Posted by: nancycurteman | July 1, 2016

How to Write Flash Fiction

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flashfictioncartoon-300x300Art Carey, author of “The Gender War,” A Novel, and Flash Fiction writer extraordinaire, is my guest blogger. He offers a brief, to-the-point piece on the art of creating Flash Fiction, a style of writing that is very popular in today’s fast-paced world. As a former newspaper reporter and journalist instructor, Mr. Carey provides concise how-to-write information on Flash Fiction. Enjoy his piece below.

Learn How to Write Flash Fiction in a Flash

Why write flash fiction? Change of pace, less time required, no research, challenge, opportunity to be published.

Flash Fiction is story telling in a box. The box is the maximum number of words.
Micro—Fewer than 100 words
Extreme—Fewer than 500 words
Usual—500 to 1,500 words
Sweet spot—1,000 words

Minimum length: Whatever works. Ernest Hemingway’s classic six words: For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
My six-word example: (Not a classic but published in penny fiction): My bad… The gun was loaded.

Characteristics—Often similar to longer stories with: protagonist, conflict, obstacles, and resolution.

Omissions—Anything wordy: monologues, flashbacks, prolonged description, digression.

Things to keep in mind:

Remember KISS: (Keep it simple, stupid)
Limit the number of characters.
Make something happen.
Have a strong ending.
Pick a single theme.
Surprise the reader.
Polish language.


Both print and the Internet offer possibilities. Consult Google for “flash fiction publishers.”

Internet sites to see:

Flash fiction—Wikipedia
Flash Fiction Online
Flash Fiction Magazine
Top 20 Places to Submit Flash Fiction
DuotropeFlash Fiction Online ($50 membership required. Valuable for active writers.)

Looking for a challenge? Write a story with an exact number of words. No more. No less.

Some online possibilities with word limits:

50-Word Stories
Blink-Ink 50
Prime Number Magazine 5
101 Fiction
200 CCs  185-215
Nano Fiction 300
Fewer Than 500
Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize 750
Word Count is your friend here. Add and subtract words to fit.

Final thoughts: Writing should be more than just work. It can be fun, too. Start by reading examples of flash fiction online. Then dive right in.

There you have it. Art Carey’s advice on writing Flash Fiction in a Flash.



  1. Reblogged this on WritersJacket.


    • Hi Linda, Thanks for the reblog. Much appreciated.


  2. Looking forward to your next mystery novel. Any idea when that might be?


    • Hi Maureen, Thank you for asking. I’m almost through my first draft. After that the rewrites begin. I estimate publication in about 5 months or less.


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