Word Counts and Brevity

When I began the Flash Dash Challenge in 2014, I wanted to explore flash fiction.  While NaNoWriMo is an excellent motivator for writers who need a push to get their stories onto a page, I was drowning in novel projects.  I didn’t need to work on another novel, I needed an exercise in creativity without the same long-term slog a book requires. Also, my tendency toward verbose stories alarmed me. The original word count for The Grasp of Time was over 160,000 words and took over a ream of paper to print when we sent it to a publisher for review.

Brevity, then.  It’s a hard but necessary lesson.  Flash fiction is one way to practice it, but looking at the word count per story and across the month of 2016 shows I still have more work to do (or I need to recognize when a story idea is meant to stretch out more).

Assuming I added the numbers correctly on my calculator (to err is human, after all), the word count for 2016 was 28,098.  A pithy number for NaNoWriMo, decent for a novella, yet too much for daily flash fiction.  This means I averaged about 937 words per story. Except, I can see the numbers for myself, and a pattern of fluctuation emerges in the numbers below, and only 14 of 30 stories are truly “flash” fiction by my definition (although most fall below 1,500, which is the upper limit for most publications).  Sometimes I stayed within my set boundaries of 200-900 words, and others, I just kept writing without a care for the word count (I’m looking at you, “Seven Year Ball”).

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these stories yet, and are eager to dive in, access remains available to all subscribers at my Patreon, starting at $1 per month.

943
561
1138
1207
1461
993
997
233
773
285
517
677
263
1397
230
445
1170
772
899
1154
1163
1024
1490
886
1159
598
941
2092
690
1940
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