Flash Fiction: What Is It, Exactly?

Flash Fiction: What Is It, Exactly?

A quick lesson in creative writing.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To The 'College Best Friend' Who Will Be My Best Friend For The Rest Of My Life

College friends are the friends you want to keep for the rest of your life.


You have been here with me through the best years of my life, and even though we haven't known each other that long it feels like a lifetime. I can always count on you to be fully there for me through all the ups and the downs.

I count on you to cheer me up through all the drama and boy issues and I will always do the same for you.

College would be completely different if you weren't here with me because I wouldn't have anyone to go on midnight snack runs with or anyone to facetime about the cute boy in class talking to me. I also wouldn't have a shoulder to cry on when I am sad, or a person to share all my exciting news with.

You are one of the people I can see as being a bridesmaid at my wedding, and sharing all my future secrets with. Through these college years we are forming into the people we are meant to be and I fully feel like you have helped me become a better person, and understand myself more.

This being said we better continue being friends after college.

Going into my senior year, I worry about all the people I am going to miss because of the different directions our lives may take us, but even then I know we will continue to jump back into the old swing of things every time we see each other. Senior year I have planned to make the most memories of our four years of college and to just completely live in the moment.

After this year wherever we may go, I know that I will always remember all the crazy times we had and I am looking forward to more crazy memories with you.


Related Content

Facebook Comments