Home » Progress » Flashy or Plain –Which One Turns You On?

Flashy or Plain –Which One Turns You On?

Four kind comments came in to last Friday’s post where I asked for help with a 500 word story I want to send in to a writing contest. The $100 prize would come in handy for the small necessities I’ve been doing without lately.

Utilizing their feedback and that from my sister and my daughter, I replaced the original story with a new revised version. I’ll take that one down in a week or so unless I can come up with a flashier story to submit to the contest. Something tells me that more flash may have a better chance in today’s world. But, of course, I don’t really know.


Flashy Photo by Re’ Harris

What do you think? If the writing quality is equal, is a flashier story the one you’d rather spend a little time reading? Or do you prefer realism and emotion, a “style” that almost appears not to be one?

PS: Saturday evening, after receiving a certain piece of mail, my focus turned again from the writing I want to do, to the struggles going on in my life. I want to try to keep writing, but composing and revising is difficult for me when the hardness of the world intrudes on my emotions. This post is me trying not to curl up in response, the way I have been. This is me trying to stay out in the world. Regularly adding stories to Words One Hundred is my main target, though. That will add up to both practice and perhaps getting to communicate with friends. It’ll be great if that works out. My best to you all.


13 thoughts on “Flashy or Plain –Which One Turns You On?

  1. Your post from today (March 8) led me back to this earlier post. More often than not, writing is a lonely exercise. Do NOT curl up because you have few viewers. If what you write is important to you, post it. There’s no way to know in advance what the response will be. Be of good cheer! You are not as alone as you feel.

  2. Okay, flashy or plain ? I’m not really a sci-fi person so I guess it has to be plain for me. Some will like flashy. But the point of writing and creating your art is to be true to yourself, isn’t it? The world is big enough to create an audience. One of my all-time favourite writers, and one that I go back to regularly, is Raymond Carver. Fantastic vignettes into ordinary lives that live as stories as themselves. And, as legend has it, edited like crazy, to create the sweetest literary snapshots. Short stories by another hero, Steinbeck, are examinations of people as much as anything else.
    Now the thing is, Ré, we’re not all going to be Steinbecks or Carvers, but they do show that stories about ordinary people can be interesting and alluring. Read some Carver and use it as inspiration.
    A tale – many years ago, as teenagers, a couple of us were learning to play guitar. Then we heard Jimi Hendrix and suddenly everything seemed so stratospheric – we were never going to get there. So we gave up playing guitar. Dumbest mistake I ever made. (Well, one of them, at least.)
    I like the way you write. Sure enough, not everyone will, but I do like the way, particularly for a male reader, that you get inside a woman’s head. It would be a crying shame if you stopped practicing your “guitar” because you couldn’t reach a Carver or a Steinbeck. Go for it, girl !

    • So many important things to think about here. Thanks! I read Steinbeck early in my life and think his stories helped me appreciate the ‘smaller’ stories of life. You mentioned Carver once before and I sought out some of his work online. Much to learn there, too. Strangely, I’ve been bad at reading books lately, and writers have to read stories. When I’m feeling down, movies and television get through to me with less pain.

      It means a lot to me what you said about getting inside a woman’s head particularly for a male reader. That speaks to the part of me that wants to really say something. And I have a guitar story, too: I had finally got a half decent one (where the strings weren’t so high off the fretboard that I couldn’t play the notes properly), but while I was just getting the hang of playing the basic chords cleanly and realizing how awfully long it would probably take to ace a solo, my daughter took an interest and I gave her the guitar and watched her get good at it instead. Parents sacrafice things for their kids, so it wasn’t the dumbest thing I ever did, but I should have had enough confidence in myself to share the guitar with her, not give it up. I hear you. Thanks.

  3. Realism and emotion anytime. But I’m not sure if you should pay any attention to me, as today’s world has me stumped. I don’t think there’s any problem going forth with blazing guns when you want and curling up in a quiet corner when you want. I like your knitting very much! But it’s so good to know that you’ll be writing your wonderful short stories again. I’ve always read them with interest and attention.

  4. Like other comments here, your post on the 8th brought me over here to see the post that’s giving you so much writing angst. Flashy or realistic? I’ll read anything if the writer’s voice shines through. But with that said, the deep emotion and honesty in your writing is always what pulls me in.

    • Thanks for saying that, Lisa. I’m glad the emotion in my work doesn’t put you off.

      While trying not to get tripped up in the obvious writer’s pitfalls (telling “how” a person feels instead of “showing”) I seem to home in on details that don’t universally say what I want them to say. My own sister didn’t get a lot of what I tried to say in the Mash Stories entry that started this bout of writer’s angst. The questions she asked knocked me for a loop. Other people asked other questions, and I really began to wish I could read each new draft with fresh eyes, without knowing what I “meant to say.” Every writer wants that, don’t they? 🙂

      I’m working hard to walk the line between clarity and style– always learning more, but allowing myself at a certain point to let the work be misunderstood if it feels right to me.

      • The dynamic is completely different when it’s family reading our work. They try to associate our writing with their vision of who we are. Or they interpret our writing through the lens of the person they know. And that holds true for anyone who reads what we write. I’ve received reactions to my writing that shocked me because I thought ‘that’s not what I meant at all!’. But it’s what that reader saw. Sometimes I wish I had meant what they saw…we could do full blog posts on this topic, couldn’t we?

  5. I can’t give you a thought on flashy or plain, because I can’t link to the stories for some reason. However, I”ll just say that I always prefer plain. Good writing for me is in plain good taste – nothing too much, sets off the story rather than covering it in writerly curliques. But what gets prizes isn’t always good taste – perhaps curliques are in fashion. Re not getting views, writing can be a lonely art. Most people who get a lot of views do so not because their posts are so fascinating but because they put a lot of effort into visiting other people’s posts and thus attract return visits. So if you really want views, that’s what you have to do. I personally don’t bother much – no time and I feel if someone likes my stuff, they’ll read it, if not, no worries.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about these things. The consensus is that it would be good for me to have a thicker skin because, yes, this writing is a lonely thing. The story I was wondering about for the contest is called One Drop in the Sea Of Love .
      I didn’t think to add a link to it in this post. I hope this one works. Thanks for your interest.

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