5 Reasons to Be a Flash Fiction Junkie

author rb frankGuest Post
by R.B. Frank

I’m addicted to flash fiction. I like reading it; I like writing it. Writing flash fiction is a quick hit and an adrenaline rush for those who crave immediate satisfaction. I can jump from website to contest to blog. I can submit and move on at lightning speed. And if that’s the case, then do I have another issue? Could you say I have FF-Induced ADD? When I read Top-Reasons-Why-yada-yada-yada, if there are more than five I zone out. Forget about 100 Places to Visit Before You Die. I’m dead before I finish the list. So for those of you who stare at the kettle willing it to boil, your wait time is over. Here are 5 great reasons to spend available nano-time writing nano-fiction.

  1. You’re a secret member of the Immediate Gratification Club. With Flash fiction, you write in fourth gear and the pieces are short. You see a finished product and realize you can do this thing called writing. You can admire your work more frequently and build your self-confidence in record time.
  2. There are Frequent Deadlines. My screen is covered with sticky note dates. Many websites have submissions once a week, once a month or quarterly. Deadlines make you work within a time frame. They force you to write. And time constraints will prepare you for possible adventures with a demanding publisher.
  3. Body Armor Not Required. Breathe. You can relax. You don’t need to don your chain mail for flash fiction because most likely you’re not as invested with 300 words as you are with a 100,000 word novel. Comments and criticism are easier to take (somewhat) because you can’t become too attached to these little ditties. That’s a good thing because then you’ll be inclined to practice your writing even more. And isn’t that the purpose anyway?
  4. Learning to Write in the Express Lane. How long have you been working on your novel? Months? Years? Then you find out that your writing needs tweaking. You didn’t think so, but it does. So, after three months you realized your whole book is in the passive tense (horror!); you misunderstood how to use semi-colons; adverbs were your only form of adjective. Flash fiction will dissect your writing like a forensic pathologist and you’ll be the better for it.
  5. Write Tight! Okay, I don’t mean the Ernest Hemingway Approach, although it did work for him exceedingly well and a margarita never hurt. Write Tight means concise writing. Every entry has a strict word limit so you learn to eliminate unnecessary words. You can’t ramble on for pages about her hair flowing like the ocean tides. So be pithy. There’s beauty in brevity.

But where can I start, you ask. Just start. I have several go-to sites for a flash fiction fix, IU being one of them. Here, you find prompts with creative pictures, sometimes with a first sentence. Other flash fiction contests or prompts are theme related. Another site I visit posts an open prompt, which is fine by me because I never know what my characters are going to do next. It doesn’t matter where you find your muse hibernating. Just find where you’re comfortable and start writing.

Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge
WOW! Women on Writing
Writers Digest Your Story Competition

R.B. Frank has competed one YA novel, has a YA work-in-progress, and a published flash fiction/short story collection – Bite Size Reads. She has a husband, two kids, and a dog, and when she’s not loving on them, she’s worrying about them. You can learn more about R.B. on her website and her Author Central page.

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14 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Be a Flash Fiction Junkie”

  1. There’s another reason for becoming a Flash Fiction, I know because I’m one of them.
    I discovered Flash Fiction while I was writing my debut MG/YA Paranormal romance novel, “I Kissed a Ghost,” when as with any author I came down with my first case of the dreaded condition known as “Writer’s Block.” My writing stopped dead in its track, and I couldn’t think of a single word to write.
    Luckily I found a website, which unfortunately is no longer around. Each week the site gave its readers a single word prompt requiring those wanting to post a response to write a 5 SENTENCE story for the given prompt word.
    Once I wrote my response. I posted it on the site and then on my blog sites. I then went back to my halted manuscript and found the Flash Fiction I just did had broken through the writer’s block I had suffered from as I started to write my story again.
    I kept on using the prompt, primarily to keep the creative juices flowing inside those little grey cells of my mind.
    After a while I wanted to have a greater challenge in writing my 5 sentence response, so I turned some prompt words into an acrostic where the letters of the prompt when read downwards would begin each of the 5 sentences.
    Gathering all the responses I’ve already written plus new ones to give me a total of 100 Flash Fictions, I compiled my second book “Micro Fiction – An Anthology.”
    If this is not what a being a Flash Fiction Junkie is about? I’d like to know what is?


    1. You’re so right, Robin. Sometimes I just can’t sit myself down to the wip and need a mental break, or turn my thoughts in a different direction. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Yes, the biggest advantage for me has been to learn how to “write tight” as you say. And that’s a skill that transfers to my longer work – in a good way. And doing that from the get-go makes editing so much easier.

    1. Yvonne – I found that myself. I’m not crossing out over-used adjectives, dialogue attributes go way beyond “he said, she said” and I’ve learned to vary my sentence structures to make reading interesting. All good stuff!

  3. I don’t often write flash fiction because of the “write tight” rule. There is probably a lesson for me in there somewhere, but I’m ignoring it 🙂

    1. MaryAnn- congratulations on the leap! It’s all very painless and they’re all supportive at IU. You found a great place to start.

  4. Hi R. B.
    I loved your article. I am very grateful to Indies Unlimited, I started reading and writing flash fiction last year. What I will tell anyone writing it is whether you won a weekly popular contest or not: use this as an opportunity to test the waters and hone your skills. Don’t throw any out, instead, refine them, name and get them edited and assemble them onto a short story book and publish on kdp and create space. I’ll be publishing them in my first scifi short story book this September.
    Thank you and Best wishes

    1. Joe – So glad you enjoyed the article. That’s exactly what I did! Bite Size Reads (bit.ly/BiteSizeReads) is a product of the prompts here and elsewhere. Didn’t throw anything out. Just kept them and re-worked them. My site is above. Please shoot me an email through there and let me know when your book is out. Good luck! – R

  5. Thanks for this R.B.! I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry, and have always wanted to write short stories. Flash Fiction seems like it could serve as the natural bridge between the two. Maybe transitioning from the abstract to a more coherent story will become easier through giving Flash Fiction a try. I’m excited to spring into it. Thanks for the idea and the reasons to try my hand at a new form of writing! Great list!

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