Hampton Roads Writers


Use the sentence in the next paragraph as inspiration for a fully plotted FLASH of 500 words or less. Leave out every superflous description and character movement that isn't vital to the plot. As unappealing as this may be to you poets and novelist, do it anyway since flash requires the tightest of tight writing. If you can't come up with an entire story of 500 words or less, create a less-completely-plotted vignette of at least 200 words.

"Don't try to stop me!" he (she) yelled.

Why would someone say this? Is the speaker somebody's distraught wife? Or maybe it's a kid about to jump off the roof in the flying machine he just invented. Or maybe these words are uttered by a threatened, crazed scientist, as he's about to turn on a machine that reanimates corpses. Perhaps it's a high schooler about to turn a shoplifting friend into the police.


Write this flash as magical realism*, in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal" setting. Perhaps a seagull said this. Or a carrot. Or a . . .

*--From Wikipedia, Emory University's "Introduction to Postcolonial Studies" defines the "characteristics of magical realism" as follows:
Hybridity—Magical realists incorporate many techniques that have been linked to post-colonialism, with hybridity being a primary feature. Specifically, magical realism is illustrated in the inharmonious arenas of such opposites as urban and rural, and Western and indigenous. The plots of magical realist works involve issues of borders, mixing, and change. Authors establish these plots to reveal a crucial purpose of magical realism: a more deep and true reality than conventional realist techniques would illustrate.

Irony Regarding Author’s Perspective—The writer must have ironic distance from the magical world view for the realism not to be compromised. Simultaneously, the writer must strongly respect the magic, or else the magic dissolves into simple folk belief or complete fantasy, split from the real instead of synchronized with it. The term "magic" relates to the fact that the point of view that the text depicts explicitly is not adopted according to the implied world view of the author. As Gonzales Echevarria expresses, the act of distancing oneself from the beliefs held by a certain social group makes it impossible to be thought of as a representative of that society.

Authorial Reticence—Authorial reticence refers to the lack of clear opinions about the accuracy of events and the credibility of the world views expressed by the characters in the text. This technique promotes acceptance in magical realism. In magical realism, the simple act of explaining the supernatural would eradicate its position of equality regarding a person’s conventional view of reality. Because it would then be less valid, the supernatural world would be discarded as false testimony.

The Supernatural and Natural—In magical realism, the supernatural is not displayed as questionable. While the reader realizes that the rational and irrational are opposite and conflicting polarities, they are not disconcerted because the supernatural is integrated within the norms of perception of the narrator and characters in the fictional world.


3333-24 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452

© Copyright 2008-10 Hampton Roads Writers. All Rights Reserved.