How to Write Flash Fiction Successfully
Flash fiction is sometimes referred to as micro fiction. There is no defined length for the genre, but it is generally accepted that flash fiction is not longer than 1,000 words. However, most flash fiction is much shorter than that. Many examples come in at under 100 words.
Writing flash fiction is a great exercise for writers of all types. It forces you to be deliberate in your choices, which is a skill that can make any of you writing better. Here are a few tips for how you can write flash fiction successfully so that you can strengthen your writing skills:
Boil Your Story Down to Its Essence
Flash fiction does not have room for character development and complex plots. You need to boil your story idea down to its core. Instead of writing about the decades-long evolution of a mother-daughter relationship, you can write about a pivotal event between them. Instead of writing about a war, you can write about a single soldier enlisting or doing something valiant on the battlefield. The key is to keep the plot as simple as possible. You can focus on a moment or a single scene to achieve this.
Don't Forget Story Structure
Though it's short, flash fiction should still be a complete story. There should be a beginning, middle and end. There should be a protagonist, conflict and a resolution. In other words, something should happen beyond just a conversation. The action should cause something to change from the beginning to the end. You should keep it simple, but you shouldn't sacrifice story structure to achieve it.
Tell, Don't Show
The basic rule of fiction is that you should "show, not tell." Your action and your characters should reveal the plot and the themes and the motivations for the characters. However, you don't have the word count to achieve this in flash fiction. Instead, you need to tell things. Instead of describing a woman so that the readers sees her beauty, you must simply say "She was beautiful." Make your choices wisely. There is room for some description, but you will end up doing a great deal more telling in flash fiction.
Instead of spending a lot of time describing the actions of the characters, you can move the story forward through their dialogue. By focusing on what your characters say, you can save a great deal of exposition for describing the setting and the action. Readers can quickly understand what is happening without you having to tell them. You'll also be able to establish characterization without any description.
Make Every Word Count
Some writers can't get through a single scene in less than 1,000 words, let alone the whole story. When you are operating with such a limited word count, you have to make your choices very carefully. Every word counts. You must be precise and choose the exact right word every time. Cut out all unnecessary words and unnecessary exposition.
Flash fiction is a very niche market. However, learning how to write it and write it well can help you learn to be a better writer. Use these tips to help you learn how to write flash fiction successfully and transfer those skills to your other writing.
Do you write flash fiction? Share your thoughts on what it takes to write it successfully in the comments!
Amber Satka primarily writes on financial topics, many of which can be found on her app site at http://www.carloancalculator.org/. She is a former office manager and current mother and writer. Her leisure activities include bike riding and spending way too much time on Pinterest.