Monday, December 27, 2010

Flash fiction

What is flash fiction?
In today’s  fast moving world flash fiction has found a wonderful home on the Internet in many wonderful formats that readers can assess quickly  be it on their coffee break or waiting for a train this wonderful form of writing is gaining a growing fan base, both offline and online.
 Differing to a short story that can range on average from 2000 words to an average max of 10,000, Flash fiction can be as short as 300 words with a max of a 1000 words, but It has all the same element of a short story just in a much smaller format.

Writing Flash Fiction

1. Strong opening
When writing flash fiction, you don’t have the word space to go into great description of your characters or setting, so you will need to start your flash fiction with a strong opening that will immediately get your readers attention, every line that you write must count towards propelling the story forward in some way.
Start in the middle or end of scene, where the action is at its most tense, this can aid in gaining your readers attention much more quickly and engaging their imagination as they fill in any blanks that you may leave.

Example … Trembling, she dropped the gun…
In this line there are only five words but it has established a few things straight away about the story. Firstly we have emotion, then we discover it’s a female and she was holding a gun… straight away there is a certain degree of tension with very few words.

2. Keep your writing tight,
This simply means stay on track, stay in the setting you have created and keep your focus on the story as you reveal it to the reader,  less is more as your reader will get pulled into a fast moving plot that is revealing itself as goes along.
The reader doesn’t need to know the age of the girl who dropped the gun, or even what she looks like, they are more interested in why she had a gun in the first place and if the danger is over yet…

3. Craft twist
 By not revealing everything to your reader straight away you the author are in a much better position to throw in a twist into your flash fiction, that the reader may not have been expecting, It is not expected of all flash fiction, but I have personally found that my readers come back for more if I have surprised them with the unexpected.

Flash fiction writing prompts
Some ideas to get you going...

Write a short story of no more than a 750 words using one of the opening lines below

Write a short story of no more than 500 word based on the
above picture prompt

There was a monster under the bed…
The screaming wouldn’t stop…
The car burst into flames…

Write a short story of no more than 750 words on one of the follow themes
The magic was gone
Caught in the act

 Some flash fiction contests
Fishpublishing flash fiction contest
With a cash prize and a chance to be published in their anthology this is well worth the look

newspages flash fiction contests
this page holds a lot of information when you click on the months at the top of the page, a great way to plan out your writing schedule for the coming year

women on writing flash fiction contests
This is a quarterly writing competition that is run every three months, so well worth checking out

Examples of flash fiction
Flash fiction Dark...

Red velvet shoes...Short story under a thousand words


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