Monday, February 10, 2014

Flash Fiction

Looking for a fun writing exercise? Here's one that will challenge the best of writers. Flash Fiction. Getting a complete story into as few words as possible. Publishers of flash fiction vary in their required word limits, but it can be anywhere from fifty to a thousand words. 

In the January, 2007 issue of The Writer, there is an article by Harvey Stanbrough, Sharpen Your Skills with Flash Fiction

He says, “Because of its brevity, flash fiction forces writers to see how unnecessary some words are, and their other writing always improves, too.” 

Although short, flash fiction must be a complete story with these elements:

a.    Setting: Will most likely be shown or implied through action, dialogue, or characterization.
b.    Character: Most flash fiction has only one or two, but may have three or four, with some of them only implied. “In flash fiction more so than in any other genre, you will often find implied characters.”  — Stanbrough
c.    Conflict: In flash fiction this is the most important element.
d.    Resolution: The natural and satisfactory outcome to the conflict.
e.    Implication: Give the reader just enough to get what the story is about. In so few words, you are forced to trust your readers to see what you’ve shown without having to tell it.

“When you only imply an emotion or an occurrence and let the reader infer it, he actually experiences it to some degree.” — Stanbrough 

Do you want to try it? See if you can write a complete story in 100 words or less, then add it  in the comments. 

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