Let’s Talk About Flash Fiction

Do you read Flash Fiction? What’s your favorite genre of Flash Fiction?

Flash Fiction’s popularity is growing. You can now find Flash Fiction Online Magazines, such as Flash Fiction MagazineHavok, and Spark Flash Fiction. There are Flash Fiction Contests also available online, and lots of people writing about Flash Fiction, as well as writing Flash Fiction stories.

In addition to all of the genres and websites that offer Flash Fiction stories and/or Flash Fiction tips and advice, there are websites who define Flash Fiction and the definitions vary: some say a Flash Fiction story needs to be 300 words or less; some say 500 words or less; some say 1,000 or 1,200 or 1,500 words or less. The three online Flash Fiction magazines I listed above all require, in their submission guidelines, Flash Fiction stories between 300 and 1,000 words.

I entered a contest earlier this year that required 500 words or less. A Contest I entered more recently required 100 – 300 words. However, this contest didn’t require it to be only Flash Fiction stories–it could also be the beginning of a longer story (I wrote a 300 word Fantasy Flash Fiction story, and no, I didn’t win; didn’t even make it to the finals, but I rarely dabble in Fantasy. I was just happy to earn some votes in the first round.)

If you follow my blog, you know that I write a Flash Fiction story to post every Friday, and if you haven’t noticed, I do my best to write around 800 words, but I do make sure to write less than 1,000 words.

Why is Flash Fiction so popular with readers? Because theses stories are short. You can read a Flash Fiction story in 5-10 minutes, and you get a complete story. You can read them on a bus or train or while waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office.

Why is Flash Fiction so popular with writers? Because it forces writers to hone their craft — to write a well-written story that is tight and concise–no wasted words.

Every website that talks about writing Flash Fiction says, “Just like any other story, a Flash Fiction Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.”

However, many Flash Fiction writers write a satisfying ending that resolves the scene they have created, but leave room for the reader to imagine a complete ending they might like, similar to the old storybooks some writers wrote for children in the past: “choose your own ending”.

I do my best to put a satisfying ending on my Flash Fiction stories. However, sometimes I do leave it to the reader’s imagination to a degree.

What about you? Do you prefer a good solid ending on the Flash Fiction stories you read, or do you like a slight cliff-hanger that allows you to ponder how it might really end?

Have You Ever Tried to Write Flash Fiction?

rawpixel-315198-unsplashFlaPhoto by rawpixel on Unsplash

I know I’ve talked about Flash Fiction here before, but today I want to speak to those of you who are writers. Have you ever tried to write Flash Fiction?

I used to think it would be quite difficult to write Flash Fiction in the genres that I write: my WIP is Historical Romance, however I also like to write Contemporary Romance. Most of the Flash Fiction I have seen and read has been Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Speculative Fiction. However, if you’ve been reading my Flash Fiction Friday posts, you’ll see that it can be done with Contemporary Romance. The fact of the matter is Flash Fiction can be any genre.

I will reiterate the Flash Fiction guidelines once again. Depending on whose definition you read, Flash Fiction can be anywhere from less than 100 words to 1,500 words. However, many Flash Fiction writers prefer to write 300-500 words. Flash Fiction stories, as all stories, still require the story to have a beginning, middle, and end. (I have a friend who thinks every Flash Fiction story she reads could be turned into a full-length novel. And, she has a good point, if you like to read novel-length stories. I know that I could, most likely, turn all of my Flash Fiction stories into novellas or full-length novels, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to.) Flash Fiction serves a purpose. Just like the renewed popularity of Short Stories in today’s world, Flash Fiction is also very popular because many people don’t want to take the time to read novels anymore. However, that doesn’t mean they want to read an incomplete story that leaves them hanging at the end.

Therefore, that’s why it’s important that your Flash Fiction stories have a beginning, middle, and end; and the end has to feel complete and it needs to satisfy the reader. It needs to bring closure to the story and bring resolution to whatever conflict you created in the short piece.

So, if you’re a writer and you haven’t tried writing Flash Fiction, I challenge you to do so. Why? Because it will definitely help you improve your writing because it will challenge you to write a good complete story in few words. My first Flash Fiction Stories were between 1,000 and 1,500 words. The ones I am writing and posting on my Flash Fiction Friday posts right now are 790-800 words, and these sometimes take a while. I began one yesterday afternoon, thought I had it finished but wasn’t happy with the ending. I worked on it again last night and I’m still not happy with it, so I will work on it again today and maybe tomorrow and another day before I manage to create a 790-800 word complete story that I believe is the best I can do with the idea I have for this story.

Therefore, I will probably continue writing Flash Fiction of 790-800 words for a while yet, until it becomes easy for me to write a complete and satisfying story of that word count. Then, I’ll shoot for 500 words. (I did write one Flash Fiction story of 500 words that I recently entered in a contest that required no more than 500 words. My story made it through the first round of judging, but didn’t end up winning. So, I took it to a critique group, got some feedback on it, tweaked it based on comments from the group, and made it a better 500 word Flash Fiction story.)

Writing Flash Fiction helps you to write concisely and to not overuse certain words or be too wordy. Flash Fiction requires you to write less characters so that you can still create one or two characters that your readers will be able to relate to; characters that are believable and that your readers will want to root for.

If you decide to take the challenge and try your hand at Flash Fiction, let me know if you post a Flash Fiction story on your website. Post a link in the comments, and I’ll visit your site and read what you’ve come up with. It will be fun to encourage each other in improving our writing skills.

Flash Fiction Bonus

Hi Everyone,  I don’t normally post two posts in one day, but my good friend, Laura of Caffeinated Fiction has a birthday today, and she even announced her age, brave woman!

In connection with her age, she issued a challenge I couldn’t pass up.  She is 42 years old today and challenged her blog readers and writing friends to write a Flash Fiction Story with 42 words or less, and stipulated that it must contain the word “birthday”.  (I love the idea!)

Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot pass up a writing challenge, so here is my 42 word birthday flash fiction story for Laura:

Another foster home. Her tenth birthday. She had no expectations.

“Dinner!” New foster mom called.

Foster mom cleared the table and returned from the kitchen.

“Surprise!” Foster Mom carried a cake with candles. Foster Dad pulled a gift from under the table.