How to Write Flash Fiction

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WHAT IS FLASH FICTION?

Flash fiction is a short-short story told in 2000 words or less. It is my current area of interest because I’m wanting to enter a few pieces in a flash fiction contest, the one I blogged about last week.

So here I sit asking myself where to begin, and my best bet is to learn a few things about what goes into writing a great piece of flash fiction.

At first thought, writer’s who are unfamiliar with these short shorts might think it seems like a fairly easy task to undertake. But considering the limited amount of space that you have to get your story to work its magic, I’m assuming it might actually be a bit more difficult than expected.

Creating just the right setting, only the necessary dialogue – in fact, the perfect dialogue, creating an atmosphere that begs to be explored further, all of this could be a bit of a struggle in the few words available within flash fiction.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

  • With short shorts you need to start in the action, so choose a flashpoint to begin your story.
  • Plot matters less than mood and the details of the telling.
  • What is left out is just as important as what’s included in the writing.
  • Pick one theme.
  • Pay close attention to language.
  • Opt for understated elegance.
  • Subtlety is key.

From the research I’ve done, it’s my understanding that you what to pick a portion of your scene and build on it, let the small focal point tell the story. Keep your readers engrossed with the story that scene tells with all its details and then hit them with an unexpected twist at the end, leaving them wanting more.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

  1. Be concise without strangling your plot and characters.
  2. Remember to deliver your message.  No one likes empty envelopes.
  3. Make your prose intense. You can’t burn the reader.
  4. Learn from the birds. Tweet, tweet, tweet(er).
  5. Use prompts to hone your skills.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO

  1. Don’t go in circles. You don’t have room for that.
  2. Don’t try to wear many hats. Flash has space only for one or two.
  3. Don’t mince words. You are writing a flash and not making hamburger patties.
  4. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You don’t want to repeat what others have written.
  5. Don’t forget that flash is a story and not a poem or essay.

Wish me luck! I would love to write piles and piles of flash fiction – tons of small stories sounds like a rewarding endeavor.

Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any more tips for me or for fellow readers.

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