It’s The Flash – Fiction Baby!

Flash what? Well besides the fact that I’m a superhero fan, we’re talking flash fiction.

Reading flash fiction is like a sport, call me Barry Allen, (Flash’s secret identity) from the comic books because if I can be moved or entertained by ideas, stories, and philosophies in a single sitting in 15 minutes or less – golden!

Flash fiction if you’re asking yourself what it’s all about, is a work of fiction of extreme brevity, that continues to offer character and plot same as other fiction.

Flash fiction serves two purposes for me when writing, it allows me immediate gratification for finishing a quick story and facilitates my creative process and skill set. The definition of flash fiction can vary in word count to under 300-1000 words. Once I get over 1000 words, we are in the category of short story land and moving onward toward new and exciting places such as novellas and novel country.

I like to get to the action and the point quickly so flash fiction is, in essence, my spirit animal.

You may be asking yourself, how do you write flash fiction?

Here are a couple of tips that I use:

  • Either start in the middle with the end or point of the story in mind.
    -You don’t have time in this medium to form set scenes and build many characters, you’ve got to get to it. Have an idea and get to it.
  • Make sure the ending isn’t at the end.
    -In flash fiction don’t have the story lean toward a punchline or reveal type. Avoid this by giving all the information we need in the first few lines. Then use the next few paragraphs to take us on the journey below the surface.
  • Write it all out edit later.
    -Just like a lump of clay sculpt out your story. It’s always easier to edit out then add in, in my humble opinion. Think Hemingway, choose your words for the most significant impact. Less is more.
  • Work your title.
    -They say don’t judge a book by its cover; however, the title is key to knowing what the story is about. Don’t be vague or generic.

As an author, another way I use flash fiction is to tease out further story development ideas. For example, I wrote a short about a warrior set on blood revenge regarding a dragon that disseminated his village and family. The next thing I know, it’s being twisted and worked into a fun brainstorming exercise of what this story could be. By the time I completed it, I had decided I will flush it out into a fuller account.

I have many short stories and flash fiction like this. It helps me dive into an idea to see the possibilities of what it can expand into. It doesn’t quite have full character development where I know the ins and outs of everything, and where the story will go, but it allows me the opportunity to outline and play with it later.

‘The Flash Fiction’ is all about speed when writing and reading it, it’s about the depth of content in a quick nature. Doesn’t mean you have to write it fast, but it shouldn’t take you more than a day or two, then edit per your process. It’s not an exercise in belabored efforts from my point of view.  Go speed racer.

In the spirit of the topic and since we’re near Halloween, I’ve attached a story where I was playing with the horror/suspense theme. It’s not a genre I typically write in, so this allowed me to experiment. I really enjoyed this as a flash fiction piece and even won a blog award for it a few years ago. No gimmicks or anything like that, if you’d like to check it out click HERE and get in the format you prefer for your eReader and reading pleasure – FREE.

No tricks only treat’s. Enjoy!