3 Reasons All Writers Should Write Flash Fiction

by The Magic Violinist | 59 comments

Whether you're a blogger, poet, novelist, or cookbook author, there are certain things all writers are expected to do. Some of them are obvious: all writers should read; otherwise, how will we know what to create? Likewise, all writers need to establish a habit of writing daily in order to pursue their passion.

But writing flash fiction? If you don't write shorter stories, why should you write flash fiction?

Here's why.

3 Reasons All Writers Should Write Flash Fiction

What Is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is defined by most of the writing world as a piece of short fiction under 1,000 words. Of course, exact word counts may vary from writer to writer, but this is a good general guideline to get you started.

Does telling an entire story in fewer than 1,000 words sound challenging? Here are three reasons why the challenge is worth it:

1. Flash Fiction Teaches You to Be Concise

I've tried many times to write a story in 750 or 1,000 words and almost given up because it was so hard. Creating a well-defined plot or cast of characters with an intriguing beginning and satisfying end seemed nearly impossible.

But it's not. Like any art form, writing flash fiction requires practice. Even if you're not a flash fiction writer at heart, writing it helps you get into the habit of being brief in the best way possible.

Tips for Writing a Good Story Concisely

When you're learning how to do this, there are a couple tips you should remember to make your experience easier. (I wish someone had told me this when I was first starting to write flash fiction!)

1. Start at the climax. With less than 1,000 words, you don't have time for an elaborate set up or lead in to the climax of your story. Give as little time as possible to all of that. A few sentences should do. You want the main point of your story to shine.

2. Limit your characters. Characters are so complex, no matter how long your story is. Having to deal with these characters in such a short time? That's even harder. Stick with your protagonist, antagonist (if you have a physical antagonist), and maybe one supporting character. Any more than three that deserve your attention will be very challenging.

2. Flash Fiction Can Be Written in a Day

One of the best things about flash fiction is that it's quick to write. It can easily be done in a day, even for the slowest of writers.

Because it's so short, writing flash fiction can be an awesome motivator. I'm most productive when I set reasonable goals for myself and accomplish one at a time, each one propelling me toward the next. Whenever I finish a task, check a box, or type “the end,” that sense of “I did it. I finished!” fuels me. Knocking out a first draft of a story in a couple hours is such a satisfying feeling.

In addition, regularly writing flash fiction can help you maintain your daily writing habit. It also feeds your creative soul when the business of life gets in the way.

3. Flash Fiction Is Very “Submittable”

What can you do with all of these stories once you've finished writing them? After some editing, you'll find that there are tons of ways to share your work. Google some writing contests, or find magazines willing to publish them.

Even if you choose not to share your stories immediately, having a collection of your best work handy is never a bad thing.

Now It's Your Turn

Still not sure about this whole flash fiction thing? Go ahead, try it. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy telling a full story with just a handful of sentences. And if you find you can't stand it—hey, at least it's short!

What are some other ways writing flash fiction can be good practice? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Take fifteen minutes to plan out a flash fiction story. It can be any genre you want, about anything that excites you, but you have to be able to execute it in a thousand words or less. Not sure where to start? Write a story about a man who gets a phone call he's been dreading.

When you finish planning, if you still have time on your clock, try writing your story.

Was this experience more challenging than you expected? Even more fun than you thought? Share your experience and your story in the comments below. Don't forget to give your fellow writers some love, too!

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The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at themagicviolinist.blogspot.com. You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).

59 Comments

  1. jason

    It’ simple blow my mind, again. But hey, I am joining the rock bottom short story contest! It is awesome so far! I going to write it by today!

    Reply
  2. Lee

    This is really good advice. I started a WordPress blog where I publish (sounds funny writing that) my attempts of flash fiction. It seems to be what I enjoy the most.
    Anyone is welcome to pop over and have a read, if you like then please feel free to leave me a comment.

    http://www.shortinsight.wordpress.com
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Mr. Kawii

      Nice. I’ll take a look. I also have a short stories blog and have been looking for people to build a blogosphere.

    • Lee

      Thanks so much. What’s the link to your blog?

  3. Sole

    The widow:

    In the cemetery, Maryann noted that Richard Alvin’s glance was hooked on her. She sighed intentionally, making her cleavage stand out. She knew this would steal a few heartbeats from the man. Maryann didn’t allow herself to smile. Not in her husband’s funeral. At the end of the ceremony, the widow accepted everyone’s condolences with a soulful expression, thanking every sign of affection, whether it was fair or fake. Her mourning dress was sober, not too long to hide her legs and not too short to trigger gossip.

