Everyone is doing it.
Am I sure or is this what I think is happening?
Considering this form of fiction called flash fiction should I be writing it?
What are the benefits or reasons I should be doing it?
All these are questions I will be answering in this blog post.
Flash Fiction is a solution to many problems writers encounter.
And an answer to the many excuses writers give for not writing.
Before the advent of flash fiction if you called yourself a writer especially fiction writer people expected you to tell them the novels you have worked on. When you don’t they ask.
I said before the advent, Flash Fiction has been around for a long time but I am talking about the time when it gained readers and writers adopted the form.
Before we dive into the reasons and benefits of writing flash fiction let’s see the purpose of flash fiction
Flash Fiction Purpose
Flash Fiction is a piece of work written to capture an idea within a brief word count (300 words to 1500 words) and tell a story not just describing or listing names.
Put things at stake(Conflict).
1. Test Ideas
Testing ideas is all about validating all around a story idea or a particular element like the narrative arc, conflict, characters, etc.
Ideas are fresh for the time being so fresh that you doubt they would ever elude you. With flash fiction when you have an idea you are not sure what it might become. You can use flash as minimum viable prose (MVP) to test the elements of fiction and see what it can become. Another approach would be to start writing a novel.
Doing this using flash fiction helps us save time, validate the idea and see how big the story can be.
When you have an idea at first it is so small you don’t think it will amount to anything bigger but when you start you discover that it can be bigger.
2. Preserving Ideas
Preserving Ideas is when you keep the story intact and prevent it from running away.
I have had stories that were too awesome with intricacies that I wonder if the ideas come from my head.
After a few days, I try to look at the idea and it is a desolate land the sparkle is all gone.
Flash Fiction is not an excerpt of a novel or part of any larger form of fiction.
It is an independent and complete form of fiction with all the characteristics of fiction.
Preserving an idea in this regard is for moments after the story when you find that the story can become something else.
To put it this way flash fiction gives birth to another. Preserving itself and giving birth to another.
3. Experiment with the Craft of Fiction
There are so many aspects of fiction a writer has to master.
- Points of View
- World Building
- Narrative Arc
Considering the length of flash fiction you can run tests and experiments with these elements and see what it results to quickly. Compared to the novel you can’t do this that easily.
This is different from the first point of testing ideas as the first point looks at the validation of the ideas while this one is to allow you to experiment with elements of fiction easily and quickly.
Editors charge you based on the genre and length of the work.
This means if I have a piece of flash fiction of 1000 words it will be way cheaper compared to a novel.
A novel is around 60,000 words long. Think of how many flash fiction you can fit into a novel.
I get to send my work out and get feedback while I rewrite and write sixty pieces of flash fiction.
That’s a lot of improvement.
Still on feedback.
With flash fiction, you send it to your friends that are writers to give you feedback.
It is easier on their end as the story is not that long. Compared to asking for feedback on a novel.
The time it takes to write a flash story varies but it is way less when compared to a novel.
What does time have to do with the benefits of writing flash fiction?
When I ask fellow writers who are not writing.
The most common reason for not writing is “I don’t have time”.
Writing flash fiction can take from half an hour to three days to write.
Completing things helps you to progress as a writer despite your busy schedule.
The general rule for flash fiction is to make every word count.
- Use of unnecessary description
- Dialogues that are not needed. If you remove it from the story has no effect.
All this other trimming and cutting that flash fiction will make you do will help you in a lot of ways.
- It will make your words and language concise
- Master Dialogue. Knowing that you don’t need it when it doesn’t move the story forward
- Become better at editing.
This will help you when you try to write longer forms of fiction.
How would you say you are a writer when you have no work to show for it?
With flash fiction, you can quickly build your portfolio while experimenting along the way.
Writing flash fiction in various genres will help you find out what genre is right for you.
When you are starting you don’t know.
Writing and publishing flash fiction helps you establish yourself as a writer in the literary world.
Does Publication mean I am a writer?
Not exactly. The idea behind being a published writer is simple.
If your work is published it means that other writers(editors) have considered your work good enough to be published.
The degree of respect depends on the prestige of the magazine and how hard it is to get published in that magazine.
Why this blog post is listing the benefits of writing flash fiction.
You understand the choice to write flash fiction does not mean you can’t write other forms of fiction like short stories, novellas a,nd novels.
Try it and see what works for you.
I would love to know how flash fiction goes for you.
Let me know in the comments section.