Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HOW I WRITE FLASH FICTION



Google that question and you'll find a plethora of how to's. Wiki-how.com has a numbered response with pictures for that answer. Since the answer is readily available, I thought I'd tell you exactly how I do it. 

I'm no expert but if you've been reading my blogs lately you know I participate in two weekly flash fiction challenges – Mondays Finish the Story – and Friday Fictioneers.


With Mondays Finish the Story – Barbara W. Beachman gives us a picture and a first sentence prompt. For Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives only a photo prompt. She expects 100 words while Barbara gives us a challenge of 150 words. I enjoy both and if you're interested, please click the links to find out more.

As soon as the prompt is posted, I save the photograph to my desktop. I make it my desktop background until the story is finished simmering in my head.

However, the first thing I do is put myself into the scene – no matter what or where it is. Then I start to detail my story through the questions I ask. 

For a recent Mondays Finish The Story, the picture was of a black cat hiding behind a curtain, his paws clearly visible, and his bright green eyes shining through the thin material. Barbara posted the sentence "He thought he had found the perfect hiding place."

I became the cat. Why would a black cat hide? Whom would he hide from? What was happening that made him hide? From that, I fashioned my story Spells & Potions. See, it's that simple. I also try to find a way to end the story with something fun, unexpected, and surprising. It's not necessary, just fun.

You can read Spells & Potions HERE!

For a recent Friday Fictioneers, the photo prompt was a winter scene with a pavilion. I placed myself at the scene and then asked the question, why was I there? I decided for a first date. Moreover, while I made it a lovely first date, with the possibility of more for this young couple, and could have ended it that way, but I like a twist.

You can read First Date HERE!

I read First Date to my husband and son, and they immediately said, no one proposes on a first date. However, I had personal experience as proof they were wrong. I've had such a proposal, not once, not even twice, but three times – thank God, my dates didn't carry knives. :)

I hope this gives you some insight into how I write flash fiction, and an excuse to try one yourself. Once I see the prompt, I can usually get the story written in a very short time. I always write, edit, edit, edit, and then publish. The first draft is never good enough. Still the entire process takes very little time, I'd say from beginning to end, one hour, and it's fun!

And now you have my secret to flash fiction prompts:

QUESTIONS

It's a technique I learned when my son was young, and we had a long ride in the car. He'd get anxious and cranky. So we created stories. I'd ask a question. He'd give me an answer and then I'd embellish his answer and add another question. On one such trip, we fashioned a story of how he and his trusty best friend, his dog Peanut, saved the moon from a cheese eating alligator. He had fun, and a long ride became much shorter.

I use the same technique of asking questions during all my writing, especially when the story falters. Ask the right question, because there's always an answer!

While it might seem easy to put yourself into a photo prompt to get your story, you can do the same with a title, a list of words, or a sentence. What image do the words conjure? You're a writer, use that imagination and paint our story.

Speaking of painting a scene, today on WEP-Write…Edit…Publish Denise is detailing settings on a blog titled Spectacular Settings Mean Spectacular Reads, please check out her advice; she is the master of amazing scenery and atmosphere.

Detailed scenic writing is almost a lost art in the modern day of quick stories – get to the action – and short attention spans. Denise's scenic writing takes you to a destination without a photograph because she creates the scene fully through her writing. So check out the WEP blog and learn how add atmosphere to your writing.                        CLICK HERE!



HAPPY WRITING!

Do you have any secrets to writing you can share? 

Do prompts do it for you? Is it a title, a few words, or a complete sentence that gets your flash fiction writing juices started?

Come on share – it's just between you and me!



27 comments:

  1. Happy writing, indeed. Very cool to read your process. You're quite good at FLASH FICTION.

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    1. Thanks Ivy, I enjoy it, just finished another for Friday's Fictioneers.

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    2. You do them well. Generally, I don't read much fiction online, but yours I am diggin'.

      Just waiting for the rice to finish cooking. How goes you today?

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    3. Not bad today, staying cool and hydrated. I love your video blogs, or your almost video blogs! :)

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    4. Glad to hear not bad today. Wooho.

      Thanks. I did a 3rd one sunday late afternoon. Sound, focus and movement. Oh my.

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  2. Your flashes are superb and entertaining, Yolanda. Enjoy all your writing, though I can't read/write as much as I want to right now :)

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    1. Hi Nila, You're a busy, busy lady, but one day soon, you'll find some time! Enjoy your vacation! New inspiration for forthcoming stories and poems!

