Flash Fiction Month is proving a challenge this year, largely because I’m also sinking a lot of time into my Creative Writing dissertation. It’s a little strange having to come up with a tiny story every day while also chipping away at an umpteen-thousand word project. Still, it’s manageable, and I feel as though I’ve done some good work on both.
I was pleasantly surprised recently to discover that The Fermi Pair o’ Socks had been featured as a Daily Deviation over on deviantART, meaning that it was displayed prominently in a few places around the site: kind of a day in the spotlight. That’s happened with a few of my other stories before, and it’s always good to know they’re reaching new people: especially when they’re stories from Flash Fiction Month that might encourage other writers to get involved with the event. It was also quite a boost to have that story featured in particular, as it was the first time this month that I’d just had to take an idea and run with it, rather than writing a story I’d either had in mind for a while or piecing something together specifically for a challenge.
The way stories come together over the course of these events has always interested me. Each one of my Flash Fiction Month anthologies includes a statistical analysis at the end looking at how various things (though mostly word count) changed over the course of the month. Recently, that got me thinking about different ways to display that sort of information, and that led up to this:
You may have noticed this image in my Flash Fiction Day post last month, where it was included pretty much just to add colour. However, there’s more to it than that. Each band of colour—orange, red, and purple—represents one Flash Fiction Month event: 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. In turn, each of those bands is made up of 31 lines of colour, each one representing a single story. The strength of the line represents the length of that story, with the maximum 1,000 words being a bold coloured line and the minimum 55 words being almost white. You can see at a glance how the stories from 2013 (the red band) were typically longer than the stories from 2012 (the orange band), especially towards the end of the month.
I’ve since started using this as the header for my email newsletter, where, again, it’s nice to be able to throw in some bright colour. However, I also figured I’d take the opportunity to stick it on a mug, just because I can.
It took a little bit of work to stop the bleed area from chopping off the lines at the edges, but actually wasn’t too hard to set up. I kind of wonder what other things I could represent graphically in this way, and how else I might use the images I get out of them. I don’t really draw or paint, so it’s interesting to have a go at doing something visual like this.