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  • Writer's pictureS.E. Reed

Writing Flash Fiction

When I started writing, I jumped in, feet first and churned out five novels in about a year without taking a breath. I know-- crazy! Then, I got to a weird place. I wanted to keep writing, but I had so many edits happening on my own and for my literary agent. But, I still had this insatiable urge to write stories. That's when I was introduced to #flashfiction.

Short stories come in many forms.

There are traditional Short Stories that range in length, usually 5-7k words. There are longer shorts called Novellas. Those can range in the 10-20k range.

But my favorite are the ultra short. The Flash, Micro and Mini-Sagas.

Flash Fiction is up to 1,500k words.

Micro Fiction is 250-1000 words.

Mini-Sagas are 50 words, not including the title.

The fun thing about writing #flashfiction is that it can be done quickly and is an entire story. Every flash should have a beginning, middle and end. So-- when you think of a bright idea or a vivid character in your mind, you can sit down and churn it out quickly.

Another exciting part about the world of Short Stories and Flash Fiction are the contests and literary magazines you can submit to, and hopefully showcase your work. Or, you can post them on a blog or share them in a writing group.

It's also a great way to stick your toes in the water of another genre. Maybe you've always wanted to write a horror story, but don't love the idea of committing an entire novel to it. Try a short story first!

When you have an entire full-length manuscript to write, it's easy to fall into the "overly wordy" trap. But, with short fiction, every word maters. Every word literally counts. As a self-proclaimed #pantser, I have found writing Flash Fiction a neat way to train my brain to come up with the entire story in advance. I don't have 150 pages to creep around until the story reveals itself!

I love checking Submittable for a list of sites currently acquiring short stories. Even if I don't submit, sometimes I complete the project request and just file the story away for a rainy day! I'm also a fan of NYCMidnight and GlobeSoup for some excellent Flash and Micro Fiction contests.

All I can say is, give it a chance. Write something new. Challenge yourself and #flashfiction.


S.E. Reed

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