Ten Impulses Towards Flash, Part I

Sunlit Bear Sculpture

Tell a familiar story from the point of view of a character who usually doesn't get to speak, like the mother bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I talked yesterday about flash fiction, what it is and why writers might want to write some. I mentioned that it’s a great place to try out new techniques. So here’s five possible things to focus on in a flash piece, with five more coming on Monday. Pick one and sit down and write the story. How long should it be? That’s entirely your call.

  1. Write a story in future tense. Tell the reader what’s going to happen, an anticipation of the story to come.
  2. Write a haiku about a place. Now take it and expand it with an important meeting or goodbye taking place there.
  3. Write a piece that is a conversation and which only uses one syllable words.
  4. Write a piece that is the conversation’s setting, in which at least half the words are three syllables or more, and in which no sentence is shorter than ten words. Optional: Make it a description from the pov of one of the participants in the conversation, who has a secret they desperately want to keep from the other character.
  5. Write a piece telling a familiar story from the pov of a character who doesn’t usually get to speak, like the mother bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or the superhero nobody’s ever heard of.

Enjoy. Five more on Monday.

P.S. Want to read some flash fiction being written before anyone knew to call it that? Try James Thurber’s Fables for Our Time. Or for something more contemporary, Michael Swanwick’s Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 100+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012.
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