Category Archives: Writings

Micro short up on Nanoism

You may remember a post from a little while back in which I mentioned several great places to submit flash fiction (Flash! (AAAAAAHHHH!)). Well, I’m chuffed to report that one of them, Nanoism, just published one of my super short pieces yesterday 🙂

Please pop over to Nanoism.net to give it and a ton of other nano pieces a read. You can also follow the zine on Twitter (@nanoism) or friend them via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nanoismmag/).

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If you like what you see there, why not give my collection of microfiction, Vestigial Tales, a try? Right now the e-book version can be yours for only 99c on Amazon!

That’s all for now, folks. Keep being excellent to each other.

Thanks for playing!

Flash! (AAAAAAHHHH!)

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Fiction, not Gordon, but I couldn’t resist.

OK, it has been a while (again!), but I’m back and this time I have a little list of places for you to send your fantastic flash fiction. While I haven’t actually tried any of these outlets myself, they look like stellar publications and I certainly plan to submit to each of them in the near future.

So, if like me you spent the colder months of the year writing, why not take advantage of the fact that it’s now (finally) spring and get some of it out there!

First up is Nanoism, and billing itself as “a place for twitter fiction” it should be a prime target for all your micro-shorts.

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Nanoism is “the longest running twitterzine”, and they pay their contributors!

Published on their website as well as in occasional anthologies, stories at Nanoism sometimes have a slightly confessional feel to them, such as Drew Knapp’s:

You leave the perfect amount of water in your nightstand glass each morning to feed my orchid.

Yet they also showcase a range of surprising, scary, and even poetic micro stories like this offering from Trevor Pyle:

He spoke in a harried whisper. About things he’d seen. About fears that tightened his stomach like a vise.

On the other end, a dial tone.

Although submissions are limited to Twitter’s strict 140 character length, Nanoism accepts all genres with a particular interest in literary fiction, so there’s really nothing to stop you from giving them a go. Besides, the challenge of writing twitfic can be fun (I previously blogged about it here and again here), you retain all the rights to your story and you even get paid!

What’s not to like? Get writing now people, and then get it in to Nanoism.net! At last look they were accepting unsolicited stories all year round, but make sure to check out their submissions page for latest info and guidelines.

Also, they have a Twitter account (obviously!) @nanoism, and welcome tweet-based contact.

Next up is Flash Fiction Magazine, a website that publishes one flash story a day, delivering it straight to reader’s inboxes, while also publishing the occasional ebook collection of the very best submissions.

Accepting stories between 300-1000 words in length, Flash Fiction is open to all genres except erotica (adult themes/content are/is fine in service to an actual story), although they also mention that children’s fiction probably won’t find a home on their site. Apart from that, have at it! Once again, you retain all the rights although it is important to note that they will not accept previously published works, and yes – your blog counts. So be careful.

While I am definitely a fan of micro flash, there is no doubt that the larger word limit at Flash Fiction Magazine allows for some great character/world development and I would strongly encourage you to check out their website and read some of the stories there whether you plan to submit or not. You won’t be disappointed.

Have a look at their submissions page for all the latest info for writers, and you can tweet at them here: @flashficmag.

Finally, there’s NANO Fiction, a “non-profit literary journal that seeks to cultivate the genre of flash fiction by creating opportunities for emerging writers to achieve national recognition through [their] website, print publication, and educational events.” Wow!

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NANO Fiction Vol. 5 No. 2

Founded in 2006, NANO is both an outlet for flash fiction authors and a resource for writers and readers everywhere publishing regular musings on the state of flash fiction in the world today which are definitely worth a read. In addition, their website hosts writing prompts and competitions as well as monthly featured stories showcasing some of the very best flash out there.

With both print and e-versions of past issues available, NANO accepts submissions under 300 words in any or no genre but, for their 10th edition, they are especially on the look out for work that explores “milestones and transitions”, experimenting with form while still balancing narrative. Check out their online catalogue for some inspiration and a lot of fun reads (you’ll have to dig through the events listings to find the stories/readings, but they are there).

In addition, NANO also host the NANO prize, currently open for submissions and with a first place prize of $1000. Not too shabby, eh?

Their submission page with details of both the NANO prize and their general submission rules can he found here: http://nanofiction.org/submit And you can follow them on Twitter here: @NANOFiction.

I don’t know about you, but I suddenly have the urge to get writing…

That’s all for now, internet.

Thanks for playing!

*Obviously (I hope!) all of the stories quoted here are used in this blog post in good faith with no claim to copyright. They remain the property of their respective authors/publishers.

