Spotlight On: Flash Fiction

When you think of the word ‘fiction’ you may imagine a novel, full of hundreds of pages of writing; or, maybe you think of a twenty or thirty-page short story. A lesser known example of fiction is, however, flash fiction. Much like its name – flash – implies, this style of writing barely even takes up one full page!

What is Flash Fiction?

Simply put, it is a work of brevity that still incorporates aspects of longer fiction, such as plot and character development. There is no specific word count; however, most people classify a complete story of less than 1000 words as flash fiction. You could go briefer than this though, and even attempt to write a full story in only 100 words!

Tips for Writing Flash Fiction:

Editing is your new best friend. Don’t be afraid to start out with twice the amount you need – you should really spend as much time (if not more) editing as you did initially writing.

Make every word count. This is a process I like to use when writing flash fiction – if the word hasn’t ‘earnt’ its place in the narrative by giving something special to the story, it gets cut. What you’ll find with this method is that you end up with some beautiful, often poetic words left in – it’s a win-win!

Limit the number of characters that you include. Quality, not quantity is best here – if you have too many characters you simply won’t be able to develop them enough with your word limit. Some of the best flash fiction I’ve read focused on just one protagonist.

Flash Fiction in Social Media:

You’ve probably read (or even written!) flash fiction without even knowing it! With Twitters 140-character limit, you can really challenge yourself to write a brief narrative in-between scrolls!

Why not try it out and tweet us your ideas @studentword12?

Flash Fiction Competitions:

The flash fiction community is well established and there are lots of opportunities to get involved and even win a few prizes, too!

Flash500: Now in its ninth year, this quarterly open-themed competition for fiction up to 500 words has closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December.

Entry fee: £5 for one story, €10 for two stories

Prizes: £300, £200, £100

Horror Scribe: Specialising in horror writing and its subgenres, this competition is for 300 words or less and has a £100 prize. Various themes are given as prompts – so make sure to check their site:

The Student Wordsmith: That’s right, we are excited to see what flash fiction our readers can create! Send us your words at: , with ‘Flash Fiction #1’ as your subject line, for a chance to be published in our #FridayFeature!

Happy writing!