has pos­ted some typ­ic­ally thought­ful com­ments on the nature of length in fic­tion. What, exactly, is a short story and how does it dif­fer from a nov­el? Can a nov­el itself be a chapter?

It’s a tru­ism of the writ­ing busi­ness that short stor­ies are not like nov­els. There are any num­ber of nov­el­ists who simply can’t work effect­ively in the cramped space of a short story; and there are many writers for whom the short form is their nat­ur­al méti­er and the wide vis­tas of a nov­el seem impossible to fill, an invit­a­tion to agora­pho­bia.

This is some­thing I think about as I write the third book in a ‘uni­verse’ that I’ve put togeth­er as I go along. I don’t really have plot threads con­nect­ing the books, though some char­ac­ters over­lap.

Also of interest are some of Mr Stross’s com­ments on the con­ven­tion behind the nomen­clature of stor­ies. For me, flash fic­tion is about 100 words in length, which is why my fic­tion flash pod­cast is about a minute in length, on aver­age. But what do I know?

(Via Charlie’s diary.)