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How to Write and Promote Your Flash Fiction

PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.

A classic example of Flash Fiction

A classic example of Flash Fiction

I want you to write a novel with a word length of around 120,000 or more. Can you do it? With little research and dedication, yes you can. Now, let’s make it a little shorter and write a short story of no more than 10,000. Can you do it? Yes, no big deal. Now, I want you to sum up the whole story in no more than 2,000 words. Seems a bit tough or maybe impossible.

First, you included a detailed description of every aspect of your story in the novel, then picked up only the necessary ones and turned it into a short story. The challenge is how to pick the super-necessary words out of your short story and turn it into a smaller form, called flash fiction?

What is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is the shortest form of fiction writing. The word-length is not genre-specific but expected to be under 1,500 to 2,000 words.

You can find its examples in several places. Some of them are:

One-Line Story/Six-Word Story

Advertisement heading and slogan are the basic examples of the one-line story. You must have noticed how these two writing styles sum up everything about the company’s products and services.

Example, "For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn." by Ernest Hemingway

Twitter Story

Earlier 140, now with 280 characters, Twitter urges you to fix your thoughts in the super-short form possible.


A story with 50 words is called Dribble.


A story with 100 words is called Drabble.

Just like other fiction writings, flash fiction also needs to have a conflict, goal and an appealing story with an emotional touch, but with the usage of very few words. Many writers complete it with just 500 to 700 words.


How to Write a Flash Fiction?

While some may consider it quite easy due to its short length, others may find it difficult to include every aspect of the story within a few words.

Flash fiction demands you to write similarly like novels or short story. You need to have a starting, journey, ending and climax along with conflict, emotions, goals, and setbacks.

There’s a lot for you to fit in a few words. Here are a few tips to make it happen:

1. Cut the Intro, Begin with the Action

To start with the real action does make sense, as readers get the chance to see the real taste of the story in the beginning. Avoid going deep into the background. Give the characters’ narration along with their journey.

2. Show Don’t Tell

Use a visualization technique to help your readers imagine the whole story rather than describing every detail in writing.

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3. Leave few Stones Unturned

Instead of describing your readers, “how?” and “why?”, switch directly to “what?” and “when?”. Let them use their imagination to fill the void.

4. Reduce the Characters’ count

In novels, you must have read how a character is surrounded by his/her family members, friends, acquaintances and so on. Some of these can be easily eliminated from the story without impacting much of the plot. It’s better to go for one or two characters only, if possible.

5. Focus on the Theme

A theme-specific story will give your imagination comparatively little content to write about. For example, writing about the purest form of love, most terrifying nightmare, or the best way to overcome any life obstacle, etc.

6. Be Personal

Read the stories, monologues or voice records and evaluate how their few minutes of work put an emotional impact in your mind. Then, use these ideas and your own personal experience in your flash fiction.

7. Short, Shorter, Shortest

Will your readers really care if your main character has six siblings? Is it necessary for them to know if the antagonist fired the bullet 10 times or how many times he/she missed it? The answer is, certainly, no. Trim every unnecessary detail.


Why You Should Write a Flash Fiction?

Flash Fiction won’t help you earn as much money as a novel, yet it worth writing due to the following reasons:

  • Improves your writing skills
  • Challenges you to write an engaging story with a few words
  • Takes less amount of your time
  • Increases your expertise in playing with the words

How to Market Your Flash Fiction?

  • Tweet your flash fiction stories every week, use relevant tags and hashtags.
  • Create an Instagram post with attractive graphics and a few lines from your flash fiction. Add hashtags.
  • Send your work to your email subscribers along with the newsletter.
  • Submit your work to flash fiction websites and publications such as Flash Fiction Magazine. You might not get paid, but your writing will reach to a huge number of potential readers.
  • Include a sub-part of your novel in your flash fiction to make your readers yearn to read more and check out your novel.
  • Use it to try out new ideas and analyze which of these receive positive feedback. Then, convert it into a novel or a short story.
  • Help bloggers by writing flash fiction for their work.
  • Promote your flash fiction by giving a brief about it on the back page/cover of your novel.
  • Indulge with other authors to produce flash fictions for each other’s work.

Famous Work in Flash Fiction

  • “Let’s Say” by Julia Strayer
  • “The Garden Sky,” by Dave Petraglia
  • “Bug Porn,” by Robert Scotellaro
  • “The Story, Victorious,” by Etgar Keret
  • “Sea Air,” by Matt Sailor
  • “In Our Circle,” by Kimberly King Parsons

Famous Flash Fiction Publications

Click here to know the places where you can submit your Flash Fiction in exchange for a payment.


Important Points for Revision

  • Design the Complete Plot.
  • Make sure it has a beginning, middle and ending acts.
  • Choose a single moment from your character’s life to write about.
  • Start with an action i.e. what your character wants, needs or has to do.
  • Show the character’s growth and craft character arc.
  • Make sure to include a compelling plot twist.
  • Be funny, witty, mysterious, spooky or all of them.
  • Use implication and Suggestive words, rather than describing the whole scene.
  • Edit the finished work - omit every single unnecessary word.
  • End with a punch line. Surprise your readers.

I must say Flash Fiction is an interesting and compelling writing style. It needs you to be highly innovative and precise, quite important for budding writers. So, everyone must try writing at least one piece of flash fiction.

© 2019 Prachi Sharma


A Blue Green Galaxy on July 03, 2019:

Hi, I write drabble speculative fiction. I'm creating a collection of 1000 of them.

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