Flash Fiction goes by many names including micro fiction, short shorts, nanofiction. At my very first lesson on a short story course, I learned that a 'drabble' is a story in just 100 words and one of the most famous examples of flash fiction is a mere six words, attributed to Ernest Hemingway. 'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.' The reader is left with so many images and interpretations that are left unsaid. Flash Fiction appears to have gained in popularity over the last few years and there are plenty of opportunities to submit your stories. In fact, there is now a National Flash Fiction Day, held this year on June 27th. So what are the main characteristics of a Flash Fiction?
- Brevity. It doesn't matter what the specific word count is, Flash Fiction condenses the story into the fewest number of words possible. You have to ask yourself if every word is essential to the story. This 'paring to the bone' is an excellent discipline for me as I tend to be very wordy when I start writing a story.
- A beginning, middle and an end. In spite of its concise form, the story structure and plot need to show a complete story.
- A twist or surprise at the end. Not all stories have to have one but it makes the reader think, long after reading. Other people say that the last line of a flash fiction can take the readers elsewhere, to a place where they can ponder about the ideas in the story, making re-reads inviting.
This week I was very pleased to hear that two of my flash fiction entries into the Worcestershire LitFest Flash Fiction competition in June had been selected for the anthology 'A Stash of Flashes' to be launched in November.
Do you like to write Flash Fiction? If so, how do you go about writing it? Do you start with a longer piece and chip away until all the superfluous words have gone or start writing with the tight word count in mind?
Thank you for reading and please leave your comments about Flash Fiction. :-)
Now I'm going back to that first draft of a much, much longer piece of fiction, my WiP novel - 75,441 words and rising!
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