"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)
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.