Unfamiliar faces blend, like duty-free whisky. Geography lessons on digital screens, Arabica beans before dawn. Unread messages lie in wait, for the red-eyed, blue pin-stripe suits. Nondescript seats welded together, too close for comfort it seems. Vacuous glances lacking connection like wine cellar Wi-Fi down below ground. Imagine, imagine, departure lounge sounds bottled as cold, stainless steel grey. Invisible baggage weighs heavier than hushed horizontal rockets outside. "Any more rubbish?" they ask before the descent but it's buried too deep inside.
**24 Unread Messages is now sold out. Thank you to everyone who supported it from the initial idea through to buying copies.**
The zine I put together with the help of some very kind people is out now.
24 Unread Messages is a flash fiction publication featuring amazing writers from all over the world. The stories are messages they always wanted to write to someone in their life, but for whatever reason, just couldn’t.
Here’s the fantastic lineup:
- Stephanie Hutton, Caleb Echterling, Laura Besley,
- Amanda McLeod, Mangal Patel, Michael McGill,
- Lee D. Thompson, Chloe Timms, Maria Carvalho,
- Anna Sanderson, Jo Withers, December Lace,
- S.E. Casey, Matthew Willis, Emma Cairns Watson,
- Michael Carter, Janelle Hardacre, Joanna Dennis,
- Lori Cramer, ML Noonan, Janice Leagra,
- Steve Campbell and two anonymous authors.
Here’s what others are saying about it:
“Funny, tender and surreal, it was a pleasure to read these messages!”
“I was delighted to receive my copy of 24 Unread Messages. Some touching pieces and one that made the whole family laugh. It’s impossible to choose a favorite. So many great pieces!”
“Received my copy last night – so far I’m loving it and I can’t wait to read the rest!”
Pull down my shutters,
A dream-like silver
with blue metal outlines
on a loop
I work in content marketing for my day job and have been reading lately about a concept known as ‘content shock’, a phrase coined by Mark Schaefer. It refers to ‘the intersection of finite content consumption and rising content availability.’
It got me thinking about how this may apply to flash fiction. Its popularity has grown massively across the world in recent years. As more people write flash and post it to their blogs, submit to zines, competitions and websites, so readers’ capacity to consume stays the same. In other words, more stories, but the same amount of free time for reading.
The result of this is that it’s only going to get harder to grab people’s attention. And just like the digital marketing world, it’s likely to be those with the biggest reputations, publishing deals and available time that are the most successful. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but what fate awaits a relative newcomer?
Learning about ‘content shock’ in my day job has made me rethink my approach to writing.
My plan? Deploy a 10x content mindset (thanks to the awesome Rand Fishkin).
I’m generally short on time when it comes to writing, but rather than ‘churn out’ stories regularly to have something to submit to a magazine or contest, I’m going to take more care with them and put the principles of 10x content to use.
And I’ll try to create work that’s remarkable, memorable and stands out for all the right reasons in amongst a world of incredibly talented writers.
I was chatting to my uncle recently about writing as he’s really got into it since retiring. He mentioned something that got me thinking. How he really loved a certain style of story that I write more than any other.
The thing is, I don’t often write those kinds of stories anymore. And when I started thinking about it, the reason why began to unravel.
There’s a great quote I’ve since discovered from Meg Cabot:
“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”
I realised that I’d started to write pieces of flash fiction in a certain style because that’s what’s generally being published. It’s an amazing feeling to see my name online and in print, but when I was building this website, I couldn’t actually remember most of my published stories and what they were about.
That told me something wasn’t quite right. I’m proud and grateful to have those pieces out in the wild, but when I read the majority of them, I don’t connect with them as being mine.
So, what point am I trying to make?
From now on I’m going to write the kind of story I want to read. Even if this means I get dozens of rejections. I also think that having my ‘own style’ (I’m not reinventing the wheel), will help my work stand out and make me happy, which is why I started writing in the first place.
I’m sure you’ve gathered already that I have a website!
After registering this domain a number of years ago and losing the original version, I’ve finally gotten round to building this. The main purpose of the site is to have links to all my published work in one place.
I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on my writing journey and some new work.
I’m based in Scotland, but chose the home page cover image of Barcelona as that’s where I got engaged.
My lovely wife has her own website providing holistic therapies.