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Rated: E · Preface · Opinion · #1820028
My notes and thoughts on why I write flash fiction and why you might want to as well!
A flash story is a limited writing (500 or 300 words or less) often requiring that the author insert certain words or a phrase. Most of mine are 300 words or less.

I do not consider myself to be an expert, but I have created over 200 Flash stories to date. I have won a great deal of contests as well. So, take my advice as that -- advice. Take some or leave it. Flash stories are a great way for a beginning writer to sharpen their skills in the following areas:

1) Write succinctly. Use few words but use them to describe something with the fewest words yet allow the reader to see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or feel what the author wishes to convey. “Tightening” your writing makes the flow that much more enjoyable and gives that “riveting” feeling that readers love.

2) Work on plots and plot lines – Creativity! Any story when written well can be fascinating. The more you practice, the more interesting the stories you create will become. Thinking of outlandish plot lines is a wonderful pastime.

3) Vocabulary. Looking for just the right word to insert to describe a scene is paramount to flash stories. Adding that one word can allow a flash to be memorable. Using higher level vocabulary also tightens your writing and makes it that much more interesting.

4) Habit. Writing – any writing – on a regular basis creates a habit. A habit becomes practice. Practice begets improvement. When a writer reaches a certain level, they begin to create the works of art they desire. Make no mistake; It’s hard work. That’s why you need to habitually write.

5) Enjoyment. What is the point to being an author if you don’t enjoy yourself? The feeling of creating something out of thin air and having people tell you that they “really liked that” is phenomenal.

6) If you're competitive you should enter a contest and have your creation judged against others. By far the contest I enter the most often is this one:

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge  (13+)
Enter your story of 300 words or less.
#896794 by Arakun the Twisted Raccoon

Note: Do not read the other entries until you have created yours.

Flash stories aren’t for everyone. Some readers don’t like the brevity. But that’s OK! Write to be writing. Be creative. Take chances. Push the limits on weirdness. Put twists in there! Enjoy yourself.

Secondarily, I have been asked certain questions about Flash Stories and how I approach them. Here are the answers to my most frequently asked questions, plus a few of the very common responses to my stories.

"I can't seem to come up with any ideas for a story. How do you do that?" A: I have the same trouble, but I've learned that if you just think of bizarre situations to put characters in, then write two sentences about it, this "buds" a story. I think of and write ten or so of these. For instance, I could think of a dog who walks backward everywhere. Then write a couple sentences about him.

"How do I build my story around three words? A: That's really the wrong tactic. Write the story first. Forget about the words. Once you have the story, then you can be creative in slipping them in somewhere. I remember one story "Demise of a Perfect World" that I had to fit 'peacock' and 'predator' into it. The story was about an elderly woman who was doing landscaping. If I can fit those words into that story you shouldn't have any problems.

"You use the prompt well." Response: Actually I don't use the prompt at all. I create the story first and the prompt gets "fit in" later. I've just gotten better at seamlessly doing it. Practice will make you just as adept.

"I can't seem to get my story to fit into 300 words. How do you do that?" A: That's a big challenge for some stories and comes easily with others. Again, you ignore this restraint at first then 'tighten' the story later. Don't go writing a novelette though. Keep to your main points -- the ones that are crucial to telling it -- and cut the fluff. This is a big reason why I write Flashes. They teach you how to keep your writing flowing and keep the reader interested.

Hopefully you take something of value away from this.



For another (wonderful) discussion of Flash Fiction please also try:

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#1512211 by Not Available.

I use many of these suggestions myself and, to me, there is no greater writer of Flash Fiction than Hyperiongate.
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