I thought it was time for me to do a blog post about the philosophy, theory and the technique of writing flash fiction stories just for beginners. Veteran writers of flash fiction stories can use this blog post as a review, too.
Hello, writers of flash fiction stories. I’m writing this in my composition notebook as I sit at the bar in Armand’s in Little Italy. I’ll transcribe it later.
I’ve been writing flash fiction stories for at least ten years. Before that, I wrote regular-length stories for at least thirty years. Yes, beginners, the Old Soldier is not a young man. Flash fiction stories got me my MFA in fiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. So now you have my credentials.
Very short stories have been with us in many cultures and languages since near the invention of writing. The popularity of very short stories has soared since the invention of the Internet. And because modern life is so fragmented, flash fiction stories are perfect for the age of distraction that we live in.
What beginners need to understand is that flash fiction stories contain all the elements of regular-length stories: description, dialogue, exposition, scene, characterization, narrative movement–depending on the creative intentions of the writer. Flash fiction stories also have the same form as regular-length stories: beginning, middle and resolution. Beginners should keep in mind when writing very-short stories, that what sets these stories apart from regular stories is how much is implied. There simply is not enough room to put everything into flash fiction stories to make them make sense unless you imply what is left out. It is through what is implied that gives the very-short story its impact and depth. Only poetry has a greater compression of written language.
The writer of very-short stories basically lays out the dots (words) for the imagination of the reader to connect. This is where the skill, talent and imagination of the writer comes into play; because the writer must give the reader the right words in the right order for the reader to get what has been left out.
I like to point out to beginners writing flash fiction that very-short stories have the natural rhythm of sex: foreplay, arousal then orgasm. There is nothing like well-written flash fiction about sex.
If I may leave beginners one last word about flash fiction. It is a great genre. It is great entertainment. And when flash fiction is good enough, it is also art.
This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh. Keep reading and keep writing that flash fiction.