Whether you’re a novelist, journalist or a simply someone writing for fun, everyone can get better. There are numerous ways to improve writing skills, but one of the best is to dive into a new writing style and see where you land. But in a world of overblown adjectives, adverbs for no reason and ideas to go on forever, it can be hard to come up aright. But if you’re serious about getting better as a writer, then a short stop in the world of flash fiction could be for you.
It Takes Planning
Sometimes it’s just fun to sit down and write. You can let your pen go or listen to the melody of the keyboard. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you’ll worry about what comes out when it’s done. You can always go back and edit later. It’s the key to writing, and one of the most useful tools of all time. But if you’re looking for structure, then writing in the flash fiction world for a while could be right up your ally.
You’ll be working with such a constrained word count that ideas won’t be able to flow from you, even during the planning stages; else you spend weeks trying to cut it down. Instead, if you’ve been flying by the seat of you pants, you’ll be dropped right into the world of templates and outlines.
You’ll want to write every line to move the plot, pull in the reader and flesh out the character, every word will count, and you will have to learn to write with a battle plan.
Say Good Bye to Adjectives
You’ll still have them of course, but not like your other writing efforts. You’ll be writing like Hemingway, there won’t be a dark alley, just an alley, no glaring lights of the night club for your characters, just a club. It may sound boring, but you’ll learn to choose the perfect time to describe something.
You’ll also be giving readers more credit than every before. They will respect you, and you will respect yourself, more as author than ever before. You will be using descriptions for things that aren’t commonly known, and that means when you do describe something in detail, it will be your unique idea, done just your way.
Adverbs Following the Adjectives
Writing flash fiction is about action, but words like strenuously, hard, really, very etc…they are going right out the window. Instead, you’ll learn to use stronger verbs with your writing, and your action will reflect real intention. You’ll stop using phrases like ‘very tired’ and turn to ‘exhausted’ instead. You’ll be using shove instead of push, enraged instead of ‘very angry’ or obese instead of ‘very large’. By the time your done, you’ll have a flash fiction story that’s strong in it’s tone, and you’ll learn how to be strong in all your writing endeavors.
Finding the Perfect Setting
Everyone has read a novel, short story or novella that has unnecessary scenes. They may be nothing more than to set the tone or elaborate on the setting, but in flash fiction, there will only be one or two settings. You learn to pick out settings that naturally fit your story without needing to elaborate on them. For example, churches naturally set the stage for emotions, and with only one or two details you’ll be narrowing those emotions down for the reader without needing to spend pages setting the scene.
Moving Through Action
Emotions are great, but in flash fiction they will come out as actions. It won’t be enough for a character to feel sad; they will need to act sad. As a writer, your going to push your story through direct action and learn how to build emotion through actions versus descriptions. It’s a powerful tool, and one that will pay off by making each scene of your future writing complete in emotions and back story.
It’s a harsh type of writing. Flash fiction allows editors to be cruel because writers can pump them out. It also pushes writers to use diction in a new way, and to write through very specific guidelines. But any writer looking to improve their skills should choose a foray into flash fiction; even if they never publish their endeavor, they will be a superior writer for their efforts.