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FOR WRITERS: Let’s Talk Flash Fiction & “Innovation”

It’s that time of year again. In two weeks our 2020 flash fiction contest opens once again, and this year the theme is Innovation.

So we’re inviting past participants and winners to stop in and talk about how to write these short short stories, and what aspects of the theme we might explore this year!

See our current rules here.

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3 thoughts on “FOR WRITERS: Let’s Talk Flash Fiction & “Innovation””

  1. I’m hardly an expert on writing flash fiction, but I’ve written a lot of it (at least 200+ stories, a handful of them published, a lot of them posted) and I regard the word limit as a challenge which actually helps in the formation of the story. Restrictions and constraints also give a writer a framing for the story. I wrote a first draft of a story called “Reynaldo” for a flash draw in January 2018; the constraints were it could only be 1000 words or less and had to be set in a prison, involve a tattoo machine and be in the fairytale genre. Prison and tattoo machine were no problem (I used to work with a bunch of real-life prisoners; I wasn’t one!) but which fairy tale to use as the template? When I hit on Rumplestiltskin, I had my story: A mysterious inmate with a magical tattoo machine who can design spectacular tattoos. The con who bargains to get the perfect tatt gets curious about Reynaldo and finds out his real name. To a sorcerer, knowing his real name grants you power over him and saying his name dispels all the magic—like in Rumplestiltskin. When I finished the story, it was over the word limit, about 1300 words instead of under 1000. I grit my teeth and trimmed my deathless prose to fit the wordcount and (miracle of miracles!) it made the story a lot better! I advocate a brutal once-over of the finished product; cut out what doesn’t fit the story, whether or not it already fits the wordcount!

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