My Flash Fiction Breakthrough

Flash of Lightning photo

You know how you may have heard the same advice over and over but then a friend puts it in a way that just gets you? I’ve been struggling with story construction in Flash Fiction vs. Short Stories vs. the Novel. I’ve read a dozen books covering topics of want, obstacle, show don’t tell, etc.

In theory, I grasp the concepts. Honest, I do. Be mean to your characters. They have to have something to strive against. What I was missing was a clear way to do this in short fiction. What makes flash fiction different than a short story and a short story different than a novel? How do you DO flash fiction?

Once upon a time

Number of characters, complexity of conflict. All of those generic terms clouded my mind and confused the issue for me. Until I found this link from the Slushpile Avalanche blog.

Using short examples from a few flash fiction pieces, the writer gives clear direction on narrowing the focus, infusing your story with character all while cutting out the fat. I’d published a couple of pieces online (you can read them here) but still felt I was missing the point.

I’m on the fifth draft of a 750-word flash fiction piece. That’s a lot of effort for such a short piece you say? The second draft I barely changed anything. The third almost everything. I read this article and am inspired to further flesh out my main character and bring my setting to life.

Writing better characters

The prompt for my story came from the Writer’s Digest Your Story feature and I will be submitting at the end of this week. I also wrote a 500-word rough draft of a new story for the latest Mashstories competition. This site charges no reading fee and gives feedback on every story. I’ve read some good things about them and will report back!

And yes, I’m still working on the second draft of the novel. I’m counting the story craft and flash fiction writing as part of my 10,000 hours of mastery (hey, it’s a goal even if not everyone believes in Gladwell’s theory).

Have you tried flash fiction? Do you find it easier or harder than short stories/novels? I’d love to hear what you think–leave me a note!

One Thought on “My Flash Fiction Breakthrough

  1. barb armstrong on April 7, 2015 at 10:24 am said:

    As with anything worthwhile, the more you can learn, the better! Spoken like a true Mom huh? Love you

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