Thousands of characters everywhere and not a word to read!

As everybody on the internet is undoubtedly aware, last month Twitter, a platform of which I am rather fond, announced that they are considering expanding their strict 140 character limit to a whopping 10,000 characters.

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Although the powers that be at Twitter HQ were quick to defend this change as being in the best interest of the micro blogging site’s users, allowing them to communicate more effectively and with greater creativity, the rest of the world was pretty sure the proposed character expansion was a thinly veiled attempt to appease shareholders who have seen the value of their stock plummet in recent months as the number of active tweeters reportedly falls.

Sadly, for Twitter HQ, I suppose, their much maligned character adjustment had the exact opposite effect, spawning a heated backlash across the platform and prompting the value of their stock to fall even further. Despite this, it looks as though the change is still going to go ahead giving readers the option to see tweets in their original, concise form or “read on” by clicking a link to an expanded view. Whether this change proves to be positive or negative is yet to be seen and I don’t intend to jump upon the bandwagon of Twitter-bashing here. I do, however, want to address the proposed change as it relates rather powerfully to my use of the platform for the creation of 140-character works of micro fiction.

VTCover

I started writing Twitter stories in or around February 2010 (I can’t be sure of the year off the top of my head and I can’t be bothered to look back and check just now, but I’m reasonably sure it was about then) initially as an experiment – could I write a complete tale, convey a scene, a snippet of plot, character, or perhaps just an emotion with so few resources? It’s a challenge I blogged about here, and the answer is yes, sometimes. Writing one piece of 140-character micro flash every day means that my output is admittedly hit or miss, but in 2014 I did collect the best ones together into an illustrated ebook called Vestigial Tales which sold atrociously, but of which I am rather proud nonetheless.

The bottom line is that come what may, I won’t be expanding. I do write longer stories – often more that 10, 000 characters (gasp!) – but that’s not what Twitter is about for me and, as long as the platform exists, I’ll be sticking to my self-imposed, artificial limit. Is it frustrating? Sure, sometimes. But it’s also inspiring, and, occasionally, downright brilliant. Who can read Ernest Hemingway’s six word story For Sale, and not be struck by the sadness conveyed in so few syllabus:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Flash or micro fiction can be powerful to read and a lot of fun to write, and Twitter is, in my opinion, a wonderful platform for it. I’m not opposed to giving people the option to write more that 140 characters, although I do question the value of it; so long as Twitter leaves the original, shorter option in tact all is good by me.

#RIPTwitter

But will anybody read my Tweets? Surely that is the question prompted by the hashtag above, spawned a few weeks after the 10, 000 character fiasco in response to further rumored changes which would see the Twitter timeline approximating something like Facebook, displaying first the “most-popular” Tweets rather than the newer ones, relegating tweeters with few followers to the dark end of timeline obscurity.

Needless to say, the Twitterati did not respond favorably to yet another, shareholder oriented change to their platform and soon started declaring Twitter dead via its own trending hashtag system. So not exactly a great start to the year for CEO Jack Dorsey, eh?

Unlike the 10, 000 character shift, the popular-tweets-algorithm talk has been addressed by the Twitter high ups, who have assured users that their voices matter and that any changes which may manifest in future, rumored or otherwise, will be optional.

There will of course be people who opt in. Heck, perhaps it’ll even be a good thing and I’ll find myself signing up too, but one thing is for sure: should the algorithm be unleashed the act of tweeting will never be the same again. No longer will we (the general tweeting public) be assured that our tweets will be seen by our followers, or even our friends, and on a platform famous for democratizing the act of socializing via media, that strikes me as rather sad.

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So is twitter really dead? I don’t think so. Flash fiction aside, Twitter’s real strength lies, I believe, in its role as an information aggregator, a expansive list of curated links to all manner of content from all corners of the globe. Furthermore, a large part of the love, for me at least, is in the randomness of it all – retweets, likes, even paid-for promotions sending all sorts of links, stories, comments and creations into my timeline, exposing me to things outside of my normal scope, or even comfort zone.

That, in my mind is what makes Twitter greater than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or just about any other social media platform out there. That is what Twitter stands to lose if it employs a probably very clever, even lucrative, but ultimately reductionist algorithm that renders everybody’s timeline an unsightly splattering of Trump and Kanye West.

