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Monday, September 30, 2013

Burst the Bubble

Recently, I've been thinking about what I could do to help me keep things fresh. To burst that bubble of rigidity that threatens to encompass us all, so I could keep myself stimulated enough to constantly visualize new ideas.

Then I had an idea!
There are a lot of science fiction/fantasy magazines on the market nowadays. They cater to all sorts of tastes and niche markets.
Why not take a look at some of the more upbeat, quality examples, (Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Kasma, Analogue, Daily Science Fiction, Space & Time, Not One of name a few), to see what they are focusing on at the moment?
As you might imagine, the diversity is enormous.
But I spotted something interesting.
Quite a number of them incorporate short stories, flash fiction, and poetry into their respective formulas.
So it got me thinking.
When we write novels, we have a great deal of 'space' in which to incorporate our theme. In some ways, we can liken our endeavours to a meal. A starter or beginning. The main course in the middle. And a dessert at the end.
With a short story, poetry - and all the more so with flash fiction, you have to compress those elements into smaller portions.

Like a mezze!
It really stimulates the thinking process. Especially when you add the 'speculative' element that everyone is so keen on.
What do I mean by speculative?
Well, it's a story that contains elements that aren't restricted solely to 'plain old sci-fi'.
Think of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, think Twilight Zone, and you'll be on the right track.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe speculative fiction is...
Have you ever read a story that was weird, amazing, twisted or fantastical?
...but it wasn't classed as science fiction or fantasy or even horror?
THAT's speculative fiction.
So, lately, I've been giving these elements a go. In short stories, with poetry, by snaps of flash fiction. It's made me better appreciate the crucial ingredients we need to consider when we prepare 'meals' for our audience to digest.
I really recommend you try it for yourself.
You'll be amazed at the results
And in my case?
I'll let you know how my dabbling's turn out soon :)

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