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…


21st June 2014

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

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Are you ready to reach for the stars?

Well, maybe the stars are a bit high, but how about a place to stretch your talents? Sometimes it’s good to take a leap and jump off in the deep end. Yes, I know putting your writing out for someone to judge is scary. Make that downright terrifying. Pee your pants, bite your nails, sick to your stomach terrifying. But the rewards are so worth the effort.

No, you won’t win every time. In fact the odds are not in your favor. However, so often the judges are kind enough to send a brief critique with their rejection. That is a win too. Just remember that even for the non-cash prize, ezine publications, there are thousands of writers entering each contest. I’m not saying that to discourage you, but to put things in perspective.

Not all of the contests pay cash prizes or any prize at all, but that shouldn’t stop you from entering, nor should the fact your entry is but one of many. The experience helps us grow as writers.

So, if you’re interested, here are a few contests to get you started. Remember, read and follow the rules. Check and recheck for typos. I know that sounds elementary, but everyone makes mistakes. Believe me, I know.

American Short Story Fiction

Hint Fiction

Flash Fiction Chronicles

Raymond Carver Short Story Contest at Carve Magazine 

New Pages (a source for submissions)

Nano Fiction

Press 53

Glimmer Train

 WOW Women on Writing (love this contest, get great feedback from judges)

 Maybe, you’re looking for a market place to sell your work check out Brainstorms & Bylines 

Or WOW Women on Writing job board. 

 Also Check out Story Dam or Julia’s Place for writing prompts to get your juices flowing.

If you have a favorite contest or website, let us know.

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