For as long as written history has been existent, the art of storytelling has served man pleasure and adventures, especially from fiction. Entertainment is the reason why people like fiction – in the form of novels, short stories, fables, fairy tales, poems, and legends. The various forms of fiction are all enjoyable in their own right, but as much as people wish to enjoy all of them, there are some who prefer a much shorter form – flash fiction. Flash fiction, also called micro-fiction, is a rigidly short narrative story that is generally between 500 – 900 words long. Knowing how to write flash fiction requires talent, but with lots of eager reading, use of imagination and creativity, in no time you’ll learn how to write your own.
Only use words that can help your story and be strict when you edit your draft - eliminate unnecessary words, phrases, and details. At all times, avoid using deep, unfamiliar words and confusing sentences. Focus only on the important stuff as they are responsible for your story’s success. Remember that with correct editing, you’re already half-done. If you properly do it, you’ll be surprised at the number of words that do not really matter.
The middle is the starting point
Flash fiction’s aim is to tell the story in the fewest words possible. With that said, there’s no need to narrate every development, twist, or change. That is why you need to start from the middle. It is not important if your reader has a clue of what took place before or what happened next, as long as you begin in an attention-grabbing way and end it on a similar note. That way, your readers will understand the purpose of your characters. We’ll give you an example of a first line that goes straight to the story:
“My buddy Paulie first showed signs of physical abuse a year ago when we went to this well-lit bar.”
Above is an example of the impact of carefully written short sentences. You may notice that you are now wanting to read the next sentence. In a simple yet powerful sentence, the narrator is able to tell everything about a main character. A short and powerful opening line - that is one of flash fiction’s magical wonders.
Avoid too many characters
Mastering how to write flash fiction requires this quality: you only need one or two central characters, at the most. This is so you can focus on them and ensure that the reader stays glued. While it’s inevitable to have other characters, there’s absolutely no need to describe them unless they contribute very valuable information to the story. If they are really necessary, you only need to mention them in a passing manner. Piling up dozens of characters in flash fiction is an unforgivable offense as it confuses and lessens the reader’s interest and the story’s emotional impact.
This is for beginners so you’ll be eased into the feel of writing the story, write in first person. That way, you will not have any trouble in your narrative and you’ll be able to get rid of unnecessary elements because you are the storyteller. Once you have mastered first-person writing, writing from a different perspective will then be easier.
You have to understand that no matter what the ending is, the emotional impact on the reader is most important. The story has to linger in their minds for as long as possible. Take them to new dimensions, make them want to feel things from different perspectives.
Knowing how to write flash fiction can be made possible by lots of reading, research, and endless practice. A lot of time and effort, yes. But it’s all worth it.
Writing assistance for college students
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