I’m routinely asked why I continue to write flash fiction.
I routinely respond by saying that flash fiction allows me to explore and ‘try on’ new ideas, characters, and genres while I work on more lengthy projects behind the scenes.
This summer, I discovered a fantastic visual analogy courtesy of Mother Nature and Aunt Agriculture.
Now, I’m no fan of my daily three-hour round trip commute, but I can’t complain because it’s a pastoral journey during which I watch orchards grow, seasons bloom, and hawks hunt. It’s that first bit I want to focus on here, the orchards growing.
Several of the new orchards along my route employ cover crops, which are short term crops planted alongside long term crops.
For Example: in the photo above, snapped along my route this summer, soy beans are planted between walnut trees.
Cover crops are primarily used for two reasons:
- Cash Flow
- Soil Enrichment
Soy beans enrich and protect the soil the trees are rooted in and provide the farmer with money while he waits for those trees to mature.
The Cover Crop Analogy Applied To Writing
Flash Fiction stories are the soy beans enriching and sustaining the walnut orchard of my Novellas.
Flash Fiction stories keep me active and visible. They’re the short term goals that keep my pen on the paper, give me the freedom to indulge my imagination, and provide me with the feedback that’s so essential to a writer’s soul.
Novellas keep me engaged and rooted. They’re the long term investment I am counting on to pay out big later on, big in terms of personal fulfillment and reader enjoyment.
And there you have it: I write flash fiction because walnut trees require a hell of a lot of time, energy, and patience. 🙂