What You Learn From Writing Flash Fiction

November 29, 2015 by 1 Comment

What You Learn From Writing Flash Fiction

Image from A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain (British Library)

We’ve talked about Flash Fiction before on this site but as it is becoming more and more popular we thought we should look at it again. This time we are going to be looking at what you learn from writing flash fiction. At this point we should say that Flash Fiction goes by many different names as TubeFlash points out:

short fiction, concise fiction, micro fiction, micro narrative, postcard fiction, short short, sudden fiction, cut-off fiction and in China it is known as ‘smoke long’.

The important thing to remember is that flash fiction is a story that is very short, normally less than 500, most of the time even shorter.

The first two lessons

On his blog A Writer’s Journey, writer Nat Russo says that the two things you learn from writing flash fiction is

  1. Economy of Words
  2. How to Begin in Medias Res

For those who don’t know Medias Res is a Latin which translates to “in the middle of things“. When it comes to writing it means taking in the middle of the story. Nat says that both lessons has improved his novel writing by saying:

By way of anecdotal evidence, I cut Necromancer Awakening (my bestselling dark fantasy) from 180k words down to 120k words, improving the story dramatically in the process. It would have been much harder if I didn’t have experience with flash fiction!

Head over to Nat‘s article The Importance of Flash Fiction to read more details behind each point.

The Next Three Lessons

In the resources section of their website, TubeFlash have some Flash Fiction writing tips. However, we are only going to look at three of them as they fit into today’s theme. Head over to TubeFlash’s resources page to read the flash fiction writing tips.

  • Work the Title – As you have such few words to work with in flash fiction your title is very important. Often key to explaining your story to the audience.
  • Break the rules – Again due to the lack of words, you don’t need to stick to the traditional short story rules. Take this chance to play with language, structure and style and see what happens
  • Leave them wanting more – you don’t need to wrap up your story neatly. It is ok to leave the reader wondering what happens next

What lessons have you learnt from writing Flash Fiction? Tell us in the comments below.

What @WLWriters have leart from writing flash fiction (Tweet this article)


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