Flash fiction roadblock

I’m working on an online flash fiction class. One of my biggest struggles is I find it hard to keep it short. All the ideas I’ve ever come up with, except a couple, have always leaned more towards novel length. Because I see short story writing as one of my weaknesses I’m very determined to do this. The problem is I’m not sure how to come up with ideas for flash fiction stories, or even regular short stories. In the class I’m doing there is a method but it doesn’t really work for me. I find myself coming up with ideas that are within my other current projects. If not that, then I come up with boring things. Perhaps I just haven’t found subjects that interest me yet. I fear that I will lose interest and that is not to be allowed! While trying to come up with short story stuff, I’ve managed to come up with lots of ideas for full length books. If any of you write a lot of short stories, on command, feel free to share how you come up with ideas that get you started.

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13 comments

  1. I have trouble keeping things short too. On my creative writing class there was an assignment to write a story in 90 words. It was the one that took me the longest to do. I could feel smoke coming out of my ears. :/

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  2. Hi there, I think your siteโ€™s got beautiful design and such interesting pieces, so Iโ€™m following! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I really enjoy your posts and look forward to your next.
    Feel free to check out my writing about publishing: publishinginsights.org
    Sherry

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  3. Flash fiction is tough, but I have gotten some good pointers from class ill share with you. Avoid sci-fi and fantasy. Oftentimes with those genres there is too much to explain to keep it short. Your beggining to end should take place in one or two days to help keep it short. Limit the number of settings or places in the story. Dont explain, show your readers the protagonist’s emotions. Hope some of these help!

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    1. Funny you say that about avoiding sci-fi and fantasy. That is what I generally write and they are always long stories. The two short stories I’ve managed to do that I think are good are not in either of those genres. I looked over my list of ideas and crossed off nearly all of them after reading your comment! Thank you so much!

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  4. Hey there. Thanks for the follow.

    When writing a short-short, I usually try to establish a tableau through a characters unusual perspective on an average subject. Then I follow the shift as the character analyzes the reasoning behind his-or her-own view, or he-or-she comes to a new conclusion based on a heretofore unnoticed element of the scene.

    It’s notable that this is a method for creating contemplative stories, but, if more plot is what you’re after, this style of inner narrative can play along nicely with a simple series of mundane of fantastical events, lending a bit of extra oomph ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope you have fun with your class.

    KECG.

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  5. Howdy – Flash Fiction is super easy…. but decent Flash Fiction is hard. ๐Ÿ™‚ Its a learned skill (and a skill I’m still learning), so my main advice is to continue to practice and read – which is what I am doing myself. Don’t be afraid to experiment, break the rules, do something you wouldn’t normally. Hit some poetry, tell a joke, twist a classic tale.

    The rule you shouldn’t break in flash fiction is simple: Please say *something*!

    I personally hate flash fiction (or any writing) that doesn’t make at least a cursory nod to having a point. Whether you are making a deep philosophical point about the evils of Money and Politics, a small and touching story about the loneliness of getting old, or even just ripping a new take on an old pun, make sure you say it in your piece.

    I cant say I always get this rule right – so I’ve been hitting the flash fiction to practice my writing skills, and I’ve done some research into it. I have a post planned that will basically distil the advice I have found useful… hopefully the silly season will let me get it done before 2015 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚
    KT

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  6. It took those formative years as a young novelist to my current days as a short storiest (yes I just made that upโ€ฆI have writers prerogative hehe) to figure out that, in the end its about what you are writing, what is the purpose/motive or inspiration behind it and how can it be best captured for an intended audience and specific purpose.

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  7. Very interesting! You are working on what you consider your weakness. As for me, I want to start writing longer. After 500 words or so, i start panicking that i am rambling on and losing focus.

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