I’m excited to have a flash short story published in the Antipodean SF magazine this month. “The Circus Act” is a love story set in a future where performers are owned by their managers. You can read it here!
I wrote this story a while ago, after seeing a Cirque du Soleil performance. Despite suddenly wanting to become a gymnast (an impossible dream when I can barely touch my toes), I couldn’t shake off the innate surrealism of circuses. How identical performances are often multiple times a day. The way audiences change even though the acts remain the same. The bizarre, outlandish costumes and make up. How a performer puts on a mask in front of the crowd, but becomes someone else entirely when the curtain falls.
At heart, I’m a long-form narrative writer. My stories tend to hit 100000 words fairly easily, but as we all know, to perfect our art - whatever it may be - we need to practice and what better way to do so is through flash and short stories?
Another benefit of writing short fiction and sending it out into the world, is that I’m getting a lot of practice with rejection. Getting a short story rejection doesn’t hurt nearly as much as something I’ve been working on for years, but it still helps to toughen up my skin. While the rejections on my novels are still painful, they’re no longer as heart breaking.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard that to be a successful author, you must write and read a lot. I’d add that writing short stories, whether they’re your final goal or if you’re working on something longer, are a great way to hone your craft.
Then submit them.
While not all rejections offer feedback as well, sometimes they do and it gives me a little thrill to think that someone out there thought my writing had enough potential to spend a few minutes offering advice. But leaving your stories on your computer means you won’t get that chance to improve.
I’ve a few little pieces of coal that I’m putting under pressure at the moment, and soon they’ll be rough cut diamonds that I’ll submit in the hopes of getting feedback and - even better - maybe get accepted for publication. I’ll keep at it and my writing will become more and more polished with every word I write.