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  3. I love prompts, some are more difficult than others, especially being from the UK and a lot of photos are US based. I usually bash something out, go away and do something else, read again, change words/wording or totally discard and start again. Once I think it's ready I'll publish on my blog and to Facebook. For this week's MFTS story that I posted on Facebook had a spelling mistake even after re-reading it several times, it was noticed and pointed out to me (with some jubilation in his voice) by my father. At least I know that one member of my family reads my stuff, ha, ha.

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    1. Hey Sally, you write wonderful flashes. I hate those spelling errors, but love that folks will point them out, I can read, re-read, and then read again, and still miss the obvious. :)

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  4. You make it sound so easy. I admit I've never written flash fiction because the prompt tends to make my mind go blank.

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    1. Hi Alex, that's when you make yourself part of the prompt. Try it, it works!

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  5. Wow, 3 times on the first date? Guess they just fell for you right away lol Sounds like a great process indeed. I'm just crazy and once I get a word in my head, that's enough to get me going.

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    1. LOL, it's more of a statement about the type of men I dated than me. I'm nothing special, just made poor choices for dates. Thanks for stopping by Pat, I think crazy is cool!

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  6. fabulous!! great tips! i will have to do this on our upcoming trip! love the cheese-eating gator!
    and i recentlly was prompted to write a comedy of horrors about a guy going bald and kitchen appliances... a hairy situation... ha!

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    1. Hi Tara, good luck with the bald guy and the kitchen appliances. Sounds hilarious just with that description. I actually wrote down the story about the cheese eating alligator, and he presented it at school. He loved it, and his imagination was bigger than mine. Still hoping for another writer to emerge, but he's busy with his job, girlfriend, and being twenty something. :)

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  7. You make it sound so easy anyone could do it. I think the way you study the picture by using it that way is very clever. I always like your stories.

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    1. Hi Jo, I think anyone can. I was fearful to post thinking my idea was silly, but all I really know is that it works for me.

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  8. It's great to hear how you approach prompts Yolanda. I really like your flashes. And impressive that you've been proposed to on 3 first dates. Spunk! :-)

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    1. Hey Denise, thanks, I do enjoy writing FF. As far as three proposals, two were on a first date, and the third was during a computer lab assignment in college. Silly really, but these guys seemed to be drawn to an independent adventurous woman, too drawn to, if you know what I mean. Where others were put off. One really hot guy I was looking forward to dating was so put off by my desire to experience life he never asked me out again. Made me very sad. He told me his desire was to get a job at the same steel mill his dad worked at and settle down with a wife and kids. I answered with what about seeing the world, travel, adventure? He looked at me as though I were crazy and said he had no desire to leave the valley. Never saw him again :(

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  9. I LOVE flash fiction, but my preferred length is more like 500 to 1500 words. As much as I love stories told in just a couple sentences, I want more.

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    1. Hi Crystal, I love them all, and that's the fun, always leave the reader wanting more!

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  10. Prompts do it for me - everytime!
    I LOVE my flash fiction.
    The shorter, the more exciting!

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    1. Hi Michelle, Me too, the bigger the challenge the better!

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  11. Hey Yolanda,

    Sincere apologies for not being around much lately. In fact, you've been so prolific of late that I can barely keep up. Yikes! :)

    Now that I actually know what "flash fiction" actually is, my oh my, you do it well, Yolanda.

    Any writing I might do these days, which is rather a little, is helped by the overseeing of my writing my Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

    Happy flashing, Yolanda. Did that sound right? LOL

    Gary :)

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    1. Happy flashing sounds perfect! You too Gary, take care of Penny, she's most precious! Thanks for the continued support - you never cease to amaze!

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  12. I'm reminded of an old movie. Well, not reminded very WELL, because I can't remember which movie it was, or who was in it. (Some memory, huh?) Anyhow, there's a line in there where the guy (Bill Murray, maybe?) says, "Be the ball! Be the ball!" Sounds similar to your process when writing flash fiction.

    I've never tried that sort of writing, but it sounds kinda fun. I'll check out those challenges and the blog hop later. Time to get out in that kitchen to rattle them pots and pans right now.

    Oh, and you must be some hot stuff, girl! Three first-date proposals??? Verrrrry impressive. :)

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    1. Sounds like good advice. Be the ball! :)
      Rattle up something good - no not hot stuff, just bad when it comes to picking first dates! LOL

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