Tips for Writing Great Flash Fiction

  1. Start in the middle of the action. Hook your readers right away—don’t waste too much time (or precious words) setting the scene.
  2. Have a plot. Even very short stories should follow an arc—which means they need a beginning, middle, and end. Check out this blog post for some excellent advice on how to develop a good plot.
  3. Have conflict. In addition to a plot, you need conflict to engage your readers and move your story forward.
  4. Limit your characters. Because you have a limited number of words, you should focus on a small handful of characters and keep your character descriptions to a minimum.
  5. Limit the action to one or two settings. As we pointed out above, you don’t have a lot of words to spare with flash fiction, so make the ones you have count. Don’t waste them describing a bunch of different settings and transitions.
  6. Keep the reader guessing until the end. Save that juicy bit until your reader is nearly at the end. Or throw in a twist. Make your readers feel something. Punch them in the gut with emotion, startle them into laughter, or make their jaws drop to the floor. Whatever you do, make it memorable.
  7. Don’t be afraid to cut. Whether you go over the word limit or not, you should always edit your story before you publish it—and not just for typos or grammatical errors. Cut out those extraneous words. Limit overly descriptive writing. Don’t be afraid to cut and polish your story. The results will be worth it.
  8. Edit. Edit. Edit. Yeah, I know we already said this, but we can’t stress this enough. Always check your spelling and your grammar. Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation can be the thing that puts you in the top three.

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