Its October, the leaves are falling, the witches are abroad, and I’ve opened the blog up to guest writers again. Yes its Indie October. Throughout October some old favorites among my guests will be returning along with some new voices. Today’s Guest Post is from
When Mark asked if anyone was interested in writing a post for his blog, I wondered what to write about. And then it came to me – flash fiction!
Flash fiction has become far more important in the last few years although it’s been around since 1986. Other names you might hear it called are short-short stories, sudden fiction, postcard fiction, minute fiction, furious fiction, fast fiction, quick fiction, skinny fiction, immediate fiction and nanofiction. But the most popular names are flash fiction or micro fiction.
In the very unlikely possibility that you hadn’t heard of it, flash fiction are stories of up to 1,500 words or thereabouts. The maximum number of words is disputed, some say 1,000, some say 1,500 but it’s around that. Interestingly, there is no minimum. You can have 140 characters or six-word or ten-word stories. One popular word length is 100 words otherwise known as a “drabble”. Apparently, that word length first started in fan fiction and then spread out.
Writing flash fiction is an art in itself. It teaches you how to focus on the essential in a story. How do you get a story across in six words? And writing a twitter tale forces you to tell a story as tightly as possible. You’ll write “he’d seen” rather than “he had seen” and “&” is a real space saver. A real incentive to be concise when writing one on Twitter is to see the dreaded pink square showing you’ve run out of words.
Writing advice is now that a piece of flash fiction shouldn’t rely on a gimmick or a joke or go for a twist at the end rather than have deeper significance although I’m not sure I entirely agree. Here’s an example of what they say not to do (thoughtfully written by me a few days ago).
Some people believe that you can write a piece of flash fiction in a couple of minutes and it’s a piece of cake. I disagree. To write a piece that tells a story or sets a mood within the constraints of an inflexible word length and for it to be also grammatically correct, is quite a feat.
I attended a course in flash fiction, which made me realise a) what an art it is and b) just how much flash fiction there is around. At the end of the course, the tutor handed the class a big wodge of paper stuffed with information about flash fiction magazines, websites and competitions.
There are lots of websites devoted to all lengths of flash fiction. Some have a fantasy or science fiction slant such as www.101fiction.com or https://speculative66.weebly.com or https://365tomorrows.com or http://flashfictionlibrary.com or http://flashfictiononline.com Two of my favourites are: 101 fiction (sadly not open to submissions at the moment but you can still read the archives) and Speculative 66 (guess how long they like stories to be) and only partly because they’ve published stories by me.
There are plenty of collections of flash fiction to read. I typed in ‘flash fiction’ in the search box on Amazon just now and lots of books of flash fiction popped up. I also noticed that there’s a number of books on Amazon very eager to teach you how to write flash fiction.
I now write stories nearly every day the #vss365 prompts (stands for very short stories) that appear every day on Twitter. There’s a large community of writers who write for #vss365 prompt. There are quite a few others. At the moment, there’s #vssmurder and #spooktober for the month of October. I also sometimes write ten-word stories based on the prompts issued by @hangtenstories.
If you’d like to see some examples, might I humbly recommend my own collection. I’ve recently republished a collection of flash fiction stories, modestly called Fantastic Flash Fiction. It was originally called Dribs and Drabbles, a play on the phrase “dribs and drabs”. Yes, M’lud, guilty as charged – trying to be too clever by half. It contains a selection of fantasy, fairy tale, science fiction and horror stories by length ranging from six-word stories to “twiterature’ to a couple over 1,000.
About Liz Tuckwell
Liz Tuckwell lives in London, England with her husband. She has an identical twin sister but hasn’t published any books about twins so far.
She writes quirky fantasy, science fiction and horror.
Liz loves science fiction particularly timetravel and alternate history. She also likes urban fantasy, steampunk, historical and crime fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, watching films and travelling to far away places.
Liz wrote a novel aged thirteen. Sadly, her father threw this literary gem out while having a clear out while she was at university.
She’s had micro fiction published on http://www.101fiction.com and http://speculative66.weebly.com. She’s also had short stories published in several anthologies.
Please contact Liz on firstname.lastname@example.org or @liztuckwell1 if you have any questions or suggestions. She’d love to hear from you.