How to write Flash Fiction

I’m not an expert, but I love flash fiction. Love to read it and love to write it.

As with any story flash has the same three parts.

A beginning. Choose a moment in your character’s life that tells us a lot in a short amount of time. The plot must be simple. A hint of conflict and plot involvement is sometimes all it takes.

A middle. Be concise. Here is where you start cutting. Edit everything out of the story that isn’t vital to moving the story forward. Remove modifiers, such as “very,” “quite,” and “actually.” This is where you must plan every word and cut all “pretty purple” words.

An End.  The story needs to be wrapped up in a nice package for the reader. Whether that package is five hundred words or two thousand words. Remember flash has but a hint of the depth within a short story or novel.

The rule to show, rather than tell, is especially important in flash fiction writing because your goal is to maximize the impact  of each passage. Paint your characters and action with small, vivid scenes. Mike Resnick says, “Brevity is not just the soul of wit; it is damned hard work.” 

Another way is to think of your flash piece as a thirty minute TV sitcom. You have but thirty minutes, make each second count. There is no room for scene building, you must introduce the main character to the reader, where they are, what’s happening and bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion in 1800 seconds.

There is little room for elaborate words, purple prose or run on sentences. The flash fiction piece needs to be concise, tight and as elusive as poetry in story form.

Quite the challenge.

Each ezine, magazine, anthology or contest has different rules and word count. Check and recheck those rules. The rules are important and word count will help you tighten the story.

Read, read, and read some more. Reading flash fiction will enable you to understand the craft. Next, write and submit somewhere to someone. This is the scary part for some of us. I get sweaty palms every time I hit that submit button. But as a friend once said to me, I already have a no. This time I might get a yes.

Then do it all over again, write and submit.

Since I’m no expert, I’ve put together a list of websites to help us all. Please click on the links above and below. Together maybe we can learn and enhance our flash fiction writing at the same time.

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”~ Pablo Picasso

  Who writes flash fiction? Famous authors dead and alive…

NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY IS COMING!   

21st June 2014

 Stories in your Pocket    Flash Fiction Chronicles Blog    Accepting Flash Fiction      Every Day Fiction   Haunted Waters Press 

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Great Motivation! Thanks FFW

The holidays are over, the decorations are down and it’s time to get back in the groove. I couldn’t have ask for a better motivation to rev up my keyboard than the surprise that awaited me this morning in my inbox.  

Flash Fiction World-Volume 2 Anthology (Kindle edition) was released today with one of my short stories included. I’d no idea that Asleep No More  by J. M. Cogdell (that’s me) had made the cut and even been selected for publication. What a wonderful way to start 2013!

Click on the link above and check it out! A bargain at $4.47, remember to be sure and click the www.Amazon.com “like” button to give me as well as the other authors a boost it will be much appreciated. Everybody loves a thumbs up.

Book Description

Publication Date: January 4, 2013

Flash Fiction World (FFW) proudly presents its second collection of high quality flash fiction and short stories written by many authors from around the world, including amateur, professional and award winning authors. Each story has been selected for its high level of quality in terms of writing skill and pure reading enjoyment. There are seventy stories of up to 1000 words, in all genres, for the reader to enjoy.

This substantial book is for lovers of flash fiction and short stories. All genres are included – thrillers, romance, comedy, horror, fantasy, crime and more. If your taste is for fiction that leans more to the commercial side, with fast-driven plots and action all the way you won’t be disappointed. At the same time many of our stories are literary in style. They deal with the inner conflicts, fears and dramas that take place within the human being.

To take three examples, Flash Fire by R.A. Savary takes a no-holds barred look at the actions of two strangers, a man and a woman caught up unexpectedly in a restaurant nightmare. The Last Love by Varun Malhotra describes a day in the life of an Indian prostitute, and how her love for a client is doomed to fail. The darkly humorous Keeping the Magic Alive by Cath Barton takes us on an outing with a long-married couple. This wry tale looks at how expectations can lessen as years progress.

Flash Fiction World – Volume 2 is packed with stories about all the facets and dramas of life. Whatever your preference you will find plenty of reading material (over 30,000 words) in these pages to keep you happy and leave you fulfilled. I guarantee that you will enjoy a fiction feast and will be seeking more stories by many of the writers that you discover in these pages.

R.A.Savary, Varun Malhotra, Benjamin Davis, Sally Jenkins, JB Lacaden, Ines Franco Fatzinger, Melanie Taylor Herrera, Thomas Pitre, Matthew J. Metzger, Rob Harris, Mark Allerton, J.M. Cogdell, Doug Donnan, A Goddard, Cath Barton, Keith Davison, Ellie Stewart, Helen Lavall, M Hazzan, Wayne Scheer, Ines Bouhannani, Alex Robinson, Peter Lingard, Elliott Capon, Ciro DiLorenzo, Christian L. Berger, Michael A. Kechula, Natalie Bowers, Billie Louise Jones, John Mulligan, Joseph Kaval, Faith, Bill Rayburn, Kirsty May Grant, Merrick W. Allen, Emily Parry, Taryn, Brian Toller, Richard Hartwell, Unisse Chua, Tanya Keefe, Angela R Sargenti, Michelle Ann King, Alan Balkema, Theresa, Patricia Crandall, Shanon Creeley, Cathy Bryant, Olivia Sadie, Duke Alexander, Duncan Jones, Paula Kennedy, Candy Chilton, Sarah E. Alderman, Kerri Dominique, Chaitali Gawade, Danielle Parker, Sheila Armstrong, Stephen Terry, Christina Murphy.