BY NANCY KAY CLARK
CommuterLit Editor & Publisher
Even if you are not into writing flash fiction (defined here as a story with no more than 500 words), it’s worthwhile trying your hand at writing so concisely. This is particularly true when you are unable to figure out where to start a story. There is nothing like having a hard word count limit to focus your mind on what elements are most important to tell your story.
Here are a few tips when writing flash fiction:
1. Flash fiction is not just a slice-of-life prose passage. Each story, even the shortest, must have a narrative arc — a beginning, a middle and an end.
2. Keep the scope small — but not trivial.
3. Start as close to the story’s climax as you can.
4. There is no room for repetitious sentences or words. Say something only once.
5. Each word chosen must pull their weight in more than one way — each must serve to further the plot, but also further character development, the setting or the theme, as well as help the pace or set the tone. If you can get each word to do all of these things at once, all the better.
6. Write long and then start eliminating words.
And don’t forget to enter your flash fiction story in our Flash Fiction Week contest.
We will choose the best five stories to post on CommuterLit the week of June 5 – 9, 2023. The First-place winner will receive a cash prize of CA$100; the Second-place winner will receive a cash prize of CA$50; and the the three runner-ups will receive a cash prize of CA$25.
A contest fee of CA$3 per entry goes towards sustaining the prize pot; and hopefully, eventually building up enough resources to pay all our contributors on a continual basis.
The Word Count limit per story is 500. You can enter as many stories as you like, but only one story per submission.
Submission deadline is end of day EDT Monday, May 29, 2023.
Submit using our Flash Fiction Week 2023 portal on Submittable.
CommuterLit will be taking the Victoria Day Holiday (Monday, May 22) off. We’ll be back with a new post and a new newsletter on Tuesday, May 23. Have a lovely holiday Monday.