Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A flash in the pan? I think not!

I've just found that I like it fast. Or at least short. I know I'm being perverse in that I'm veering off at a tangent but I've just discovered that I'm like a 100 metres sprinter. It's something I should have realised before but they say that you're often the last to find out about these things. Like love. Or the style of clothes that suits you best. Or writing.

I've always been a careful writer - I used to revise as I wrote and never finish a chapter - but I've since found that I don't need to do that. I can turn the page and move on without needing to look back. And now I've discovered another thing. Flash fiction.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You'll be saying that a novel is generally between 75,000 and 100,000 words long and the average flash fiction's about 500 words in length. And I'd agree, However, if you take the 500 word limit as a guide and then write in blocks like that - running to 450 words or 600 words, if that's the way it falls - you may find that you stay fresh and can keep coming back for more, rather than running to 1500 and running yourself to a halt. Like interval training. Or something else that might raise a glow on a summer's night. So you might find that you come to enjoy writing even more than you do now and end up being even more productive than you ever have been.

And another thing about flash fiction is the fact that the length of the pieces is often quite short and you need to work on it to encapsulate the scene or the gist of what you want to write in so few words. You have to weigh your words and choose them well. Or cut out the flabby bits that made you grin but didn't propel the storyline along. And that's good writing.

So while I'm adding to my novels, I'll also be writing flash fiction. Keeping it tight and making it lean. And if I'm wanting a change once in a while, maybe I'll be doing it for real on a blog and getting an independent opinion on my writing for free.


  1. I love flash fiction. For longer works, I tend to write in stages (scenes) so flash has been an invaluable tool. Using flash this way helps to ensure that every scene is complete with setting, character goals and motivation, and conflict. Flash Fiction and the Snowflake Method are the two biggest influences on my writing. Glad to see another member joining the Flash community. Welcome aboard!

    1. Hi, Jessica. You're on my follow/stalk list now... Thanks for your upbeat welcome to the 'flashers!' But the Snowflake Method? I must Google that!