Flash Fiction What is Flash Fiction? - Style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. - Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction, prosetry and short short story. - One type of flash fiction is the short story with an exact word count. (Ex: a story with 55 words) Elements in Flash Fiction Setting is where the action takes place. This can be told in a sentence: She watched him go to bed. Usually, there is not room for more than two characters--three at most. But realize "characters" don't always have to be human. In fact, they don't even have to be animate. Can you create a story about a pebble and a blade of grass trying to inhabit the same spot? Conflict is just a difference of opinion--tension to keep the reader reading. It can be verbal, physical or mental. It doesn't always have to be villain/hero. Elements of Flash Fiction Resolution is the conclusion of the conflict. "Small" works best in flash fiction; don't go for miraculous resolution, in which the protagonist is saved by some miracle not of his/her making. Most writers use surprise endings, partly because flash fiction lends itself to such, but mostly because it makes it more fun both to read and to write. But they are not necessary. Even with a twist, don't surprise your readers too much. Make them think, "Ah--of course!" Don't make them think, "Boy, am I stupid!" Flash Fiction Writing Tips Write as fast as you can. Write as fast as you can. Don't worry about grammar - yet. Fill about half a page, count the words, fix the grammar, then read it aloud to yourself. Does it have setting, implied or otherwise? Conflict? Resolution? Does it affect a change? Edit yourself-ruthlessly. Write your story, then go back and erase all phrases, clauses and coordinating conjunctions that are not absolutely vital to the story. Delete any unnecessary adjectives. You'll be left with tight, active sentences. Flash Fiction Writing Tips Let dialogue do it. Write an all-dialogue story using as few tags as possible. Let the dialogue describe the characters and create conflict. Stories to avoid. Although the form is new, there are some clichés already. Don't write about a writer writing and don't rely on "it was just a dream" pieces. These are overused and abused in many types of fiction, especially in flash fiction. And when your story is over, just stop. Like this. Famous Flash Fiction Pieces “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” - Ernest Hemingway “The Dinosaur” by Augusto Monterroso “When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.” Margaret Atwood “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” Richard Powers “Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.” “The Scarlatti Tilt” - Richard Brautigan "It's very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who's learning to play the violin." That's what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
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