What Is Flash Fiction? And Why We Should Write It

By on June 4, 2016
What Is Flash Fiction? And Why We Should Write It - Writer's Life.org

Flash fiction is commonly known as a piece of short fiction (usually under 1,000 words) where an entire story with a beginning, middle and end is told. Many writers have never tried writing flash fiction, and why should they? If you are a novelist, blogger, freelance writer or non-fiction writer, why would practicing flash fiction help you with your craft?

The truth is good writing comes from practice, and practicing different ways of writing, even if they are not akin to your usual style, can really help you learn and grow as a writer.

Regardless of what you usually write, the art of writing flash fiction can really help every writer. It requires discipline, careful crafting, and ensuring that every word counts, adding to the story, making it richer, driving it forward. If you can do this and then apply it to every other kind of writing to do, you’ll be pretty awesome at it!

Let’s look at the reasons to write flash fiction in more detail.

Flash fiction helps writers to be more concise.

Almost every piece of writing advice will stress the importance of thinking carefully about each and every word that you use. When writing flash fiction you are forced to. It can be very easy, when writing a novel, for example, to lost sight of the plot, to becoming overly descriptive or simply write parts of the story to fill out space, to make up the word count.

Flash fiction is the opposite of this, you have to create a clever plot, exciting characters and a satisfying ending all in an extremely tight  word count. Practising this makes you realise how many words are wasted, and when you go back to tackling your novel, autobiography or next blog post, you will be able to spot when you are overwriting or going off topic far easier.

Flash fiction gives you great ideas

Flash fiction requires you to think of great stories - whole, complete stories, and write them very quickly. Often, where starting out writing a larger piece of work, authors don’t necessarily have every detail of the plot mapped out. Flash fiction insists on this. It also means you can write an entire story in one sitting, which can be hugely satisfying, and you can use these stories to influence larger pieces of work.

Flash fiction can make you money

Many authors take years to complete their novels. But because you could write a piece of flash fiction in a day, you will soon master the art, and be able to approach publications to hopefully see them in print. There are a large number of magazines, websites and even short story publishers who would be happy to read your submitted work, and, if good enough, will publish them and pay you for the pleasure. There is less competition in terms of getting flash fiction published so it can be a great way to build up your confidence and master your craft at the same time.

So next time you need a little break from writing your usual work, or even just as a fantastic exercise to help you get better, and give you inspiration, why not give writing flash fiction a go, and see if you are up to the challenge?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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