Flash Fiction is fabulous way to:
- Tighten up your writing in longer projects
- Practice writing quick stories, for StoryADay May
- Rediscover the joy of finishing stories
Here are some Flash Fiction Essentials to get you started writing in this demanding, but fun form.
Read Some Flash Fiction
It’s always the most annoying piece of advice on the ‘writer’s guidelines’ page for any publication, but it is also the most true. You must be familiar with the form before you can write it. Even if you want to be original, you must know the rules before you can break them.
Luckily, studying Flash Fiction takes less time than studying novels or movies, so set aside some time, immerse yourself in a ton of stories, and see what speaks to you.
If you have a favorite genre to read/write, find some stories in that genre and read as many as you can. Let them percolate for a few days.
For the stories or lines that stayed with you, go back and try to work out how the author got inside your brain. What techniques did they use? What pacing? What word choices? What surprised you?
For the stories that left you cold, what did the author NOT do? What can you learn from that?
You don’t have to copy any one writer or style, but by dissecting the work of your favorites, you gain some tools to try out when appropriate.
- For Literary Fiction try New Flash Fiction, Smokelong Quarterly, Electric Lit’s Archive for Commuters or this HuffPo list of 15 stories
- For Romance try Flash Fiction Online’s Romance section or Flash Fiction Library’s Romance archive
- For Science Fiction try Daily Science Fiction, 365Tomorrows, Flash Fiction Online’s Sci-Fi Archive, Tor.com
- For Fantasy try Every Day Fiction’s Fantasy archive, Tor.com, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, The Arcanist
- For Dystopian Fiction try this list from BookRiot
- For Mystery Flash, try FlashBangMysteries.com, Quick Mystery, Short Fiction Break’s Thriller Archive, Flash Fiction Library’s Mystery Archive
Four Ways To Think About Flash Fiction
Here are four Flash Fiction writing prompts for you
(I should probably stop calling the writing prompts that, because really they are mini-classes. But I keep calling them writing prompts anyway…)
Make It Flash encouraged you to write a flash fiction story with a literal flash in it and gave you some advice on how to do that. Bonus points to Jacqueline, Mark who shared their flash stories, and to Tracy who left a comment, telling us about what working on flash did for her novel-writing.
Specific To Universal highlighted some ways to make a story more than a self-absorbed tale of Something That Happened, and instead, resonate with the reader.
Terrific Titles talked about the importance of titles in short fiction (especially in the shortest forms) and gave you some tips for making your titles become the sizzle that sells your story.
Crafting Great Openings & Endings for Flash gave you tips on how to make your stories start strong and end with a punch. People’s perception of events is often shaped in the last few moments, and stories are no different. It doesn’t really matter how well a story is written if it leaves the reader flat at the end. Let’s learn how to avoid that!
Flash Fiction Podcasts
You can listen to two podcasts this month, all about flash fiction.
Episode 95 – What Is Flash Fiction and Why You Should Be Writing It in which I get excited about flash fiction and tell you how to start.
Episode 96 – How To Make It Flash, publishing Saturday, Feb 24, in which I get into the details of how to write really good, satisfying tiny tales.
You can subscribe to the podcast here,
or search for “StoryADay” in any podcast app.
Further Reading From Around The Web
Here’s some recommended reading from around the web:
How To Write Flash Fiction – an excellent, three-part, illustrated guide, with no-fluff, from Wikihow.
Expert Tips For Writing The Best Flash Fiction – a round up of most of the advice you can find on the web, about flash. A good summary article by the improbably-named Jack Smith (jk), The Writer
Naming The Baby – How to pick a good title for your story, by Bruce Holland Rogers, Flash Fiction Online
Choosing The Right Name for Your Story – Another take on how to pick a title, by John Floyd, Writing-World.com