Not everyone wants to write a novel. Perhaps you want to get new ideas out or want to try different writing techniques. Either way, flash fiction might be for you. Never heard of Flash Fiction? It is just a modern way. to say a short fiction story of under 1500 words, usually under 1000 words. Let’s get into a few tips to ensure you are writing good flash fiction.
1. Take out all unnecessary words.
When Twitter first came out many writers flocked to the platform because if the challenge in telling a story in only 140 characters. I’m sure if you use the platform you’ve had times where you wanted to say more but had to figure out how to get it into the character limits. It causes you to get rid of unnecessary “fat”. Think of ways to give more detail and fewer words. For example, instead of saying “he ran away from the burning house as fast as he could” which is 12 words, “he quickly fled the burning house”. Same message, more detail, half the words.
2. Stick to one emotion.
Remember the point is to pack as much detail in as few words as possible, so don’t try to fill it with too many different things. One thing to limit is emotion. If you. want to write something scary, start and end on scary. You don’t have time to give full backstories or show your characters range of emotions. Know the feeling you want the reader to have, give it to them early and stick with it.
3. Cover art matters.
Don’t judge a book by its cover isn’t applicable here. People have millions of things to read these days so it is important to have cover art for your story that really draws in the reader. Make sure you have a professional image to set the tone that this may be brief but is a quality production.
This also includes the title you pick as well. I know we all think of putting a title on a cover, but I often do not when doing a website for an author. Why? Flash Fiction is rarely published by itself, most FF lives on blogs and websites like this site. If you notice when you post a blog, it almost always titles it for you. If you also include the same words on the cover, it can become cluttered and take the attention away from the images. Not saying DON’T put a title on your cover art, but if it doesn’t fit naturally, remember that it will have other options to show the name.
4. Set your limits!
Remember, you only have a max of 1,500 words so you might have to some planning and narrow your idea down to one scene, two max! If your idea is too grand to narrow into one scene, perhaps use flash fiction as a way to enhance existing scenes in other stories.
The same goes for characters. Any more than two characters and you will be wasting valuable words. Think of flash fiction as one persons perspective on one event. Again, if your ideas go beyond that, use them for another project but work your idea out via FF.
I can’t stress enough the importance of doing a good job covering one small idea really well. This is your chance to cover conflict, adversity, or happiness in a unique way.
5. Character Arc
You don’t have many words or much time but within your 1,500 words you have to can show your character learning a lesson and or conquering adversity. Nobody wants to read your work, get to the end and ask themselves “what was the point of that”.
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