    Richard Alvin Benjamin had been too busy amassing a fortune to find a wife. But there she was now: the perfect acquisition. He could already picture Maryann welcoming his guests or descending from his Rolls-Royce. He could hardly wait to see craving in every other man’s eyes. Of course he would respect Maryann’s grieve as the gentleman he was. He approached his pray and stretch himself a bit to look at her in the eyes. Maryann rewarded Richard with an intense look of her green eyes. The disarmed man, wrapped up in honeysuckle scent, gawked at her. The millionaire hid his turmoil bowing down to deposit a kiss in her hand, sealing his fate.

    Once in her inherited mansion, she ordered her favorite cocktail. Alone, she leaned back in her chaise-longue, holding a jewelry box. There, the widow recorded the origins of her growing fortune. She took her wedding ring off of her finger, smiling. Maryann placed it inside the box, beside the other two wedding rings. A little dropper, whose content had set her free once again, was hidden in the same case.

    She relaxed thinking of Richard and smiled gazing at the red colour of her cocktail. The perfect reward: a Bloody Mary.

    (This is the first time I publish in this blog. I love short, even very short, fiction for the reasons given in the article. This is the last I wrote for a writing course. I hope you enjoy it and excuse me for my not-so-proficient English).

    Reply
    • Mr. Kawii

      You hooked me at the cleavage. Man, that was good. It’s hard someone to know how to catch immediately attention in writing, but I think you managed it pretty well. You
      sincerely should write more pieces likes this.

    • Sole

      Thank you so much for your compliments Mr. Kawaii. I’m just learning how to write, and your words are really encouraging. I’ll pay a visit to your blog in return for your kindness. 🙂

    • Bella Jean

      It’s amazing how you were able to keep me hanging onto every word. This is a very intricate plot planted within only a few words. I loved this!

    • Sole

      Thanks Bella. You are really kind! The first time I wrote this story was for a twitter micro narrative contest, and the full story had to be told in 140 characters. I think this is about being confident about how much the reader can guess using the right words as clues. “Back from the graveyard, the widow stored her wedding ring beside the others and the little dropper. She rewarded herself with a Bloody Mary.”

    • Malini Misra

      Wow! Sole, this is great. Though it is a ‘done several times’ tale, the way you have written it is really good. Lot of show, little tell, nice. It was gripping and well written.

    • Sole

      Thank you very much, Malini, for your words. 🙂 I know the plot is not very original, but for me it is very motivating to read that you think it’s well written.

    • LISA RAINEY

      this is great! without explaining you managed to reveal a lot and it was confirmed at the end with her and her wedding rings. brilliant!

    • Sole

      Thanks Lisa. You are very kind too. This is very encouraging for someone that is starting to write.

    • scott miner

      Great story! One “thingie”: it’s prey ( as in something to stalk/kill) pray is what people do in church. Well done tale.

    • Sole

      Thanks Scott! I noticed it, but I couldn’t edit the text after sending. I’m Spanish and although I try hard, getting all the spelling right and not making many grammar mistakes in English it’s hard for me. I appreciate any help also in this strand, so thank you very much 🙂

    • Raheemah

      Well done, Sole. I was hooked from the beginning. It is a beautifully written piece.

  4. Sondra

    This is going to be really good practice for a new writer like myself.
    I love this site. Endless creative ideas for daily work.
    Thanks Joe

    Reply
    • LilianGardner

      I agree with you, Sondra. I love this site too.

  5. Mr. Kawii

    Flash fiction is dangerous. It is addictive in high degrees. When you first enter the
    frontline of blitzkrieg guerrilla fiction warfare you can’t just get away. You
    will fight without end. Because have the job done is a powerful psychoactive.
    If you like some weird flash fiction, please take a visit at my recently made blog:
    http://wp.me/p7ro4U-25 Thanks.

    Reply
    • Lee

      Sorry, forget the recent message. I’ll check out the blog.

    • Joy Pixley

      I am having the same experience with it being addictive. Must read more! Must write more! Problem is that if I’m not careful I end up writing and posting flash fiction on my blog instead of working on my novel…

    • Laura Ryding-Becker

      Mr. Kawii, your link led to a “Page not Found” error for me. Tried typing “Mr. Kawii” into the search box, and it found nothing. But I just love the way you describe flash fiction!

