Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DSD Flash Challenge

By Jay Stringer

Behind the scenes here at DSD towers, we send out some strange emails. Seriously, to join us is to prepare yourself for some long and confused rambling on films, short story collections and the price of butter in Marrakesh.

But when you’ve got McFet in the team, chomping on a cigar and saying “I love it when a plan comes together,” there is always the occasional gem. He asked about recession fiction, and whether we could think of recent examples of crime fiction that dealt with the issue.

Interesting question.

Naturally I didn’t have an answer.

I do wonder how folks feel the last few years have changed the way they read or write. Does a global collapse make you search out novels that try to make sense of it all? Does it make you want to write something that looks as those who fell and those who got away with it?

It makes me think of the Joker’s comments in THE DARK KNIGHT;

when the chips are down, these uh, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.

Thinking on it, there’s a whole can of worms to be opened there. If there’s a type of fiction that comes ready prepared to explore what ‘honest’ people do when the lights are out or the chips are down, it’s crime. It could also be said that crime explores the gap, the distinction between the rich and the poor, and the sometimes fragile walls that separate them. If the past three years has done anything for fiction, it’s provided far more fuel for that type of story.

On the other hand, it could be said that the subject matter of crime fiction is recession proof; many of the stories are already dealing with people in deprived situations. It’s already about grabbing social mobility with a fist and the pointy end of a gun. In that regard, crime fiction has long been waiting for the world to catch up.

And this element is timeless. It was as true a century ago as it is today.

This is a meaty subject to get into, and one that I’m sure all of you could write about far better than me. So here’s the thing, short and sweet this week. I believe if there’s a subject worth discussing, it’s a subject worth writing fiction about.

So this here is a DSD flash fiction challenge. And I’m giving you plenty of run up time on this; lets call the deadline Tuesday, April 6th. Just after we’ve all enjoyed the Easter weekend, that seems somehow fitting.

Let’s have your recession stories. The usual flash rules apply, length no more than 800-900 words (I’m looking at you, Weddle). Write about anything and everything, as long as it’s tied into the theme.

You can send your stories to us to put up here on the day, or you can just run them on your own blog and link to us.

Who’s in?


J. Curtis said...

Posting at 3am, 'eh?

Okay, I'm in.

Anonymous said...

I'll give it a go.

Chris said...

I'm in.

Dana King said...

Me, too.

The Great Recession hasn't made me look for such books, but it convinced me to write a book using a setting I'd long toyed with. I grew up near Pittsburgh in the 70s. While the Burgh's economy has re-invented itself (medicine, education, finance), many of the old mill towns along the rivers have had more or less depressed economies for going on 40 years. Seeing everyone in this boat, scratching their heads about what to do, made me think of home, where surviving a bad economy has become an art form. So I put the story there.

Evan Lewis said...

I hope to be there, if I can just come up with an idea for next week's "in church" challenge.

Rob Kitchin said...

okay, I'm in. I spend most of my time researching the damn recession for the day job, I might as well fill the rest of my time by writing recession fiction!

John McFetridge said...

And I was thinking maybe you'd want to call it, "Hard Times," but someone told me that's taken.

Bryon Quertermous said...

Of course I'll be in. I'm such a fucking follower. And I still believe your thoughts on Marrakesh butter economics are flawed beyond hope.

Unknown said...

Shit, Stringer, between you, O'shea, and Weddle, I'm always writing these F*cking flash stories.

But I'm down

Dorte H said...

I think I´m in but I am a bit overworked right now. Well, April is practically another life, isn´t it?

Cormac Brown said...

In for the penny and the pound, or even less than that, adjusting for inflation.

J. Curtis said...

Okay, I'm officially in: http://www.digitalhooligans.com/blog/2010/03/19/recession-era-banking/

Kyle Maxwell said...

I hope this works as crime fiction... Ready to work

Dorte H said...

Goodmorning America, my flash is here: