"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Fun with Flash Fiction

If you've thumbed through my blog, you've probably notice that I enjoy writing flash fiction.  Here are some of the benefits I've discovered from it.

1. Warm-up. Like a singer who sings scales before a big performance, writing flash fiction is a way to get your creative juices flowing, to prime the pump. There is a great deal of freedom that comes when I turn off my inner editor and follow an idea wherever it leads me just for a little while. I find that creativity spills over into my novel writing.

2. Scene crafting. The length of flash fiction (under 1,000 words) is identical to the length of a typical scene. Like a good story, a good scene should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Writing flash fiction gives me practice in writing impactful scenes.

3. Story mining. Flash fiction prompts have led me to ideas that I never would have come up with on my own. Sometimes I stumble upon an idea or a character that is just begging to be expanded into a novel. I began writing with one good story idea; I now have six waiting in the wings, and I expect more to come.

4. Marketing. I've noticed many indie authors have compiled their best flash fiction and offered the collection as an inexpensive or free e-book. This is brilliant! What a great way to hook a potential reader who isn't quite ready to pay more for a new author's book.

5. Resume padding. Flash fiction is the perfect size for submitting to contests, magazines, and online publications. Even if it's not accepted right away, the feedback is invaluable.

If you're ready to get your feet wet, you can find a weekly writing prompt at Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday. 


River said...

I will keep it in mind. :)

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

I have tried to write flash fiction, but I have such trouble getting some sort of conflict / climax in with so little worlds. I like to talk too much LOL

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

*** Conflict, climax Or some sort of highlight****
Man I should really check these things before I hit send.....

Shelli said...

Mercy -- That's what I love about flash fiction -- it forces me to zero in on the heart of the story.

Laura Pauling said...

What a great idea. And this is something I'd like to do more of - it would be great practice!

ali said...

I have never really "gotten" flash fiction, so I really appreciated this post. Thanks Shelli!

Cathryn Grant said...

Great points. I never thought of it in terms of scene crafting! I think my scenes might, um, be a bit, uh, longer?? So maybe it will help me tighten things up a bit ;)

Thanks for the suggestion.

And I love the "resume padding" -- you're right. :D

Melanie M. said...

After hearing you talk about it for months, I decided to try it out. Entered a flash fiction story to a writer's blog/forum. Tied for first!! Of course, there's only down to go from here, but I'm going to try it again.

Shelli said...

Yay! Congratulations, and it's not surprising. :) And I'm sure you'll only get better, no down button here.