I am starting to see a trend in my writing. Dead people. Looking back through my #fridayflash and flash fiction posts (click on the Flash Fiction tab above to see them), I noticed 50% of my output of flash fiction has featured death in one shape or form. Death of a loved one. Suicide. Murder. Even accidental death. I noticed this because I drafted my #fridayflash piece for this week this morning. It too features a death and will push me over the fifty-fifty brink, up to 53.3%.
I have to admit as well that the three major projects I am working on at the moment (Fourth Fiction, my YA novel, and the planning of a piece of literary fiction) all feature the death of at least one major character. Some have more. This aspect of my writing has surprised me a little. Looking at the work you might think I am like Johnny from the Fast Show, bemoaning the absolute bleakness of human existence every five minutes. I don’t. I am a happy person. Honest.
To be fair, most of these stories do try and look at death from the perspective of those left behind, particularly my three longer projects, and as such try and show how people deal with the idea and reality of death in their lives. I suppose some of this stems from the death of my father in the early part of this decade. I know I am still processing his loss. I promise not to get all ‘X-factor sob story’ though.
What is also strange is that my short fiction, currently out on submission/competition entry, doesn’t feature death at all. In fact, in one story, the two main characters could well live for as long as there is life on this planet. In fact my short stories deal with themes as diverse as the nature of platonic relationships, God, marriage and children and, in one particularly offbeat tale, what it is to be an inanimate object in love. So not all death then.
I promise to try and find something else to write about for next week’s #fridayflash. In the meantime I hope you enjoy, Half Mown Lawn, when it is posted this Friday. Until then, I leave you with a link to the news that my horror flash fiction submission to Elements of Horror has been accepted. Yes, it has a death in it (two,actually), but it is a horror story after all.
Please, feel free to use the comments to tell me of any thematic trends you have found in what you write or what you like to read.
And just for fun, here’s a bit of Johnny in action.