No, for the time being Twitter is still alive but its survival is far from sure. Appreciating the capitalist mechanics of the economy, the fact that we all get to tweet for free and that Twitter somehow needs nonetheless to make money, I am not opposed to innovation, experimentation, and monetization, but it has to come on the same sort of wave of creativity that made Twitter so fresh and appealing in the first place. Although Twitter’s at-the-time much publicized role in sparking the Arab Spring movement across the Middle East is recently being challenged, even tarnished in the face of accusations of terror organizations using the platform to plan atrocities, spread hate, and even recruit, we must not loose faith in the internet’s intrinsic power to level the social playing field.

Twitter gives people a voice and it provides them with information. Some voices will be viscous, others never heard and not all of that information shared may be to everyone’s liking, but isn’t that the point of conversation? To expand one’s horizon and share experiences? Twitter gives the hope that each of us, no matter the number of followers, our “popularity”, will nonetheless get to sing.

They may take away our 140 character limit, but they will never take our FREEDOM!

Or maybe they’ll take that too. I just hope they don’t mess up a very good thing in the process.

Three for Three: Micro-Fiction for March

It’s still March, so I’m getting this one in just under the wire.

In case some of you don’t know, micro fiction (or flash fiction, or micro-narrative, or however you want to label it) is something of an interest of mine. For almost four years now, I have been endeavoring to write a micro short a day and post it to my Twitter account @Liam_Aidan.

This necessarily means squishing any tale I want to tell into 140 characters, including spaces, which is fun, challenging, inspiring, and annoying in turn. It’s a self imposed limit, an attempt to distill the essence of  a story into as small a space as possible, and hopefully improve my writing skills as a result.

Last year, a collection of 106 of the best of my micro shorts, called Vestigial Tales, was published as an ebook by Ichabod Press. You can find out more about that here.

VTCover

Possibly the most famous piece of flash fiction is Ernest Hemingway’s six word story For Sale:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Although I think my personal favorite has to be Knock by Fredric Borwn, the first lines of which constitute a micro short in and of themselves:

“The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”

Both of these epically tiny tales served as inspiration for my initial foray into micro fiction on Twitter (or twitfic, as a few of us call it), but if you’re looking for additional daily doses of fast and sometimes furious fiction, why not check out my three micro-fiction recommendations below? Each is worth a follow and even the occasional RT.

Twiterati

Arjun Basu

Vikram Paralkar

Very Short Story

Now if they don’t fill your Twitter stream with wonder and delight, then I don’t know what will.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon.

TTFN!

Vestigial Tales

OAK TREE REVIEWS

vest

Whether it’s a funny tweet or a humorous Facebook status, I often enjoy reading amusing anecdotes that people post online. So naturally, I found Vestigial Tales: Short stories in 140-odd characters by Liam Aidan to be a pleasant, enjoyable read. If you’re looking for something interesting, witty, and one-of-a-kind, this book is well worth your time! You can find it here on Amazon. 

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Pint-Sized Plays – Get Involved!

About a week ago, I blogged about the launch of Pint-Sized Plays in Portsmouth, NH, which opened with a play co-written by me.

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Well, now I’m back to tell you that Pint-Sized Plays was a huge success and has found a permanent home in the red door bar and lounge.

What’s more, they are keen to hear from you with your ideas for short performance pieces that could form part of the Pint-Sized Plays 2015 line-up. You don’t have to be in Portsmouth to take part but if you are, they are having a series of informal ideas sessions which sound like a great way to meet new creative-types.

Check their out the Pint-Sized Plays website for more info and sign up for the ideas session via their Facebook page. They have a great team of writers, producers, directors and actors working on this and it’s a brilliant opportunity for people to get involved with innovative, grassroots theater and potentially see your own work onstage. I certainly plan to write for them again in future – why not give it a go yourself?

Well, that’s all for today. TTFN everybody, and DFTBA!

This Is James: Pint-Sized Plays

So, I’ve just learned that today, Tuesday November 11 2014 is the launch of Pint-Sized Plays, a monthly series that showcases new short-form performance work in Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

The first performance is of a piece called This Is James, which includes some of my writing. Now I have to be honest, I originally wrote for this a long time ago and I have completely forgotten what I produced. Moreover, it was a collaborative project and I am not sure how much of my work will be reflected in the final performance. I do know, however, that the people producing Pint-Sized Plays are a very talented bunch indeed, so it’s bound to be a great night no matter what.

Unfortunately, Chicago to New Hampshire is a bit of a trek, so I won’t able to attend, but I would encourage anybody in the Portsmouth region to go along. Outside of my meager involvement, Pint-Sized Plays looks like a really great happening for both lovers and creators of theater. I’ll definitely be following their development and I wish them a whole load of luck for tonight!

You can find out more about Pint-Sized Plays via their Facebook page here, and/or their website here.