Monday, January 26, 2009

This little form; what a sad little country, without territory or name.

I guess we’re still looking for a name for micro-fiction. Ignore that we can’t agree if it’s under a hundred words, exactly 150, a few hundred, or between 500 and 1000 words long – we don’t know what to call it. That’s a peculiar problem for a thing that can be identified by a word, like “micro-fiction.” Normally you consider that sort of thing named.

I like “micro-fiction,” but I guess the publishing industry is worried novels will be replaced by macro-fiction.

Super-short-stories reminds them of spandex.

Flash fiction makes me think of sticking a book in a photocopier.

I once had a professor walk into a classroom shaking his butt and singing, “Who writes short shorts?” Ironically, he went on to write Smart People.

If I can’t use “micro-fiction,” I guess I’ll go with shotgun fiction. I don’t know where it came from but I know that’s what I called narrative bathroom monologues when I started typing them out. It’s catchy, because anytime you’re in a room with a bunch of pent-up readers and somebody mentions any kind of gun, thoughts are going to happen. Attention is had. A shotgun has the one blast: stick in the shot, close the barrel, pull the trigger and bang. No extra rounds in the chamber, very few words, and the limit of only hitting whatever point and story you can hit with your rock salt prose. The worst drawback I can think of is somebody naming his micro-fiction sequel “double barrel shotgun fiction.”


  1. I don't think we should ignore that we can't agree what it is. I think that's part of the reason you like it.

    I like "shotgun fiction" as a term, though. But in my area, where "shotgun wedding" is still in proper use, it makes me think of something a little different, something that is compelled not entirely by our own want or will, and does not immediately fit into category we'd traditionally expect it to, even if we'd like it to [which maybe we don't].

  2. You put it that way and it just sounds like all other art!

    So, since you're not ignoring that we can't agree what it is - what is it?


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