It's not for lack of trying believe me. I've been trying to write a novel since I was in junior high back in 2001. I've started and stopped dozens of projects, just because I didn't know where they would go next. Truthfully, my ideas were really those of flash fiction proportions, but I had this obsession with trying to string them all together. For whatever reason, no story idea I have is ever small. The problem is I map it all out, then completely change my mind, making everything I wrote obsolete or pointless.
I've always had this belief, however, that fiction should reflect the often seeming randomness of life. I used to have this saying, things are not as random as they first appear. There are patterns to everything, but these patterns are often so cosmically huge that they are pretty much invisible to most people. I've identified a few shocking patterns over the years that connect a lot of things that seem incredibly unrelated, and these are the patterns that I try to incorporate into my storytelling.
It would seem then that it's not that I'm a bad storyteller. I'm just horrible with plot. I can't even compose a short story that makes sense, or that's interesting enough, at least. Yet I've never been able to master the art of "flash fiction." It's interesting because that would seem the genre that best reflects my often poetic creative style. But it never really occurred to me to focus on flash fiction because I felt it was too brief for me. I had these grand ideas that I wanted to go on and on about. But since my plots would meander and drag on and go completely off the deep end so often, I've just abandoned them time and time again.
But seriously, the very fact that there is so much written that's all over the place means something. I actually didn't fail in the way that I thought I did. I've always wanted my work to reflect the "ultimate random" which is to say that I always meant my stories to be all over the place. Yet I tried to pull it all together into a traditional story that people could read over tea on lazy summer afternoons. Obviously, that is not what my work is meant to be for. But the work involved in trying to convert all my aborted novels into flash fiction pieces is going to be... interesting.
Anyone who can plot and keep a novel on track - kudos to you! I have the greatest respect for you novelists out there. But I no longer am one. I'm too much of a rambling man, I suppose. That doesn't mean I won't write books, of course. My dream of becoming a published author is still quite attainable. But it would appear that flash fiction will be my calling from now on. Time to figure out how to condense each of my stories into 300 to 1000 words. Oh, hurray.
Have you ever dabbled in flash fiction? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks on how you work on your pieces!