I believe in writing every day. There have been a few days, here and there, where an entire day has gone by and I wrote nothing. On those days, I at least try to make sure I get in a lot of reading. As Stephen King says, if you want to be a great writer, you must do two things: read a lot, and write a lot.
There are times when I’m not at the actual writing stage of a story. I’m still figuring it out, looking at it from different angles, planning and plotting it.
But I need to write every day. Not just write, but write fiction. Sure, a blog post like this one is better than nothing, but it’s not fiction.
Enter flash fiction.
Flash fiction goes by several other names, too, but you can’t beat good alliteration in my book.
500 – 1000 Words, Many Benefits
That’s as big as a piece of flash fiction gets. One thousand words, max.
This makes it imminently shareable, both on your own blog and on others’ blogs. How’s that? There are sites that provide flash fiction writing prompts and then encourage you to link your story in the comments of the prompt post. This can be especially helpful to new writers just starting out (like me) because it’s an instant audience.
With such a short word count, you’ve got to really focus on economy: saying as much as possible in as few words as possible. The cool thing is you can take the benefits of that exercise back with you to larger works. Tight writing is just as desirable for short stories and novels as it is for flash fiction.
At the same time, I think it puts you in the practice of going from concept to finished story at a faster rate, getting better in a shorter time span. This can only be a good thing.
Flash fiction is all about the twist ending, since there’s not enough room for any real character development. It’s more about building up to the ending, something we can all use help on, I would imagine.
Flash fiction collections are popping up, now, too, so getting published in one might even be a little easier than for other types of story formats.
Flash Fiction Writing Prompts
Along with the rise of flash fiction itself are articles about how to do it better and writing prompts. It’s like getting an assignment: you receive a writing prompt and you create a story from it. This way, you’re writing fiction every day, even if you’re “between” larger works at the moment.
I know it’s cool to make list posts that have about 500 fucking things on them, but let’s be real: you’d never be able use that. Gargantuan wall of links = one big fat NOPE.
Below is a short list of a few I’ve dug up. Some are static lists and some are published every day or every week by their authors.
- http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/ – Every Sunday an image is provided as a prompt for the week. Link to your story in the comments to get your writing seen.
- http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/10/10/flash-fiction-challenge-picking-uncommon-apples/ – Chuck Wendig does this every week, and this is probably one of the better and active ones to participate in (I will be, as much as I can). Given Chuck’s genres (YA speculative fiction/Fantasy/Horror), fantasy is very welcome. Link to your story in the comments to get your writing seen.
- http://flashfiction365.tumblr.com/prompts – Not updated, just a static list.
- http://www.flashwriting.com/category/writing-exercises/ – Check out the “provocative phrase Friday” posts.
- http://storybutter.com/ – Has a writing prompt every day and most of them seem to be fantasy & sci-fi related. Link to your story in the comments to get your writing seen.
Add Your Own?
Do you engage in flash fiction writing? If you have any prompt sites or articles to share, please link to them in the comments and share them with everyone. If you haven’t written any flash fiction, before, are you going to give it a shot?