  6. dougspak

    Love this topic. I have written a lot of flash fiction using Storymatic cards to come up with a topic. If you aren’t familiar with Storymatic, you can buy a box of cards on Amazon for less than $20. I haven’t confirmed their math, but the box says there are a trillion story ideas given the many different combinations of cards you can pull. There might be other way to get prompts, but Storymatic has always worked well for me.

    Reply
    • Mr. Kawii

      Storymatic. It’s seems nice. Like a automatic story prompt generator. I create one my own. It works through sorting lists. I have lists for genres, places, creatures, and prompts. I sort and create a story with the result. I generally enjoy the result.

    • Leslie Sanker

      Have you heard of yWriter? Its great and FREE. ..but I donate because its that great! !!

  7. Alex Fairway

    This is great advice, but what if all you can write is flash fiction? i am a fiction writer and I have so many ideas, a good many of them so rich they require longer stories. Except, well, I can’t get myself to complete anything longer than a 6k short story. It’s obviously a focus problem, but anyone have any suggestions how to overcome it?

    Reply
    • Sole

      I wonder if some mindfulness training could help you with your issue. Something like “forcing” yourself to focus for growing periods of time followed (or preceded) by periods of jotting down all the ideas that cross your mind. You could start with 15′ of focusing and 15′ of free writing and then go to 20-20 and so on. And when your mind flies away in the “focusing” period, just remind yourself that shortly you can go over different ideas.

  8. Warjna Waleska Kaztjmjr

    Okay, it’s a bit over 1000 words, but here goes:

    Once upon a time there was a very unhappy young woman. She was so very unhappy that she left her home and her family, and set off across America. She took on odd jobs as she went; waitressing in greasy diners and dirty bars, stayin’ wherever she could find a bed. And she did what she had to do to survive.

    One night she was sittin’ in a little bar in some podunk town in the middle of America, nursin’ a beer, when the door opened and in walked this long drink of water in jeans and boots and leathers. Had on a black t-shirt that fit him just fine, and a long skinny rat-tail of a braid hangin’ all the way down to his ass. When she raised her head and looked up, there he stood in the doorway, lookin’ right back at her. Lookin’ right in her eyes. And he just kinda smiled.

    Now he could’ve sat anywhere in that bar, but he come over and sat on the stool right next to her, back up against the rail and his elbows on the bar. He looked over at her and smiled, looked down at the bottle in her hand and said,
    “Whatcha drinkin’?”

    She looked over at him, looked at her beer, looked back, and said, “Whiskey.”

    Well, he smiled, kinda lazy like, and then he leaned his head back over the bar and said, “Bartender –let’s have some whiskey f’me an’ the lady.” Bartender came over, set up two shots and poured, and wandered off. The biker sat up a little, reached over and took that beer right out of her hand, and drank down just exactly half. Then he put it back in her hand, picked up the shot and knocked it back, and waited.

    She looked him up and down, and kinda nodded, picked up the beer, and drank the
    rest. Then she took the other shot, tossed it back, and set the glass back down on the bar. And he just kinda smiled.

    Door opened again, and in come two more men in braids and jeans and boots and
    leather. First one looked over and said, “Hey, Matt!”

    Matt tipped his head and said, “Hey, Tommy. Hey, Billy Lee.”

    Other one grinned and said, “Hey, Matt! Who you got there?”

    Matt said, “This my new girl, Whiskey.”

    They both nodded their heads and said, “Hey, Whiskey,” and she looked back and said, “Hey, Tommy. Hey, Billy Lee.”

    And she rode with them nigh on ten years, and they always treated her like a friend, and they never treated her other than like a lady.

    Till one night they were sittin’ in a little bar in some podunk town in the middle of America. Matt and Tommy were playin’ pool, and Tommy’s girl Carly was watchin’, leanin’ against the wall sippin’ a beer. Billy Lee and his girl Francie were sittin’ at a table, and Whiskey was waitin’ at the bar for their drinks.

    Down the other end of the bar was a skinny little man, looked like a salesman, wearin’ a shiny suit. He’s sittin’ there all hunched together like he was afraid all them big, bad bikers were gonna jump him, watchin’ ‘em in the mirror behind the bar.

