By Annette Rey
Writers have to master the English language, the rules of composition, grammar, and punctuation just to translate their ideas to the page. But that’s not enough. They have to learn how to write queries, and do the footwork to find to whom to send them. They have to build a recognizable platform, and spend the time getting their name out there on Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets. Additionally, they must seek out legal information on copyright, copyright infringement, contract terms, and even how much to charge for freelance work. And this is not an exhaustive list.
So when does the writer have some fun with his craft?
Since much of a writer’s experience is a result of the requirements listed above, his writing should improve exponentially. He should become an expert at cutting unnecessary words, and shortening his work without losing clarity.
So why not put this hard-won skill to writing for fun and relaxation? I think writing flash fiction is a good way to casually create a piece without putting too much stress on yourself.
What are the rules of flash fiction? They vary from as long as 1500 words to as few as 250. The piece must tell an entire story with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. It is best when the ending is an unexpected surprise. Characters and dialogue are to be included.
Flash fiction is becoming a real pastime and writers are evolving the idea into an art. It is an opportunity to stretch the rules of composition and, sometimes, to actually violate those rules. This is what makes a flash fiction exercise so enjoyable.
A picture and/or a word prompt is given from which to build a story. This can be looked upon as a help in giving the writer an idea to start a piece. I look at this not as a help, but as a limitation. When the flash is one at 250 words and includes a picture and/or a word prompt, the challenge is made more difficult.
Yet because of all of that, writing flash fiction is a real gymnastic event for the creative brain. I highly suggest you practice some pieces and enter a few challenges online. If you belong to a writer’s group, have a flash fiction day.
How about sending me one of your efforts? I’m eager to connect with other writers and have a bit of fun.