Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Weekend Writer: Can We Learn About Writing In General From Writing Flash Fiction In Particular?

I've spent the better part of a month obsessing over a 1,000 word flash story, not one I was reading, one I was writing. I thought I was going to knock it off fast because I had a goal for my character, and I actually had an ending for the story. Or so I thought.

Flash Draft and Flash Revision

I wrote six or seven drafts before I got almost to the end of one. I'm at a point where I can put it away for a while. While I was going through this ordeal, I wondered if writing flash fiction could be a way to train to write other forms. Because flash is so short, you go through drafts faster and you can try different things faster, the way scientists use mice because their life cycles are shorter than humans so they can work faster. Over the course of my drafts, I worked on eliminating build-up and focusing specifically on the climactic moment.

Flash Addresses Writing Problems

Christopher Ramsey in Why I Teach Flash Fiction says, "In my class, flash has been a valuable teaching tool because it addresses all the issues a new writer might have in the context of their own writing." He says "the usual problems with new writers" include "too much backstory, too much filtering, authorial intrusion, and too many adverbs." Limiting yourself to 1,000 words addresses all kinds of "too much" problems.

Getting Started With Flash


Writing Flash Fiction at Fiction Factor

Stories In Your Pocket: How To Write Flash Fiction at The Guardian

Flash Fiction What's It All About? at The Review Review

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