Discussion → How do you write flash fiction?

  • Mask1bw.thumb
    Kirsty Logan
    Mar 02, 03:51am

    Is it better to start with a longer story and then edit it down, or write short to begin with?

  • Mechalk42.thumb
    Kyle Hemmings
    Mar 02, 06:32am

    I've done it both ways and both have worked. But I find that it' easier when you know you're going to write short and you've made your mind up to compress and use only what's necessary.

  • Flawntnewsmall.thumb
    Finnegan Flawnt
    Mar 02, 07:40am

    i never know where i'm going and i like it that way. i often pick up old flash pieces and turn them into longer ones. and sometimes i whittle them down until all that's left is a match. i began this whole flash thing by taking the daily word from dictionary.com and improvising over it as i used to as a pianist, starting with a single note. but that didn't hold my interest for more than a few months. currently i write daily flash at http://flawnt.tumblr.com/ , and every one of the last 10 pieces or so contains a (much longer) story that could be told, time and will permitting.

  • Mask1bw.thumb
    Kirsty Logan
    Mar 02, 11:52am

    Finnegan, thanks for the genius idea! I just wrote 500 words on 'temporize'. I think that will have to be my first-thing-in-the-morning exercise for this week.

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    See ya
    Mar 31, 08:32pm

    I read somewhere recently, I think it was an essay by Randall Brown, in which he said flash fiction was written as an "exhale," a single breath. I liked that way of describing it. He had talked earlier in the essay about the often stated technique some writers adhere to that flash fiction should be edited and edited again. But his point, that a flash piece that works comes out in one rather fast breath, an exhale that happens after there has been time inhaling the many pieces that make up the story, is the best way I've heard to give defense to the notion that this form can come quickly, may, in fact, need to come quickly. I enjoyed the essay because, for me, a flash piece most often does come out in one rapid session at the keyboard. If, when I'm finished, the story seems to have died on the table during that quick process, I tend to leave it alone and move on to the next outward breath, hoping this one might hold within it the parts of the story I hoped to tell.

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