Writing Flash Fiction

I’m running a day course on writing flash fiction soon, Saturday 28 April in Bournemouth if you’re interested!  There are more and more competitions and markets for it – so what is it exactly?

This is harder to define than you might think.   Some people define it as anything less than 1000 words, but I don’t agree that 999 words is flash fiction – not in today’s market anyway.  1000 words – is loads!!!

My instincts tell me it’s fiction of less than 500 words – or is it 250?  The Bridport competition has a flash fiction category of this length.

I used to belong to the Bournemouth Writers’ Circle and they ran a competition every month called the Have A Go competition. It had different themes and the max length was 250 words.  What a brilliant, brilliant training ground this was.

Or perhaps flash fiction is less than 100 words – there are competitions for this length too – or maybe even 60 words.  Both Woman’s Weekly and Chat magazine used to publish 60 word stories.   Then there are the 6 word stories. The most famous being Hemmingway’s, ‘for sale, baby shoes, never worn.’  That always sends a shiver down my spine!

Personally I’ve always thought that the very short fiction 100 words or less is micro fiction.

But, enough of my pondering on length.  Regardless of number of words, what Flash Fiction should be is a complete, stand-alone story, just like its elder brothers and sisters. It shouldn’t be an extract. It should have a beginning, middle and end.

I think that twists work well for flash fiction and I also think powerful stories work well.  It’s very hard to write ‘light’ flash fiction and get it to work.

I also think it’s immensely good fun to write to short lengths.  And there are lots of markets for it these days too.

More on flash fiction coming soon. And if you would like to spend a day focusing on this length and hopefully go away with a story written, then don’t forget my course in Bournemouth on Sat 28 April!

More details here.  http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/?page_id=31

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7 Responses to Writing Flash Fiction

  1. Peter Jones says:

    I do know that a story of exactly 100 words is called a ‘drabble’.

  2. Tracy Fells says:

    Hi Della, I’d love to attend your flash fiction day course but can’t make 28 April – are you running this again in 2012?


  3. Maggie May says:

    I’m sure most subscribers of Writing Magazine will know, but for everyone else, there is a regular Win a Book Competition for a flash fiction story of 250 words every month. It’s free, so no reason not to enter.

  4. rae says:

    Hello Maggie,
    Please give me detail of the magazine which accepts Flash Fiction.
    Thank you

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