Short. Ultra short. Sentence fragments are too long. That’s the way you need to be thinking if your wanting or planning to writing flash fiction. It’s known as such because it is literally a flash of work, a brief glimpse into a story. But, before thinking that it sounds easy, imagine reading your favorite book and only being allowed to read 1,000 words? Would you know what’s going on if it was you’re first time through? Would you care about a character beyond a simple action scene? Those are just two of the challenges of writing flash fiction.
While it may be easy to string together a super short scene, pulling out a reader’s interest in it is not. So, before you pick up your pen or settle before the keyboard to begin the eye straining, keep in mind these 5 considerations:
Writing Flash Fiction
1. It’s Harder Than it Looks: There will be little build up, almost no character development, and if you’re trying to pull of a balance between the intro, climax, and conclusion, you’ll need to learn how to blend them together to save on a headache.
2. It’s All About the Reader: One of the great things about writing is having something to say. Some of the best novels weren’t written for the readers, but because an author had something important to say. But when you’re into the world of flash fiction, you need to understand your audience doesn’t have much time, and even if the do, they are looking for writing that is set for them, not the writers ideas or concerns.
3. Your Diction Counts: You may like to use adverbs or brilliant adjectives, but not with flash fiction. Readers want to get to the point and enjoy the action. If you choose to write flash fiction, know that your going to be writing like Hemingway.
4. You’re Characters Are Who They Are: Perhaps the hardest part of writing flash fiction is that character development is limited. You will need to write your story with a character who is fully fleshed out, and every action and description of him/her will need to pull the reader into the relationship.
5. Writing For Action: It doesn’t have to be a wham, bam kind of story, but it will be moved by action. The plot will be too short for elaborate settings, and you’ll want to try to keep your characters in one place for the duration, so pick wisely, but concentrate on action and plot and leave the setting to a few lines of tight writing only.
Writing flash fiction can be highly beneficial to you as a writer. It will allow you to see a character in action, without the help and support of the other elements, you’re character will hold your success squarely on their own shoulders. It also teaches you how to cut on anything that isn’t utterly essential to the story (like the word ‘utterly’ back there). You’ll learn how to write with action in mind and how to bring the reader to resolution through the conflict. Flash fiction is more than just a medium for your writing, it’s a test of your writing abilities.