Monday, September 22, 2008

How to Write Flash Fiction

How To Write Flash Fiction

The general consensus is that flash fiction (micro-fiction or short-short) is under 1000 words. While the actual word limit varies, not one source says it's more than 1000 words.


  • Flash Fiction has a beginning, a middle and an ending.
  • You don't have time to build up your story or character development.
  • The story starts close to the action. Surprise your reader.
  • Make every word count.


  • Know what message you want the reader to take with them.
  • Choose one pivotal moment of time in your character's life story.
  • Keep the number of characters down to a bare minimum.
  • Pick your words carefully. Since you don't have time for story development, this is essential.
  • Emotions are a powerful tool for moving the plot forward.
  • Edit... Take out every unnecessary word or sentence. If it does nothing to move the plot along take it out.


Dialogue has a duo purpose:

  • It introduces the characters personalities.
  • It moves the story along at a rapid pace.

I have given you the basics for writing flash fiction, so it's your turn. Write a piece of flash fiction, keeping it as close to 250 words as you can. No more than 1000 words.

To come up with a prompt for this exercise, I picked up one of my unread books and read the first line. It has great possibilities...

PROMPT: A great time to figure things out.

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