When writing flash fiction, it’s pretty much looking at an iceberg in the reverse. You have to see the big unseen picture, so you can be able to appreciate the smaller one. Case in point: when I was inspired to write the story “Hands Off” I pictured how life would be for a family if all but one, woke without their hands. The mother would be the only one with hands. The burning question, then: do I play the sympathy card or the humorous one? I chose to go the funny route. Therefore, I had to examine what would make such an event funny.
I envisioned my family waking to such a find. How would I react? How would my children deal with life without their hands? After spending some time playing different scenarios in my mind, I narrowed my focus on what most people would do when faced with extreme loss: we usually shift the blame on something or someone else.
So, with that in mind, I asked myself what are some of the most prominent ways people use their hands. After an exhausted list, I chose a pianist, hand model, and pro bowler. Now, how to spin this into a funny tale?
Before me flashed a family after waking and discovering their hands missing, I saw them belly aching to one another about their loss. All the while, envying the mother, who still had her hands. As if watching the scene play out on a screen before me, I saw the father, daughter, and son pointing their nubby arms at the mother, with her delivering the punch line.
Short stories, whether, flash fiction, or something much larger, always begin by seeing the bigger picture and telling it small.
Here’s one for you. What short story, fifty words or fewer, can you make from these three words? Candy, winter, and orange. Share it in the comment box if you wish.