Pretend you only get one tweet to convey your idea. Look, I just saved 3 words by editing that sentence. It adds up, people!
Share via Email David Gaffney: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian It's National Flash Fiction Day on Wednesday — the first one ever — and it's an exciting day for me and many others who specialise in this particular truncated form of prose.
A few years ago, I published a book of flash fiction called Sawn-off Tales. But until only a little while before that, I hadn't heard of flash fiction or micro-fiction or sudden fiction or short-short stories.
Then, on poet Ian McMillan's recommendation, I parcelled up a manuscript made up entirely of this stuff and sent it to Salt Publishing, a poetry specialist. Fifty-eight stories, each exactly words long.
The odds were entirely against me. No one wants to publish short stories, least of all by an unknown. And stories that took less time to read than to suppress a sneeze? I was chancing it, I knew. I began to produce these ultra-short stories — sawn-off tales, as I call them — when I was commuting from Manchester to Liverpool: But I had a book, as did most passengers.
One day while ruminating on the number of train journeys it took to read a novel, I began to wonder how long it would take to write one. I decided on words a trip — there and back was 1, words a day — taking just four months to reach a respectable novel length of 80, words.
So the next day I boarded the 8. But after a couple of weeks it was clear that the novel wasn't working. What I'd produced was a set of separate stories each around a 1, words long. I was about to ditch the idea when I heard about a new website called the Phone Book, which needed word stories to send out as text messages.
All that was needed was a bit of editing. Initially, as I hacked away at my over-stuffed paragraphs, watching the sentences I once loved hit the floor, I worried.
It felt destructive, wielding the axe to my carefully sculpted texts; like demolishing a building from the inside, without it falling down on top of you.
Yet the results surprised me. The story could live much more cheaply than I'd realised, with little deterioration in lifestyle.
Sure, it had been severely downsized, but it was all the better for it. There was more room to think, more space for the original idea to resonate, fewer unnecessary words to wade through.
The story had become a nimble, nippy little thing that could turn on a sixpence and accelerate quickly away. And any tendencies to go all purple — if it sounds like writing, rewrite it, as Elmore Leonard said — were almost completely eliminated. By the time I got to Birchwood I had it down to words, by Warrington toat Widnes and as the train drew in to Liverpool Lime Street there it was — words, half a page of story; with a beginning, a middle and an end, with character development and descriptions, everything contained in a Polly Pocket world.
These stories, small as they were, had a huge appetite; little fat monsters that gobbled up ideas like chicken nuggets. The habit of reducing text could get out of hand too; I once took away the last two sentences of a story and realised I had reduced it to a blank page. Luckily the Phone Book liked my stories and published them, and I continued to churn them out each day on the train, while the train guard announced the delays, the tea trolley rolled past, and a succession of passengers sat next to me, reading over my shoulder.
A week after sending the manuscript to Salt Publishing I got a call from Jen, their editor. They wanted to publish it, and quickly. All I needed was a quote for the cover, a photo for the sleeve, and we were off.
I don't commute that route any longer — my new job covers the whole north west of England involving train trips to Blackpool, Lancaster, east Lancashire, west Cumbria and Cheshire, so my stories have grown quite a bit longer.
But last time I was on a train to Lime Street the guard's identity badge took me right back — because that's where I got the names for all of my characters.
How to write flash fiction 1.
Start in the middle. You don't have time in this very short form to set scenes and build character. Don't use too many characters.50 Flash Fiction Prompts Creative Writing Prompts 1 Comment These flash fiction prompts will challenge you to create short and gripping narratives that are under words.
Writing flash fiction is a terribly satisfying way to spend an hour or two. For your fleet-fingered effusions, I’ve collated all my Twitter flash fiction prompts into a handy ebook. Days of Flash Fiction Prompts.
by Eva, in category Ideas. Writing flash fiction is a terribly satisfying way to spend an hour or two. For your fleet. Oct 03, · In this lesson, students will consider the nature of stories and learn to write more concisely by reading and writing flash fiction.
Materials | Computers with Internet access, student journals, copies of the article “Going Long. Examples: Longer Flash Fiction Here are some longer pieces of flash fiction I wrote as exercises. In the first one, the prompt assignment was to sample a lyric from a song; I used the line "the dogs are weeping" from the song Inside by Sting.
Oct 03, · In this lesson, students will consider the nature of stories and learn to write more concisely by reading and writing flash fiction.
Materials | Computers with Internet access, student journals, copies of the article “Going Long. 50 Flash Fiction Prompts I think you will find that the practice of writing flash fiction will help you gain control over word choice, make your writing feel more kinetic, and increase your abilities when it comes to writing without a clear roadmap.