IWSG Feb: Writing Flash Fiction With Impact


I’ve decided to focus more on short story and flash fiction this year, while I continue working on my novel projects.   I have discovered that learning to write flash fiction and the short story has help me improve my scenes in my longer works.

My fear is that my stories won’t be interesting enough, or they’ll confuse; sometimes I struggle to find the right words to convey the emotion or picture.  I want my stories to snap and connect with my reader.  I want them to have fun reading it and want more of it, but I guess that is every authors hope.



The challenge of flash fiction is to grab your reader, connect with them and move them in a meaningful way, make an emotional connection, or give them the unexpected.

Start with action or some dire realization vital to the character.  You have just a few words to get your story told, so you cannot dwell on character and world development.

The simplest story structure is the three acts version.

Act I:  Intro the character in the setting showing his need.  It doesn’t have to be deeply detailed.  It just needs to give an idea of character and a place.  Setting does not have to be elaborate to convey a sense of place.

The thing that drives the story is the characters deep seeded need.  It motivates and colors everything in their world.  Flash Fiction should start as close to the climax as possible.  

Act II: The conflict is usually centered around one major event or incident.  The middle still carries the bulk of the story and the word count.

Act III:  The climax and resolution.  Make them think.  Make them feel. Make them laugh or flat out shock them.  You need to give the reader something to take away with them.

Use action verbs and strong verbs in your descriptions and avoid adverbs to minimize your word count.   Vary your sentence length for pace and atmosphere; overly complex sentences add words.

In a short piece less can lend power to the overall effect of the story.  The focus is what is happening right now.  Trust your reader to get it.  Be choosy, keep it simple, but strong in word choices.

Flash fiction is around 500 words up to 1000 words.  Deep POV can aid a story’s emotional connection, or/and create that present moment feel you need to hook the reader.  A lot of flash fiction is written in the 1st person POV for the punch.   Once written consider the arrangement for impact.  I often move things around on the edit of the completed story to create a tighter and stronger story.

I just participated in a Flash Fiction blog hop.  Storytime Blog Hop founded by Holly Lisle Students. Read my contribution here & find other links to more flash fiction.

I have 3 other flash fiction stories available to read HERE



Once you click on this link you will see the free course to the right of site in an orange box that say How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck.

Holly Lisle How To 'Write Flash Fiction That Doesn't Suck

Affiliate Disclosure

List of Action Verbs

List of Strong Verbs

Deep POV—What’s So Deep About It by Fiction Editor Beth Hill on The Editor’s Blog


Wikipedia definition of flash fiction

Flash fiction is around 500 words up to 1000 words.

What Writer’s Digest Has To Say About Flash Fiction







Wikipedia definition of short story

How to Write a Short Story With Deep Structure (And Win a Prize for It) Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing on Write To Done

Tips For Writing Short Stories by Shirley McLain

The Long Journey to the Perfect Short Story by Jen Scott, associate editor at Firewords Quarterly: on Live Write Thrive


THE 6 HUMAN NEEDS: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO Anthony Robins Change Your LIfe

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Wikipedia

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Simple Psychology

16 Personality Types

Writer’s Helping Writings–Tools




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Want to get in the habit of blogging at least once a month.  Get to know other writers.  Build your confidence by joining in, Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Blog about your fears, your triumphs,  failures, success, your expertise and passions.   Don’t forget to stop by and say HI to Alex’s co-hosts February 3  Allison Gammons,Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!



















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