Flash Fiction

Here’s what you have to do:

1. Read examples. 

2. Write a brief synopsis of your novel.

3. Write a briefer synopsis of your novel.

4. Think about what the core question that you MC is trying to answer, the root of the entire novel.

5. Write that down. 

6. Write it down another way.

7. Write it down even another way.

8. Now do your 99 words. it can be longer than 99 words, but get down a draft. The trick with flash fiction is you want you reader to experience the same things they would in a longer piece–a strong MC, tension, a tight plot, etc. etc.

9. The key is going to pick the right scenes. In order to get your readers to feel, you are going to have to some showing (rather than all telling). Think hard about where you’re going to slow down. What pieces of dialogue are you going to use and why? Every word should count. Every. Single. Word. 

10. Get a draft out as fast as you can and then spend the rest of your time revising. Don’t be afraid to start over. After all, it’s only 99 words. Revise revise revise and then get some family members to read it for you. See if they connect to the MC. See if they laugh. See if they are surprised. Then revise, revise, revise. I love this challenge! 

Most of all, have fun!


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10 responses to “Flash Fiction

  1. Juliette

    Thanks, this was helpful! This was tough, but also kind of a fun challenge. :o)

  2. CLW

    Ann Dee is the nicer contest director of the two of us.
    I said she was going to give you three hints and she did WAY more.

  3. But flash fiction isn’t a summary or synopsis. Isn’t it more like a single moment, captured and distilled? The examples in the link seem more like one scene preceded by backstory, not a whole book.

    • I agree. You have 99 words to do something that says much more than 99 words. You don’t have to do a summary or synopsis. That’s prewriting, getting you down to the core of the book. Then you decide which scene you will pick, what moment you will pick that will resonate that core. I probably was misleading with this post. Sorry. The main thing is to read examples and decide what scene will show the heart.

  4. Kim Woodruff

    Wait, so the challenge said you want the whole novel. But you want us to do that with a scene that encapsulates the core of the novel?

  5. THIS IS THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER HAD TO WRITE!!!! Omigosh, I think I might explode.


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