The first time someone mentioned Flash Fiction to me, I did the puzzled cocker spaniel head tilt. You want me to write what? How could anyone write a story in three hundred words or less?
It’s truly a unique challenge, but I think it’s a good exercise for any writer. We forget, as novelists, how much can be conveyed with a spare, few words, and flash fiction forces us to do so. One of the mistakes authors make when writing flash, though, is trying to do too much. You end up with a scene instead of a story.
Focus, focus, focus – drill down to that one idea you want to convey. The one thing. This isn’t a journey. It’s a single spot in time. Show us that spot and what you want us to take away from that viewing. It should feel like a whole piece at the end, not the beginning of a novel, a whole idea with a clear end.
Three hundred words to convey a world, a character, and a story. Takes a little practice, but it’s amazing what can be accomplished.
We saw the most amazing diversity of stories in our last Flash Fiction Contest for QSF – sad, funny, horrifying, thought-provoking, heart-warming, covering every corner of LGBTQ spec-fic. Next year, we hope to see even more.
What do you find is the biggest challenge when you write flash fiction? What’s your definition of a solid flash fiction story?