He’s just released an ebook, but he wrote it on an old typewriter.
“It’s a strange contrast for someone who uses an Oliver Eddy manual typewriter,” Larry Brown said. “It never crashes and every few years you just have to change a ribbon.”
The Brantford writer doesn’t do anything in a typical way when it comes to his work.
While many authors begin their careers writing short stories and move on to write much longer novels, Brown began in the 1980s as a novelist and his works have slowly become shorter and shorter.
His latest release, Satellite, a 40-page ebook released through Kobo, is made up of 18 flash fiction stories. Each tale in the anthology runs approximately 150 to 700 words long.
“I like the challenge of saying something and telling a complete story in as few words as possible,” Brown said. “When you’re writing a novel it can detour and have baggy parts, but as long as you come back to the story, everyone is alright. But especially in flash fiction, you have to make sure everything counts. If you go off the rails, everything is lost.”
But fewer words doesn’t mean stories are lacking, Brown said.
“There is a theory called the iceberg theory, which (Ernest) Hemingway came up with,” Brown said. “When you see an iceberg, one fifth is above the water, but four fifths are below.
“When you are writing a short story in particular you only show a small amount, but it is still all there and it still resonates.”
The stories in Satellite have no major theme – the only thing that connects them is that they are all short – but they all follow Brown’s style, which includes a mix of humour, darkness and a hint of more beneath the surface.
“Nobody (in the stories) is ever totally happy because there has to be tension in the stories,” Brown said. “I want people to think about them and I hope the stories stick with them. You can read them within a matter of minutes, but when they go away later that day I hope there is an image that sticks with them.”
In the age of instant gratification, Brown said his book of flash fiction is perfect for people who just don’t have the time to sit down with a long novel.
“Everyone talks about how they have no time, so you would think they would turn to short stories,” he said. “I think it’s important for anyone to read a wide range of stuff and this is in a category that is different than the latest copy of John Grisham.”
Copies of Satellite are available for free at www.kobo.com.