1. Flash fiction is a quick and simple way to practice writing. You don’t get bogged down in plotting, or the intricacies of character development and world-building. You can focus on one area in which you need improvement – dialogue, description, exposition, action, atmosphere – and hone in on it. Condensing a short story into a short short story is also a good way to test reader interest without (potentially) wasting time on details from the start.
2. There are great communities of people writing flash fiction. I’ve already mentioned Chuck Wendig‘s weekly challenge, and a few others I have discovered are Friday Flash, Flash Fiction Friday, Six Sentence Sunday, and you could also join Story A Day and write flash fiction all month.
If you’re into fan fiction (which you should be, IMHO), there are some short short fiction writers on Fanfiction.net who come up with the most amazing (and difficult) challenges. Check out these 221 “B”-drabbles inspired by Sherlock, or these 10 sets of 10 drabbles based on Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.
3. Flash fiction is a great way to beat procrastination and so-called “writer’s block”. First, because however short a piece of flash fiction is, it gives you a sense of accomplishment which will fuel your other writing, and second, because it’s a great way to trick yourself into starting writing. I find it immensely helpful to do some warm-up writing in the morning, and a piece of flash fiction is just short enough and seemingly-easy enough to trick me into starting work. You can even use one of my flash fiction prompts if you’re stuck.
4. Flash fiction is trendy! This may be more of a deterrent for some writers, but Google Insights shows a pretty steady trend in searches relating to flash fiction. Of particular interest to me, however, is the increase (ranging from +40% to “breakout”) in some related terms. Quoth Google:
“When you see Breakout listed instead of an actual percentage, it means that the search term has experienced a change in growth greater than 5000%.”
Searches for magazines and contests are among these – a sure sign, in my opinion, that there’s money in the mix. I think it’s only a matter of time before a collection of flash fiction makes it big (maybe when it meets genre fiction?).
5. We love reading flash fiction. Verbosity simply isn’t as welcome as it used to be. We like quick fixes and fascinatingly ambiguous postmodern storylines, and flash fiction is the perfect vessel for these.
- Read some flash fiction.
- Write a piece of flash fiction for your eyes only, and focus on an area of writing you’re lousy at. For me, it would probably be dialogue.
- Write a piece for an online flash fiction challenge.
- Write a piece of flash fiction for publication, and submit it to an online or offline magazine.
- Write a collection of 100-word drabbles based on your favourite novel or series.
* To prove I’m playing along, I’ve done 4.5 of these myself!
Do you love reading & writing flash fiction? Tell me why.