Why I Write Short Stories: A Guest Post by Bart Van Goethem

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Why I like to write micro and flash fiction

There are a number of reasons why I like to write micro and flash fiction:

1. I don’t have a lot of time. I have a full time job, two young kids and a wife. Probably in that order. I also have to sleep. Writing time is scarce, so I need to make the most out of it when an opportunity presents itself or when I actively make time. Like now, at 10.53 pm.

2. I am trained to think short and compact. I’ve been an advertising copywriter for the past 20 years. If I can’t convey my message in one headline or a 30 second commercial, I am doomed. It’s more difficult than you’d think (that’s why there are so many crappy ads out there).

It’s this combination, the way my everyday reality is organised and the way my brain is wired, that makes it a joy to write micro and flash. I can write an entire story in my head before I even sit down and start typing. I can toy with ideas, again, in my head, before I decide on the one I feel has potential. And then I just go for it.

3. I like being in my head.

4. It’s philosophical. The universe has been around for about 13.8 billion years. Man’s life expectancy is, on average, 67.2 years. We are a flash, we are micro, we are a story that’s over before it even begins. And underway you don’t get every little detail, there are a lot of blank spaces you have to fill out yourself. So from that perspective, a flash story feels very natural, it’s like life itself.

Oh, and 5: I’m lazy.


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In 2012 Bart Van Goethem self-published Life’s Too Short For Long Stories, a collection of mainly one-sentence stories, of varying quality. In March 2014 he started writing flash in the Flash!Friday community. Since then, over 40 one-sentence stories and 10 flash fiction stories of his have been published online and in print. You can follow him on Twitter at @bartvangoethem, check out his advertising work at TheBartCorporation.be, or connect with him on Facebook.

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