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Short and Sweet: My writer journey part five

August 17, 2017

Today is Friday Fictioneers day and it is as good a day as any to put together a post I’ve been planning for a while.

Writing to a prompt…Or… 100 word flash fiction.


I hear you now, ugh limiting my writing to 100 words? Hard? impossible? Why?

Ha! Writing short fiction is HARD, but it’s not impossible.

Why write a story in 100 words?

Well, I do it for three reasons.

One, its hard but its not impossible.

Two, its fun and the prompting community is fabulous! By joining in a flash fiction mob you not only meet some amazing writers but you get to read some amazing short pieces.

Three, it’s short… it (hopefully) doesn’t take you long to do, and it means you can post fairly regularly. A good thing for your readers. (Your readers might also thank you – short pieces are great to read when waiting for a bus/train/coffee/friend… etc).


So, how do I do it?

I, personally, love the 100 word prompts that are based on a photo. There are many prompt groups out there, some go off a sentence or even a single word. But for me, the visual image spurs my creative juices.

So, steps… Well…

I test myself. In both writing speed and the “flash” part of fiction… as in, What is the first thought that occurs to me when I see the prompt photo?

I give myself ten minutes (at most).

I look at the photo and let the first thought capture me. It might be an emotion, a concept, a piece of dialogue… Whatever it is, I just start writing… When I have a short piece – maybe two paragraphs I stop. Then I cut.

Everything that is extra such as dialogue tags I lose, movements or thoughts, and adjectives are easy to cut too. Be brutal. 100 is barely anything, you need to be tight, controlled and cut to the chase.

One hundred words limits what you can write. It will test you. I completely recommend it as a training ground. Trying to create a short piece that invokes an emotional response is hard! Especially when you hit 102 or 99 words. It does force you to really concentrate on your message. What is it you really want to say? Say it and move on.

I usually target an emotion or a moment in time. A snap shot if you will.

I try to have a beginning, middle and end, but given the limitations of word count sometimes its only a middle and end.

I don’t always have a full story. Sometimes my 100 words is a video clip of dialogue or a way of putting the reader into a moment of emotion or sensation. Hopefully I succeed, sometimes I don’t. But the great thing about a flash fiction community is that your readers WILL comment on your story if you generate a good response. So you will know pretty quickly if you have hit the mark or not.

And, it is quid pro quo… do comment on other pieces, especially if you enjoy them πŸ™‚

Give it a go…

Enjoy the challenge.

It will make your writing sharper.

…and heighten your descriptive skills while training you to cut superfluous words.

I think my writing has improved since I started writing flash pieces several years ago.

If you want proof… Check out my Prompt tab on my blog… Friday Fictioneers is the mob I belong too. Jump in and have a read. The lovely Rochelle is our prompt master. It’s a great community. Enjoy reading. And don’t forget to comment. πŸ™‚ I’ll have another prompt piece out tonight. Hang around…


Read part one

Part two
Part three
Part four

Part six

Part Seven

Part Eight

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