This week we have chosen a very special image for our #FlashFictionFriday prompt. It is our highly-prized umbrella stand which was reputedly painted by Suffragettes in Duke Street Prison over 100 years ago. From the beauty of its painted wrought iron structure and mitred shape to the mystery suggested by the bent guard rail, this artefact is a rich seam to mine for story-writing. Its provenance will fire the creative imagination and we can’t wait to read the stories the image will inspire.
Flash fiction as a form is growing in popularity. Maybe because writing very short stories can be fitted into our often busy lives. They can be written on a bus or in a cafe. The journey between inspiration and complete story can be quite short.
It can feel quite liberating to write to a very limited number of words or characters. There is no room for lengthy introduction or complicated plot – the writer must dive straight into the middle of the story and make every word count. A flash fiction story can be compared to an iceberg. Only one tenth of the story is visible and apparent to the eye – a much more complex and larger backstory lurks under the surface, hidden from view. The writer can hint at this backstory but does not need to write it. The reader will fill in the gaps.
We have been delighted by the creativity and imagination shown by the writers who have tweeted stories to #FlashFictionFriday so far. We hope that many more will be inspired to submit a tiny story of up to 240 characters in response to our weekly prompts. The stories do not need to directly reference the image provided – the prompt is there to provide inspiration.
If you have not tried writing a tiny story yet, why not start with the image above? Stories of up to 240 characters can be tweeted, remembering to tag us @womenslibrary #FlashFictionFriday Perhaps you would like to pass the information on to friends who may be interested in having a go. The more the merrier!
If you are not a Twitter user you can e-mail your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org