A quick lesson in creative writing:
Flash fiction, at its core, is a fictional story composed of fewer than 1,000, 500, or even 300 words. The exact length that a flash fiction can or should be is a debatable topic among writers; in the creative writing class I took last semester, my professor told us that our flash fics should cap off at around 800 words.
No matter what word count you decide to use, the point is to tell an entire story quickly, like you were taking a snapshot of it. Here and gone as fast as a camera flash; hence the name of the genre, flash fiction.
Tips on getting started:
Flash fics definitely work a little differently than full-length novels or short stories, and because you don't have as much page space to work with, here are a few tricks and tips to help you write the best flash piece you can:
- Begin in media res - In media res is a Latin phrase that means "in the middle of things". Because you have a limited amount of space to write your story, it's best to skip beginning exposition and jump right into the middle of the action. It'll keep the pace of the piece moving and help you finish the story in a shorter amount of time.
- Show, don't tell - This is a good rule for most fiction; but especially in flash, you want to focus on describing the action of the story instead of the setting or any other kind of exposition to the story.
- Fewer characters - When it comes to flash, the fewer characters, the better. If you want your characters to be complex and deep, you'll need to focus on just a couple, because you just won't have time to complete a multitude of character arcs (character arcs being the transformation of a character's personality throughout the course of the story).
- Have a clear outline - In other words, have your story planned out and planned out well, because odds are, you won't have room to improvise or add an additional scene after everything is written out.
Keeping it Local:
If you'd like to expand your creative writing skills, check out the Lafayette Writer's Studio! Located at 17 South 6th Street, Lafayette, IN, this studio offers various creative writing courses that include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry!
If you're a student at Purdue University and want to explore creative writing without the hassle of registering in a class, check out Purdue's creative writing club.