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Writing Flash Fiction



Hi everyone, I’m here today to discuss writing flash fiction with you. Flash fiction is poorly defined and rarely touched on in today's literary world. Many writers, including Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, and H. P. Lovecraft, have extensively dabbled in short stories.


Flash fiction is a great segway for your journey into publishing. This genre typically ranges from fewer than ten words to around a thousand. It gives readers a chance to experience a full story in a short amount of time, making it a fun alternative to lengthier literary works. Because of this, the genre has drawn a wide spectrum of authors and readers.


This month let's try our luck at writing flash fiction. Once you have a polished draft, submit it to some paying markets, and see if they’ll take it. For more information about writing flash fiction, please feel free to email A.E.


“Hollywood wants to go for the flash because that's what a lot of them think science fiction is."—Octavia E. Butler.



At first glance, writing flash fiction can seem like a daunting task. Like poetry, flash fiction pays close attention to every word. Nothing is expendable because every sentence is essential for the story. For some, writing flash fiction can become addicting if the bug has already bitten them. The beauty of this genre is how much you can play around with it. If you are just starting your first flash fiction story, here are some tips to follow:


  • Carefully Whittle

  • Consider Epistolary

  • Consider Your Characters

  • Effectively Use Your Title

  • Have Fun

  • Immediately Establish the Premise

  • Implement Twists and Circles

  • Make it Small or Large

  • Miniaturize Your World Building

  • Speak less  

These prerequisites could take a long time to master, but like the old adage says, "practice makes perfect." Remember these tips as you start to write your first flash fiction story.


Five Flash Fiction Elements


To better understand flash fiction, let's break down the five elements of the genre. You can probably add several more to the list, but these five are a great starting place. Not every story needs all of these.


Here are the five elements of flash fiction to make your story stand out:


1.      Emotion– How do you want your reader to feel?

2.      Character– Who is the star of your story?

3.      Imagery– What strong images will your story convey?

4.      Inciting Incident– How will your story begin?

5.      Hook Ending– What twist will your story have?


It’s important to remember that with all fiction, start late and end early. Begin in the middle of your story. I suggest showing something strange to your main character to ignite interest.


As you construct your story, be sure to keep in mind the story arc.


Flash Fiction Tips


Good flash fiction stories take your reader into an already-established world. It's not as simple as hitting a word count. Here are some things to consider when writing a flash fiction story:


Choose Your Genre

There are many genres to choose from including but not limited to romance, thriller, horror, or sci-fi. Consider using your flash fiction story to try something new.


Choose an Overarching Theme

Flash fiction ideas that do well often have a relation to current events. Writers can explore broader topics from thin slices of life, such as death, love, family, or power.


Make Every Sentence Count

Just because you have a lower word count doesn't mean that your flash fiction piece will take less time to write. Shorter pieces usually take more time than longer ones as you peel off unnecessary words to find the narrative core.


Deal with a Single Conflict

Your story should have the standard beginning, middle, and end with frequent movement. Conflict drives most flash fiction stories. However, you will need to focus the story around a single conflict that your character must overcome.


Write a Catchy Title

Oftentimes, writers start with a short title. Starting this way can ignite some ideas for the

entire story. Make it powerful, memorable, and theme friendly. Feel free to also add

some cleverness to it. After all, who doesn’t love that?

 “An intelligent person can rationalize anything; a wise person doesn’t try.”—Jen Knox

 Enjoy the Challenge


Writing flash fiction can be very rewarding. This genre forces you to hack away all unnecessary words. It also lets you play with an idea and hopefully develop something fresh.


When you can take the story in any direction you want, remember to enjoy the challenge. Flash fiction stories can impact a lot of people and give them something great to read.


So, as you pluck away at crafting the perfect words for your story, remember to have fun above anything else. Because if you aren't having fun, why even bother doing it?


“Like spinning tops whirling at high velocity, flash fiction sets words and images in collision to form a larger whole."—Gina Oschner



You may consider publication submission once you finish writing and polishing your story. Writers everywhere submit flash fiction individually or collectively.


There are many great resources available for submission, including Submittable. This option is free to use and allows you to filter submission calls. These include length, genre, theme, topic, etc. It’s easy to use and quick to track submissions. Now that you know what flash fiction stories are, and how to write them, go out there and see how you do.


Please comment below if you want to learn more about writing flash fiction. I'm always happy to answer any questions.



Reedsy Blog – the Reedsy team breaks down five quick tips for mini masterpieces.


Writing Workshops – the writing workshops staff explains ten flash fiction markets that pay.


Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association – Maria Haskins breaks down ten tips for writing flash fiction. 


Self-Publishing School – Hannah Lee Kidder explains how to write flash fiction using five essential elements. 


Jericho Writers – Gareth P. Jones breaks down twelve tips for writing flash fiction. 


Kevin Petrochko is a guest writer for A.E. Williams Editorial who has worked with clients in multiple industries writing content for websites and blogs. As a former journalist, Kevin has contributed sports writing to multiple publications. You can connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and through email.

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