Short Fiction is a hard writing style to produce. The minimal is less than a thousand words. It may seem intimidating to all writers. The big question: “Can I get my point across in less than a thousand words?”
The answer is yes, yes you can! You might not have a clue where to start, but these five helpful tips will help you with the basics of flash fiction.
Let’s get started!
1. Start in the Middle
With flash fiction, you have a small word count to convey what you want to express. But what makes this short form of writing fun is that there is more creative ways to write. With a novel, it can be thrilling and amazing. However, there is a structure: beginning, middle, and end. The climax is where everything can either rise up or crash down.
One piece of guidance that I received from my professor in college was to put the climax at the beginning. Since the climax is a very important part to a story, why not excite the reader by using it at the beginning. This can be done in a numerous amount of ways, the idea is that you start in a place of action. this will get the reader hooked on what you have to say. As a writer, this energy will help match with the rest of the flash piece, since it’s a shorter work you can compress sentences and stick to the relevant powerful lines.
2. The Ending isn’t at the End
Flash fiction is a great writing form because you can compress your story into significant lines. With most writing you might start strong, and when reaching the end of your story, slow down the pace, but that doesn’t apply here. There is opportunity to be creative and provide a reader with more excitement with short fiction, and there doesn’t have to be a wrap up of the story. A cliffhanger can be creative, but it doesn’t have to be the only way.
3. Make Your Last Line Stand Out
It’s just as important to end with a bang! Writers often worry over the first line, as it sets the tone for the entire piece. And the same goes for the outro! Make sure to be creative and let it be memorable. Keep it simple, short and powerful. Sometimes less is more. Here are some guidance options you should browse.
4. Write Long, then Shorten it
Flash fiction is about having a short piece. But, don’t feel the need to fix every little sentence or paragraph as you go along. Let your ideas flow out first. Now is not the time to hesitate. If you have a larger piece, you can always edit it after.
The editing process comes after the writing. Don’t be self conscious on what you say, and don’t hold back! The story will be within those words you create. After some readjustments, you can have a first draft in no time.
5. Show, Don’t Tell
As with every writer, this can be easier said than done. Sometimes we can go on a tangent of explaining an emotion or action with a cliché. There’s this idea that using fancy words that no one understands to make writing seem more sophisticated will work, but it often doesn’t. When describing the basic emotions such as happy, sad, angry, or scared, try to picture an image or scenario happening. Think of the appearance of the character or what they’re doing, and use the five senses as a way to set the tone. Use your own experiences of what an emotion reminds you of. You can use this for the five senses as well! We’ve even found you some sample ideas to get you started.
Writing flash fiction is a lengthy process. It takes patience, precision, and practice. I hope these five tips can bring every writer a step closer to perfecting the craft.