As I mentioned last week, diligence is one of my New Year’s resolutions. A part of my plan for this is to finish incomplete projects. In May of 2017 I set myself a goal of writing 20 flash fiction pieces in 20 days – a spin off the famous Ray Bradbury advice of writing 52 short stories in 52 days. I didn’t quite make it – you can see my results here.
I also never returned to those projects. I actually enjoyed writing these shorts since it forced me to tighten my writing. I’ve decided to revisit my existing flash fiction pieces, as well as write some new ones. In an effort to cut back on wasting time as I return to them, I’m setting five flash fiction goals I’d like to share.
1. 800 Words - Flash fiction can be anywhere from just a few words in length to 1000, but I’m aiming for approximately 800 in mine. One of my goals is to be published in Woman’s World. They publish 800 word romances and 700 word mysteries every week.
2. Strong Beginning – The first one to three paragraphs has to establish a sympathetic character, interesting setting, and believable conflict. After all, we have less than 1,000 words to tell an entire story!
3. Action – What a character wants, and what they need, are not always the same thing. Something tangible must stand in the way of their goals, or what they desire, and showing the actions taken by that character are essential to motivate the reader to continue through to the end.
4. Tension – Just as with longer works, the tension should continue to increase until the resolution. Characters should earn their ending, and the best way for this to happen is by floundering and perhaps failing at least once.
5. Satisfying Ending – The best way to ensure this is by eliminating flowery descriptions and excess wordiness, paring down characterization to just enough of a hint for the reader, and following steps two through four until finally revealing an ending with an emotional impact upon the reader.
Do you read or write flash fiction? Do you have and other tips you’d like to share?