[Write On Wednesday] Make It Flash

This month at StoryADay we’re all about Flash Fiction!

Flash Fiction image

Flash fiction is loosely defined as being between 250 and 1200  words long, but it is so much more than that.

The best description of Flash Fiction I’ve ever seen goes like this:

“You are outside in the dark, just a star or two. Somewhere, there are the sounds of a party on the other side of the street. The beat of a disco. Heightened talk, shouts, laughter. It is easy to turn away, leave that behind. Go back into the house. Then—a firework. A single crack splits the air, a sizzle, a pause. A burst of stars, shimmering, falling in a fountain against the sky. The stars spiral and fall, painting the sky with trails of light. Then it is over. You blink. But no—it is not over. Imprinted on your retina is a fountain of fire. That is what a good flash ought to do. It should catch you as you turn away, hold you, and when you’ve finished reading, it should echo and resonate.”

-Vanessa Gebbie
The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction

We’re going to take her at her word, today and write literally about something that flashes

The Prompt

Write a 250-1000 word story that features something that flashes, somewhere in the story

Tips

  • Read Meteor by Josh McColough for an example of how you can write about something that flashes without making that the only thing that the story is about.
  • Keep the story to a very few characters
  • Remember that you are setting up one moment, so don’t give us too much backstory (read Meteor, above, to see how McColough shows us how the narrator’s relationship isn’t going well and why he’s primed to be impacted by the events of the evening)
  • Try to mirror the external events with an internal flash of understanding (either in a character or your reader)
  • Don’t worry about getting this right on a first draft. Just bear it in mind.
  • Write your first draft quickly. Everything can be fixed in the edit…or thrown away. You’ll learn something in the writing of this story, even if the story doesn’t survive the process.

Go!

Come back and leave a comment, letting us know what you discovered as you wrote your flash fiction story

 

4 thoughts on “[Write On Wednesday] Make It Flash”

  1. The yellow twin signal lights on the railroad crossing mesmerize me. They wink, one then the other, in fast succession. Go right! Go left! Watch out! Here it comes! My eyes boggle trying to follow them, one at a time. The yellow becomes a blur; a single light. The fingers of my hands on the steering wheel begin to pulse in sinc with the lights; right, left, overlapping. The heel of my foot on the brake bounces in time. It bounces right off the pedal and falls to the gas feed. A bigger, brighter, whiter blur flies from left to right. My car joins it. We entwine, tumble…and enter low-earth orbit.

  2. When I read this week’s prompt, I instantly thought about a scene from my 10ish-year-old YA story idea that I’ve retired for now. For the sake of this prompt, I decided to mirror the opening scene from the novel with a scene that takes place two-ish weeks later, but both scenes revolve around a picture being taken. The opening scene is a happy moment; the second scene is sadder moment.
    When I compiled those two scenes into their own Word Doc, I was working with 3,412 words. Today, I got it down to 1,618.
    When writing book-length stories I know in theory that every scene, every character, every sentence and word need to have a purpose in the story, but working on this prompt and cutting out 2,200+ words I am seeing that up close and personal. It’s been really cool to practice…story tightness…story conciseness…in this way, writing flash fiction.
    Thanks for the practice!

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