    Whiskey was sittin’ there at the bar when the door opened and in walked this dude. Big dude. Hair might’ve been blond, but it was cut shorter’n peach fuzz. Whiskey turned a little, lookin’ at him, all muscle and mean, and knew she was lookin’ at trouble.

    There he stood in the doorway, lookin’ round the bar. He saw Matt and Tommy, saw Carly, and Francie, and Billy Lee, and then he looked right at that skinny little man in the shiny suit. Now he could’ve sat anywhere in that bar, but he come over and sat on the stool right next to that skinny little man, so close that he knocked into him, spilled his beer all over the bar. That skinny little man jumped up off his stool, startin’ to holler, got a look at the dude and started to apologize.

    Big dude got off his stool, reached out, and grabbed that little man by the collar of his shirt, lifted him right off his feet and pinned him against the wall.

    Matt put down his pool cue with a snap, and stood up straight. “Hey, man,” he said, friendly like, “It’s all good. How ’bout you let me buy you a beer?”

    Big dude never moved a muscle holdin’ the skinny guy, just turned his head real, real slow to look at Matt. “Fuck you,” he said, clear and hard and cold.

    Matt started walkin’ forward, slow and easy like, and Tommy followed after, bein’ cool. “Yeah, man,” Matt said, “but hey, he didn’t mean nothin’ by it. C’mon, I’ll buy you two beers.”

    The big dude just stared at him for a minute, and then he turned his head back around, lookin’ at the skinny guy. He set him down gentle, let go his collar, and smoothed it down like to get the wrinkles out, and patted him on the chest like he was apologizing. It was all real slow, everybody movin’ real slow and gentle, no hurry.

    And then everything got real fast.

    That big dude, he moved fast, real fast, reachin’ for Matt and Tommy, and wood was breakin’ and Carly screaming. Billy Lee shoved his chair back so hard it fell over, and Francie ran for the wall. Bartender slid down the bar, grabbin’ for the phone and somethin’ underneath, and the skinny guy was out the door like he’d never been there.

    Next thing Whiskey remembered she was sittin’ on the floor with Matt’s head in her lap, and the big dude lyin’ next to him, dead. She was strokin’ Matt’s hair, tryin’ to keep the blood out of his eyes. He looked up at her and kinda smiled, and he said, “I love you, Whiskey.”

    She said, “I love you, Matt,” but he was already gone.

    Whiskey never did remember what happened that night. All she remembered was it all
    happened so fast.

    But in my dreams… in my dreams, I feel that pool cue in my hands. I see that big dude standin’ there, and I wake up when I feel the shock run up my arms when I broke his skull.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Shelby

      well done. Love your style.

  9. Yiro Abari High

    Here’s my first flash fiction, an entry to a contest for a flash fiction of less than 100 words.

    The Richest Man in Katonong

    The door opens. Angel walks in, makes self rather uneasy on a sofa.

    “Care for a drink?” Bayo asks.

    “No.”

    “You seem very worried.”

    “Somehow. How many matches have you played since moving to
    Mann City?”

    “Two out of twenty five.”

    “I’m really sorry. I should’ve left you in Belgium.”

    “No, it’s OK with me. Moving from Belgium to the Barclays
    made me the richest man in Katonong. Six years back I was among the poorest in
    that city, unsure of what tomorrow held.”

    The Angel exhales in relief.

    Reply
    • LilianGardner

      A good piece, Yiro, thanks for sharing.
      I enjoy reading and writing flash fiction.
      The scene in your flash fiction post gives me a clear picture of the two characters, through dialogue. Is Angel a person or an ‘angel’?
      Happy writing!

    • Yiro Abari High

      Angel is a human agent, a middleman between footballers and clubs.Thanks.

    • LilianGardner

      Thanks for letting me know.

  10. jim calocci

    a man get’s a phone call he’s been dreading
    “ENDLESS UNWANTED MAGAZINES calling , are you ready
    you bought more magazines that a human can possibly read
    we really need to have your payment ,like immediately
    I can’t possibly read all this stuff
    if I cancel the order will that be enough
    ” ENDLESS UNWANTED MAGAZINES ” call is prerecorded
    make your payment promptly, hey you’re the one who placed the order
    thanks for the opportunity,
    jaycalocci@gmail.com

    Reply
  11. Valerie J Runyan

    I have been writing “Flash Non-Fiction” all my life, all of my pieces have always been way shorter than 1,000 words. I am planning to publish a collection of them this year.

