Remember I had all those great monthly writing goals that were going to have me cranking out work, editing it with no headaches, and publishing my rear end off this year? Yeah. I’ve been doing pretty well with my word count but I realized that I don’t have enough finished pieces. Writing is all well and good but eventually, I have to sit down with a red pen and strive for something a little closer to finished. I missed February’s submission goal because I don’t have enough stories I feel are good enough to submit. So this month, my goal is to complete four stories! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Except with flash fiction, it’s entirely possible!
If you’re not sure what flash fiction is, you are in good company. Up until about a year ago, I had never even heard of it. In the early 90’s I wrote a story for a book called 50 Word Fiction but after submission I never heard back so I returned to the pursuit of the longer story. Last year, in the middle of looking for publications currently taking submissions, I happened across The Lascaux Review and was intrigued by the idea of a super short story. I especially liked that they used a piece of art as inspiration for the story.
The guidelines are pretty simple, though there are differing opinions on how long a piece of flash fiction should be. They usually run anywhere from 50-1,000 words, and involve some kind of plot twist, surprise ending, or something that shocks the reader and stays with them for a while. While it can be difficult to tell a story in such few words, there are huge benefits to writing flash. As a mom of three girls 5 and under, I can sit down and sketch out an entire story in the space of an hour. Once the bare bones are there, I can come back to it over the next few days and tweak it. Usually by the end of a week, I have a story I am proud of and no one had to go without lunch to get there!
If you haven’t tried flash fiction before, you should give it a go. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ll give you a hand. Check out the prompt below and see what 300 words gets you!
Write a story that takes place over breakfast.