Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Flash fiction is making waves in the writing community as writers are discovering the great big pleasure of going small. Publishers are jumping on the excitement wagon, too. Contests, anthologies, and flash fiction classes are popping up all over the place.
Even GCLS is on the small ball – Writing Academy Manager Finn Burnett will be teaching a class called Big Things, Small Packages all about how to harness the power of story in few words.
If you want to try your hand at writing flash fiction, here are a few tips:
In Media Res—in other words, start in the middle of the action.
Skip the formalities. Don’t waste words on describing your character’s looks. Let the reader use their imagination.
Stick to one or two characters.
Cut filler words.
That was the day Harold and I saw his dead mother walking down Oak Street. She was wearing the purple dress she was buried in.
Harold and I saw his dead mother on Oak Street. She wore a purple dress, the one she’d been buried in.
Nail the ending. It’s okay to leave the reader guessing a little. You don’t have to wrap up the ending in a nice, tight little package, but you want your reader to have a reaction to your last line.
Read a lot of flash. Parse out every line. Determine how they develop the characters in so few words. Pay attention to their imagery and language. Analyze the ending. What appeals to you? What put you off?
If you’re interested in finding some free flash to read online, check out these links:
Note. All of the above links have a plethora of great shorties to read on your break. They are also running contests and/or accepting submissions. Please read all submission guidelines carefully if you intend to submit.
And, if you’re in the mood to write an excellent 300-word queer speculative flash fiction piece, check out this awesome contest.
Flash Contest Rules
Let us know if you decide to submit something or if you stumble on a page of flash that you absolutely love!
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