Hampton Roads Writers


Use the prompt word below as inspiration for a fully plotted FLASH of 500 words or less. Leave out every superflous description and character movement that isn't vital to the plot. As unappealing as this may be to you poets and novelist, do it anyway since flash requires the tightest of tight writing. If you can't come up with an entire story of 500 words or less, create a less-completely-plotted vignette of at least 200 words.


What's so important about resonding to this prompt? Well, it means that you are intent on exercising your ability to create a flash fiction tale. A tale that's short, free of diversions and cryptic prose. A tale that might knock an editor's socks off.

So, what's important to you today? The same things might be important to a protagonist. Can you weave an interesting tale around that which is, perhaps, vitally important in your life? Can you do it without making it mundane?

When you write your flash and get stuck, try to imagine how you'd tell the story to your best friend. Sometimes it pays to write the way you speak, instead of trying to demonstrate your ability to construct intricate vocabulary and obtuse descriptions.

And if you want to make your piece as smooth as possible, read your story out loud before you do a final edit. Better yet, if you have a voice recorder, record the tale and play it back a few times. I'll bet you'll notice ways to improve the flow, add more punch to your dialog, and enhance the ending.

Remember: 500 words or less. Keep it a fast read, free of nonessential details. Otherwise you miss the point of why flash fiction exists. This literary form was never meant to be a mini-novel, or a place to show how many $50 words you can cram into one sentence. Sometimes these are the hardest things for us to learn, as we arrive fresh from creative writing classes where inflated prose is so highly valued and graded.


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