Thursday, 29 November 2012

5 Reasons Why Flash Fiction Is Good For You

The other day I came across a magazine that accepts flash fiction of up to 800 words and it prompted me to try my hand at writing a really short story. Not only was the story fun to write, but it also made me realise just how helpful flash fiction can be in honing writing skills.

So here are five reasons why flash fiction is good for you:

1. It's actually very difficult to condense an entire story into 800 words. The story has to have a beginning, middle and end like any story, some descrption to set the tone and maybe even a little character development. It forces you to think very carefully about the structure of your story and this can only be beneficial.

2. When writing flash fiction you don't have the luxury of building a scene or using a lot of imagery. Every single word counts and there's no room for extraneous information that's not central to the plot. This forces you to trim back your writing to the bare bones and focus on individual words to a much greater degree than any other type of fiction writing. If you're anything like me you spend your time trying to bump your word count up as much as possible, so writing flash fiction will force you to approach writing in a very different way.

3. Because every single word counts in flash fiction the reader is aware that all information is meaningful. You need to lay down clues without making it too easy to guess the ending. I often get frustrated reading books that include a whole lot of pointless detail that does nothing to further the plot, or mysteries where no groundwork has been laid and the solution comes completely out of left field. Flash fiction can help authors produce much tighter, more logical writing.

4. Most flash fiction and many short stories have a similar structure to a joke and  the ending is like the punchline. In order to pull this off authors must be original and inventive.

5. Flash fiction is an ideal place to start for beginning writers who may feel daunted by writing longer stories. It allows you play around with your style an point of view while you are developing your own unique voice. For experienced writers it can be a great way to  hone skills and experiment between books. There is also a strong market online for this type of fiction, providing opportunities to reach more readers.

For all of these reasons I will continue to write flash fiction and maybe even post some of it on this blog!


  1. I have a serious case of adjectivitis. It is sooooo hard for me to condense stories. I like flash fiction because it does force me to keep the work short and simple. I've learned a lot about condensing from FF. Great post!

  2. I know what you mean about adjectivtis - I always have to do a major cull when editing. FF is really great for overcoming this condition. Glad you enjoyed my post!