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This is not a contest. We are not competing with one another. This is simply an
interesting writing exercise. We have provided sixteen prompts. Select four.
Your stories can be on any subject and for any genre, but each story must be
exactly 1000 words. The 1000 word count is strictly for the stories; it does
not include the title, author's name, date, etc. We will select one of your
four stories to share with others, and the prompt associated with the story
will be included so readers will know what your prompt was.
Flash Fiction contains most of the following elements.
Brevity: Flash fiction tells a story in 1,000 words or less. Some markets want stories that are 750, 500, or 100 words long.
Character: In flash fiction, a writer has minimal time to develop and describe his or her characters. The writer must take advantage of opportunities. The writer must show characters in action and provide details that will help bring the character to life in the reader’s mind.
Surprise Endings: Flash fiction often has surprising or shocking endings. Think of a punch line to a joke as an example of this.
Language: Flash fiction often uses poetic language to weave the story. The format is fluid, allowing the writer to experiment and to play with words and form.
Change: Even though flash fiction doesn’t have a lot of words, a flash fiction story usually has a lot of action. Something must happen during the story.
Fundamentals: You are writing a story. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Something must happen—a character discovers something about him/herself; perhaps a simple event has far-reaching consequences.
Primary Element: For flash fiction, focus mostly on one element of storytelling. Is your story about a character? An event? An idea? Use details for that main element and use quick, simple sketches for the others elements.
One Location: It is usually best to keep your story in a single location. Once described, give indications throughout the story–smells, texture, furniture, people–to keep the story grounded.
Clichés & Stereotypes: While clichés in longer works are frowned upon as unoriginal, in shorter fiction they work to the writer's advantage. With clichés and stereotypes a flash fiction writer can establish character, setting, and tone. While all stories should strive to be original, using clichés and stereotypes quickly establishes a flash fiction story in the reader’s mind.