As I work on my next piece I thought I’d jot down a few of my notes for writing good flash fiction for those of us out there who are writers, as well as readers. To me, good flash fiction has two main components:
- A choice. Remember that no matter how short your genre, your protagonist must still grow and evolve within that word limit. In other words, they must make a choice. The layers of meaning and consequence for the character’s decision should ooze from every action and description you include. The choice may not ever be spelled out by your protagonist on a conscious level, but the reader must know what’s at stake in order to build tension.
- Brilliant imagery. Writing that drips off the page, sucks you in, spits you out and leaves you gasping. Ernest Hemingway described his style thusly in his Selected Letters: “You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across-not to just depict life-or criticize it-but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing.” I don’t know if I could have said it any better, but the mantra of show, don’t tell, reigns supreme in flash fiction.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll get back to pumping out new flash fiction soon!