Flash in the Pan

I’m not unbiased when I say every writer should try flash fiction writing. I write in the form and take every opportunity to sing its praises.

I hope flash fiction can lure the reluctant reader in and who knows where  folk might go from there on their reading journeys. The important point is to get them started. Nobody starts with War and Peace after all!

Flash fiction, like lightning, is fast and to the point, Pixabay image.
So why say this? How can I back that claim up? I think only by showing what flash fiction has done for me.
  • Flash fiction has taught me to write with precision and cut waffle, which is never a bad thing.
  • It has taught me to write to specific word counts with helps with the above!
Always time for this. Pixabay image.
  • It has shown me what my wasted words are (and we all have them). I  look for these when editing, regardless of what I’m writing. It gets my first edit off to a flying start just removing those. I wish I could stop writing them at all, but I don’t worry about that as I used to do. I know they’re not staying in so that’s fine.What matters is getting the first draft down.
Flash Fiction soon teaches you to cut wasted words. Pixabay image.
  • Flash fiction has shown me in the character -v- plot debate, I’m on the side of character. A weak character would ruin a good plot. A strong character can lift a plot. This debate is like asking if you need water or oxygen to survive. We need both but without the oxygen of strong, memorable characters, there will be little point in looking for the water of an interesting plot line. Think about the stories you love. What do you recall most? It will be the characters.
I love it when ideas spark other fictional ideas. Pixabay image.
  • Flash fiction has taught me to think about my reader from the outset of writing my story. By thinking of the reader like that, I am less likely to go off at unhelpful tangents.
  • It has taught me to realise word count isn’t everything (which I know sounds ironic). It is the impact of the story which matters most. She wore a red coat has an impact. She wore a moth-eaten red coat has a different (and I think stronger) one.
Flash fiction can only show so much but that is the point - it is all about the focus. Pixabay image.
  • Flash fiction has developed my knowledge of hyphenated words. (Given these count as one word, these are the flash fiction writer’s best friends!).
  • It has taught me to look at what are the most important elements of the story and focus on those.
  • It has taught me to realise I can set flash fiction characters in any setting I like.  I’ve written flash crime stories, flash fairytales, even flash historical fiction amongst others.
You can set your characters anywhere in flash fiction. The form is flexible on genre. Pixabay image.
Flash is never truncated prose. It has to be a complete story in and of itself. Of course, a lot of the above points can be used in other fiction forms but I suppose it is apt given I’m not tall, my favourite fiction is also very short!

I would hope there would be some flash fiction collections amongst this lot! Pixabay image.


  1. Thank you so much for this. I always love your posts. They are helpful in the extreme


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