Mercurial Stories is a flash fiction literary journal created to get writers writing. The concept was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s advice to fledgling writers: write a short story every week. Mathematically, he reasoned, it is nearly impossible to write 52 terrible stories. This goes along with the theory that striving for quantity instead of quality is the better approach for creatives. It goes against what our nagging editor brain tells us but the core truth is that the more you write, the better you get at writing.
Which leads to another purpose of Mercurial Stories: deflating your ego. Writing is a process but too often we focus on the goal of publication rather than improving our storytelling craft. We, and I speak collectively because I know I am not alone in this, tend to think our story is the most precious set of sentences ever composed but we keep it hidden away, afraid to bring it out to readers who will (we know on a less confident level) contradict our perception of our story (and, vicariously, ourselves). If they have no evidence of our fallibility, then we can nurture the misconception of infallibility. This does not lend itself well to growth as a writer. So here you have a space where you can publish the story, warts and all, and move on to the next story.
In the beginning days, I used to call it a writer’s gym and I think it is still an apt description. Mercurial Stories provides a safe place for you to work hard and grow stronger amongst witnesses, making you more accountable to your readers instead of your ego. It is about being presented with a storytelling problem (aka prompt) and solving it quickly and without much deliberation. It is also about reading the other solutions to the same problem and learning from alternative answers.
If you have any questions about Mercurial Stories, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were featured on Six Questions in January. Read the interview here.