    Reply
  12. Daphine Priscilla Jack

    It is about 7:30 a.m. in the morning, and 40 year old Heath decided to stay home from work. He called in and told his boss that he was taking a vacation day. His boss responded “No problem enjoy your day off”. Heath went back to sleep and slept until about 10:30 a.m.

    He finally got up, took a shower brush his teeth and proceeded to the kitchen to cook breakfast.

    Prior to today Heath had been dating this woman, name Lori she is a top executive for this major company they met at the grocery store on the aisle buying soup. They exchanged numbers started dating and all was good. Until one day Lori had something to tell Heath.

    Lori ask Heath to meet her for lunch. They met for lunch and Lori told Heath that she was told by her doctor that she would never be able to have children because of a medical condition. Heath told Lori that it didn’t matter because he didn’t care for children anyway and that this relationship was meant to be because of Lori being bearing.

    Heath and Lori relationship grow even closer. They did continue to live in their own place. They decided that this would be best for their relationship.

    They were happy and Heath decided to ask Lori to marry him. He wanted to surprise Lori with a beautiful five carat solitaire diamond ring. So he planned it so well he made reservation at their favorite restaurant and ask Lori to meet him there.

    Heath arrived at the restaurant early to set the tone for the big surprise everything was perfect. Lori arrived on time and found Heath sitting at the table for two.

    As they were reading the menu and making decision what they wanted to eat, Heath said to Lori, “Lori I have something I need to ask you”, Lori stop reading the menu and looked at Heath. Heath started to cry and Lori said “Heath what is wrong?” Heath would not stop crying. Lori because worry demanded Heath to tell why he was crying. The customer around started looking at Heath while he was crying. Lori again demanded him to tell her what was wrong. While crying Heath shouted at the top of his lung Lori, Lori, oh Lori please will you maarrrry me? The whole restaurant got so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Lori looked at Heath like he was crazy, then she stared at him for a few second and started to cry and finally replied HELL NO! Heath stop crying and said to Lori what, what do you mean? Lori said Heath “I’m just kidding, and yes I will marry you”. Heath place the beautiful shining five carat solitaire diamond on Lori’s ring finger and they kissed and hugged each other. The restaurant start cheering and congratulating Lori and Heath. They went on to enjoy the rest of the evening.

    Lori called and told Heath that she had not gotten her monthly cycle and thought that this was very strange. Heath stated, well I sure you are fine because the doctor said that you were not able to have children. Lori said yes that is true. Lori told Heath I will call you back I have a doctor’s appointment at 9 o’clock today. Heath went about the day waiting for Lori to call him back. Lori never call back that day. Heath dreaded calling Lori because he did want to hear but he had this gut feeling that everything was alright with Lori. He started thinking to himself “I do not like children, I just don’t like children.”

    The next morning Heath phone rang, and he dreaded answering the phone. Yes it was Lori. Heath broke out in a cold sweat after he heard Lori’s voice. She said hello Heath, Heath replied, Hello Lori. Then there was complete silence. Then Heath spoke first and ask Lori what the doctor said. Lori said Heath I am so sorry to tell you, but I am three months pregnant. Heath on the other end just fell to the floor. Lori said not only am I pregnant I am having sextuple. Heath just laid flat on his back and cried. He felt his life flashing before him and became numb. Lori said Heath, Heath, but he was just speechless. He finally spoke and same Lori I thought you could not have any children and now you are having six babies.

    Heath dreaded the phone call but things happen for a reason. Lori have six miracle growing on the inside of her. I didn’t like children now I will have six of my own and I will love them to death!

    Reply
    • Ruth Hochstetler

      A surprise ending with the sextuplets. 🙂 You’ve convey a resilience in the way this couple relates. I think they will go on to parenting a great family.

  13. LISA RAINEY

    here’s my contribution. more like middle of a story but here goes…

    As Mai, Terri and Mary continued through the tunnels, which
    were starting to dim, Terri suddenly stopped to rub her left eye.

    ‘Oh, it’ll be an eye lash or something’ thought Mary.

    Terri always exaggerated her movements at moments like
    these. Terri had theatrical tendencies
    in her behaviour, particularly when she had an idea or something forced her to
    react quickly. As Mary watched her vigorously
    yet delicately rub her eye, Terri turned to Mai so she could see if there was
    anything that might be irritating it.

