I often write about how a writer must have “conflict” in a flash fiction story; but sometimes the word “tension” works better.
Conflict in a flash fiction story is usually obvious, whether the conflict is internal or external or a combination of both. Tension is more subtle. An erotic flash fiction story can be successfully based just on erotic tension: foreplay, arousal and finally orgasm. No conflict has to be involved.
And even if your story has nothing to do with sex, if it doesn’t have conflict in it, it had better have tension in it. And that tension must be resolved.
Let’s say you write a flash fiction story about a character who must make a decision that will impact his or her life; or the decision will impact someone else’s life. That’s your tension. When the character finally comes to a decision, that can be the resolution.
Either way, your story must have conflict or tension and then a resolution; and that resolution must signal that something different or new has happened to somebody. If your story does not have these things in it, you haven’t written a flash fiction story at all. You’ve just written a sketch or vignette.
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