A Flash Fiction Story:
They finally cornered him, his creamy mustache still visible. “You owe us for twelve bottles!”
The thief’s eyes surveyed the dank alleyway looking for an escape route. “I didn’t take them, I’m lactose intolerant!”
The oldest sister, breathless from running while carrying a lead pipe, said, “We know. We tracked your gaseous trail since dawn.”
Tips for Writing Flash Fiction
Fictorians – Flash Fiction Tips
Writing flash fiction is a lot like writing poetry. Because of the word limitations, one must take their time discovering concepts and language that speaks beyond the text on the page. Sometimes the selected words must pull double- or triple-duty to get as much information across to the reader.
Here are some tips for writing effective flash fiction.
Consider writing poetry.
Poetry focuses on the same concepts and construction of flash fiction. In particular, learning how to write using recognized poetic forms like sonnets, pantoums, and sestinas can help train you to write conservatively and with precision. Even something as simple as a limerick or a haiku can be surprisingly difficult for a writer to construct effectively.
As one writes poetry, they expand their language skills and vocabulary. Understanding the different subtle definitions of a word can help one write with an overt initial reading with rippling undertones. This skill can help an author to evolve beyond writing a story that happens to be really short.
Find writing challenges.
There are several writing prompt websites such as Fish of Gold and Writing.com’s Daily Flash Fiction Challenge. Google can help to connect you to more. Forcing your brain to write with a specific concept or object in mind can both help you to focus and to open your mind to non-typical stories. These will also help to expand your skills and, at times, can even get you a publication credit.
Educate yourself with story construction lessons.
There are plenty of story construction articles and books to assist you with truly understanding how a story is built. Understanding the high-level concepts of story building can help you to write flash fiction (and longer projects.) Take the time to learn the tropes of the different genres, including ones you do not necessarily read on a regular basis. Suggested books include Story Engineering by Larry Brooks or one of the Writer’s Digest series. If you have the time, try one of Open University’s free courses on writing.
Practice makes better.
Practice doesn’t make you perfect, but it certainly does help you to improve. The more you focus on writing, the better you will become as a writer. The work you produce should be edited and sent out like the rest of your writing. You won’t get rich writing flash fiction, but you can occasionally make a few bucks and progress in your professionalism skills.
By the way, what is flash fiction?
There are several definitions and variants of what is considered flash fiction. Some venues believe flash is 300 words or less, while most consider 1,000 or less to be valid. Here are some common variants:
- 1,000 words or less: Flash Fiction
- 750-500 words: Sudden or Immediate Fiction
- 300 words or less: Micro Fiction
- 100 words exactly: Drabble
- 55 words exactly: Double-nickel Fiction
- 50 words exactly: Dribble