    Mai calmly said something to Terri, turned to Mary and said
    ‘look at her eye. It’s been bleeding
    hasn’t it?’

    Noting the concern in Mai’s eyes, Mary kept her face
    expressionless as she indicated to Terri to face her. Knowing Terri as well as she did, it was
    vital that she remain calm and not voice or express any concern. ‘Was the concern audible in Mai’s voice?’ she
    wondered.

    While Terri turned and bent down towards Mary, all kinds of
    thoughts and images rushed through Mary’s mind in a blur. Death,
    illness, a curse, a spell, poison. ‘Someone wanted her dead? Who?’ Babies, children, crowds in the city all
    chanting, crowds in villages all cheering.
    ‘What did it mean? Is this a
    vision?’

    As Mary peered in
    Terri’s eye, she saw on the white of her eye was a long hair. ‘Ah, that’s the irritant’ thought Mary as she
    removed it. ‘Hang on, there’s another hole.’

    A pinpoint next to the tear duct except it’s on the actual
    eyeball – on the white. It resembles an ear
    piercing that has closed up and has a drop of what appears to be blood in place
    of the hole. Hoping that it is something
    that can be removed, Mary touched it carefully and moved her fingertip to the
    right before lifting from the eye to look at her fingertip. The blood had come away. She looked at the spot and saw it was still
    there except there was now pus coming out.

    It reminded Mary of a sty.
    They were almost unheard of nowadays, but Mary had had them when she was
    younger. A sty was a swollen spot
    usually on your bottom eyelid. It would
    be very itchy, hot and ooze with pus that needed cleaning warm water and salt
    twice a day.

    As the pus continued
    to squeeze through the spot, Mary had the images again – these were a bit
    clearer. She was reminded of Terri’s
    migraines. Was this related? If so, what does it mean? Mary needed to find out. For the moment, she proffered her pyramid
    thimble, collected the pus, closed the thimble lid and secured it in her
    belt. She would have to study ancient
    ailments for answers. As soon as the pus
    was collected Terri claimed that the itchiness has disappeared. Mary noted that her ‘spot’ now looked
    slightly swollen – it was a very strong resemblance to a sty. It had never been heard of – a sty on the
    whites of your eyes? Another thing added
    to her long list of questions and investigations. Will she be able to find the answers? Thankfully, Terri could still see clearly and
    so the trio continued through the now dark tunnel.

    Reply
    • Sole

      I agree with you that this seems more like a part (the beginning) of a longer story, a very intriguing one, I must say. Now I’m curious about what will become of that eye. ¿Are you working on it?

    • LISA RAINEY

      i am. actually i have outlined more scenes, just a matter of joining them up so it all makes sense. thanks!

    • Nathy Gaffney

      Made me squirm. Thankyou. 🙂

  14. rosie

    I sort of have the opposite problem. I can quite easily write flash fiction and make every word count, but I’m too ruthless. I can chop out words and sentences too easily. When it comes to plotting longer stories like novels, I struggle and have to find myself adding subplots and description: it’s not second nature for me to meander.
    I suppose writing (and sustaining) longer stories will come with time though.

    Reply
  15. LaCresha Lawson

    Wow! Just what I needed! I didn’t know that this is the term for short stories. I just wrote one. It is on Amazon.com. Just type in my name as it appears here and it should show up. Let me know what you think. I also have some children’s stories as well. Thanks.

    Reply
  16. Joy Pixley

    I resisted writing flash fiction when I first started my blog, because I was afraid it would take time away from my “real” writing. But now I’m hooked — and I totally agree with you, that it has helped my writing skills immensely. Mostly I write much shorter than you’re talking about, because I participate in flash fiction challenges with word count limits of 100 to 200 words. Here’s the link to the one I wrote today:

    https://talesofeneana.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/tilting-focus/

    Reply
    • Member of the Tribe

      Just read it. I really enjoyed the dialogue. I recently wrote my first flash fiction story and have to go back to use dialogue to show instead of tell. But your dialogue was very unique and set an interesting tone

    • Joy Pixley

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! It took me a while to figure out how to use dialogue in my flash fiction, but now I almost always do. It makes the stories seem longer for the same word count, I think. The word limit also helps me practice being direct and concise with my dialogue: every word matters!

