Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flash Fiction Five

From the November-December issue of The Writer, a great article on "Five Critical Traits for Flash Fiction". I'll admit I haven't written much in the short-short line. Frankly, I've felt overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to limit my innate wordiness and still tell a story. But Faith M. Boughan, a freelance writer, blogger, and assistant flash editor for Abyss & Apex Magazine cleared a few things up for me--and hopefully, for anyone else out there who doesn't venture into this area of writing.

She suggests five things to do--which should be obvious, but they weren't to me until she set them down. First of all, knowing one's audience is important. Many flash-fiction readers don't have time to read anything else and appreciate something they can enjoy quickly.

It follows that the plot must be smaller even than a short story, that the character list should be sparse, and that the focus should be on one happening. She also suggests paring down descriptions and letting the reader use his own imagination. Finally, she advises writers of flash fiction to make the setting less expansive: exciting things can happen in limited space.

She also lists, in a sidebar, a number of resources for writers thinking about trying flash-fiction. You'll find that and much more in the article on page 11 in the regular Writing Essentials feature.

What's been your experience with flash fiction?

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