I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what to use flash/micro fiction for. I've had several flash fiction works published, and the process was quite illuminating.
I'm ready to start exploring short fiction length, aiming for works at 2500 and 5000 words. I have some idea from working in flash fiction that composing stories of this length will eventually teach me what short fiction can be used for.
I also anticipate that the editorial process for short fiction will be much different than what I have currently encountered, because reading short stories takes more time than reading flash fiction and because short fiction allows for a broader exploration of whatever theme I've chosen. Therefore, I imagine it will be harder to find volunteers to read and provide feedback for longer work, and it will take longer to do revisions.
I know I should take some time and read some literary magazines and collections of short stories to get a feel for the length. I should also just write some and see what it is like. That said, I developed flash fiction more quickly when I had a deadline and an editor who helped give me direction.
So I'm looking for someone experienced to share the advantages and disadvantages of two alternative methods I have envisioned:
- Just freely writing short fiction pieces until I feel like I understand the tool and the differences in the editorial process between flash and short fiction. I imagine in this scenario, I would write something, have a kind volunteer or two read it, revise, etc, then save up several pieces and engage a freelance editor to give me professional input. After I did all that, and hopefully then understood short fiction better, I would look for lit magazines that seemed appropriate and either submit finished work that looked like it met their requirements, or write new material for submission to meet their requirements.
In this scenario, I spend a lot of time producing work before I get to the really helpful parts. I end up with a body of work that is solid, but may sit for a long time before it gets published.
- Looking for a few literary magazines that I think fit my style, and then use their guidelines, themes, deadlines, etc to focus and give structure to a particular piece or pieces. I spend less time with volunteer readers and instead skip to freelance editing more quickly because I can be much more specific about what my goals with any given piece are.
In this scenario, I spend more money (I'm not sure how difficult it will be to get a freelancer to look at individual works of short fiction), but produce work that is already eligible for submission. Even rejected pieces would theoretically still be sufficiently polished that they could be submitted elsewhere or I could hold them and put them in an eventual collection.