  17. Lydia

    I participated in a few writing contests on wattpad a year ago. All submissions were based on prompts and had to be less than 300 words. The prompt was: A woman leaves her reading glasses on the kitchen counter and inadvertently causes a death, how? Here was my submission…(please note I put “in italics” before each sentence that is internal dialogue)

    A Maid’s Mistake–

    “Please come in.” James implored Mrs. Mann. The gray-haired woman examined her surroundings.

    “You have a lovely albeit messy home, sir.”She pushed her reading glasses onto the bridge of her wrinkled nose. “And messy is my specialty.”

    “Great, I’ll have one angry wife if this place isn’t completely spotless.”

    “Let’s commence with the kitchen and work from there. It’s the first noticeable room upon entering the home and houses more harmful bacteria than a bathroom.” They walked over while Mrs. Mann glanced at her clipboard and removed her glasses, setting both onto the kitchen counter. “As a first time client I’ll only charge you half price.”

    They began the immense task of operation clean-up. After two grueling hours the entire home sparkled. Mrs. Mann picked up her clipboard. James paid, thanked her and escorted her to the door.

    Thirty minutes later, Lori pulled into the driveway. She sat in her car with the divorce papers.

    (in italics)He doesn’t participate fairly in this marriage and takes me for granted. She firmly reasoned. (in italics) I work all day while he doesn’t even attempt to find employment or lift a finger to help around the house!

    Lori gripped the steering wheel and squeezed her eyes shut trapping budding tears of frustration.

    (in italics) No going back now, If I walk into a dirty house–if there is even one thing out of place, I’m turning around and taking these papers straight to my attorney. Ten years are enough!

    Sucking in a dollop of air, Lori opened the front door. She saw James fast asleep on the couch and a pair of glasses that stuck out like a sore thumb on the kitchen counter extinguishing her last flicker of hope. It wasn’t just the killing of hope. It was the death of her marriage.

    Reply
    • LilianGardner

      Lydia, this a well written flash fiction post. Thanks for sharing.
      The last paragraph ignites one’s curiosity and you sum it up cleverly by the last sentence.

    • Stella

      Hi Lydia, I liked your concept! Wasn’t what I expected when I read the prompt. (Though not sure of death of the MARRIAGE is cheating, haha.)

      One thing i found a bit jarring was the sudden shift to Lori’s perspective, just two sentences after she’s been introduced. The story begins in third-person limited – we don’t hear either James or Mrs Mann’s thoughts – then suddenly we hear a third, new character’s thoughts. Nice idea for the story though!

  18. Tinthia Clemant

    As flash as they get. What comes before the first draft? A spark of an idea. Enjoy.

    “Are you always on duty? Do you ever have a moment where you’re just a man having a
    conversation with a woman?” To Deena, David’s crystal-blue eyes cast their own
    light and she was in the spotlight. Telling him her suspicions would definitely
    raise questions about Sissy’s death and might have a domino effect on the
    estate, and her inheritance. Plus, did she really want everyone in town to know
    that Sissy committed suicide? She owed Sissy some dignity. “I have my
    suspicions, which I’ve already voiced to you. I don’t have a note, letter, writing
    scratched into the dirt out back or a smoke signal, just suspicions.”

    “Leave it at that, Deena. Let your mother rest in peace. Some bones are better left
    buried.”

    If only you knew, she thought, an image of the box on her back seat looming behind
    her eyes. What bones were rattling in those notebooks?

    Deena stretched her arms up and clasped her hands on the top of head. “There are too
    many bones on this property, what’s a few more,” she sighed. “Are you sure you
    don’t want any wine.” She already sensed his answer would be no but she didn’t
    want him to leave so she was grasping at straws. “Or perhaps some soup?”

    “I’m good.” He smiled.

    The ease of the movement of his lips held her captive—a yearning growing within her
    for that smile to be for her and her alone.

    David stood away from the counter and moved in her direction. His legs brought him
    within inches of hers in a matter of seconds. “What do you want from me, Deena?”
    His voice escaped from the depths of his chest.

    Deena searched for a response. How could she tell him what she wanted? Or needed,
    when she barely understood it herself. The emotions sprouting within her were
    as foreign to her as breathing underwater. Time passed. She remained transfixed
    by his eyes, her breaths coming in shallow puffs. He didn’t move or speak. When
    her words eventually broke through the dam, they poured in a rushing tidal wave
    of longing. “I want you to love me. Make love to me. Not sex. I’ve had enough
    of that. I want… no I need you to love me, just for tonight. I want you to use
    your heart and body. I need to be the center of your life. I need you to heal
    me, if only for one night.” She searched the frosted eyes and found a spark. “David,
    I need to know what it is to be loved. Completely loved. I’m prepared to let
    you into a place a foreboding and terrifying as a tomb.” She leaned forward and
    reached out. Placing her hands around his neck, she felt the pulsing of the
    muscles as they tensed at her touch. “I need you to vanquish the ghosts. Can
    you do that, David? Can you save me tonight?”

    The ice thawed. He brought his hand up to her cheek as he moved forward. Deena’s
    legs opened and he pressed forward against the counter. He traced the contours
    of her face. His fingertips passed along her cheekbone, the edge of her chin,
    across her lips until they came to rest on her neck. Thunder rolled into her
    ears. “I can do that,” he responded. “Under one condition.” Deena withheld her
    response, knowing he would continue with it. “Will you do the same for me?”

    He didn’t wait for her to answer but slid her off the counter and held her against
    his body as one would hold a child. She clung to him, her legs wrapped around
    his waist while hers arms encircled his neck. David supported her weight as he
    moved toward the hall and up the dark stairs.

    Reply
    • Stella

      Hi Tinthia, this story didn’t quite work for me. It reads more as an excerpt from a longer story than a standalone story. The conflict is vague – the text begins with Deena’s musings on Sissy’s death, but ends with Deena and David going to have sex.

      If it’s meant to be a standalone story, I think more focus on the conflict and more buildup would help. If the main conflict is Sissy’s death, maybe come back to that after their sex scene? Or if the conflict is Deena’s loneliness, build that up more at the start so that her request to be loved doesn’t come out of nowhere.

  19. sarah

    Practicing brevity will teach you to be a better writer.

    Reply
  20. Sarojini Pattayat

    It is a great advice.
    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  21. Erin Ollila

    Write your flash (fiction or nonfiction) and then submit it to Spry Literary Journal. We’re always looking for flash!

    Reply
    • Magsmaud

      Erin, I have just this last ten minutes discovered Sorry – what a coincidence! I have a folder of many short/ flash length pieces of work l have written over the years. I will resurrect and tidy them up and give them a whirl. You have given me a purpose – I really need at the moment.
      Thank you
      Margaret

  22. Stella

    Wrote this flash fic as part of a creative writing class. A mother gets a call from a teacher about her son. Written in Singaporean slang, curious how non-Singaporeans read it.

    Good Boy

    Henry’s mother? Ya, that’s me. Why you calling about my Henry?

    You want to speak in person? Cannot. I’m working. Just say, don’t need to be shy. When my son was primary four, he got second in class, then the teacher also called me. I will be happy, but I can control. No need to surprise me.

    Bad news? Cannot be. My son is a good boy. Last year exam he got all A, you know or not? And then primary four, he got second in class. He is a good boy.

    Teacher, of course I know what my son is doing. My son is a good boy. From young I teach him, shi shang zhi you ma ma hao . Oh, you only Channel 5 ah? It means, in this world only mother is good. I sing it to him from young. That’s why he is such a good boy. He will tell me everything.

    ‘Parental supervision’? You mean jaga is it? Where got time? I whole day working.

    His father? Ya, I also want to know where he is. He six months never pay maintenance already.

    Wah teacher, don’t so atas leh. Of course I wear jewelry. Necklace, bracelet, ring. Just because people work as cleaner, doesn’t mean got no money.

    Check the drawer? What you mean, check the drawer?

    Teacher, you very funny. But okay, I also can be funny. I check for you.

    Wah, how you know I cannot find ah? Must be my mother in law, borrow my necklace without asking again. She always like to touch my things. This time I must call her, cannot tahan any more. Teacher I call you back okay?

    Ya, it’s a gold chain. Got two red-colour flowers in the middle. How you know?

    Come to the police station?

    Teacher, your joke not funny already. I got no time to joke with you. I will complain to your principal. I keep telling you, my son is a good boy.

    Reply
    • Magsmaud

      Stella, I so enjoyed this – so funny – as a teacher for many years I can so relate to this.

    • Stella

      Thanks! I’m glad. Although I guess it’s not exactly a good thing if you can ‘relate’ to this situation, haha.

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