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Writer's Life: Flash Fiction Part II

Now that you have the moment you want to write about, the next thing is to structure the story.  Due to the shortness of the story, it’s best to just write it and then edit as needed.  It’s a process of trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
The structure for flash fiction, as with all fiction is simple: there is a beginning, middle and end.  At the beginning, there is an event or implied event that sets everything off.  In a short story or novel this is called the inciting incident.  If you are writing a short story, you want to answer these questions within the first 250 words: who is the story about? where does it take place? when does it take place?However with flash fiction, you don’t have much time to set those up and anything you can get the reader to imply will help the story and the word economy.  What you want to set up at the beginning of the story is the conflict or problem.
Then you have the middle and that deals with how the character sets out to resolve the problem or issue.  This is where your hero tries successfully or not to resolve the issue.  In a short story or novel, there are several scenes, a hem and haw or a series of escalating events.  In flash fiction you just have a scene to do this in.  This section is the heroine’s response to the problem.
In the end, you present the outcome.  Succeed or fail, the problem is dealt with and hopefully resolved.  So, there you have it, the three parts of a story.  
Writing down the idea leads to writing down the story.  It is much easier to revise, edit and rewrite than it is to try and perfect the story as you write it.  You just ask yourself questions like does this beginning present the issue at hand?  Does it introduce the characters well enough?  Does the end feel like the issue has been resolved.
Once you’re finished with the edits, always read out loud what you have written.  One, it will catch most spelling and grammatical errors.  Because if you read something and it doesn’t make sense, then you will need to fix or rewrite the sentence.  After that, it’s always a good idea to take the story to a critique group.  The story is always yours to do with as you please. Writers will tell you what they liked or didn’t like and give advice for improvement, you can pick and choose what advice you want to take.  If there are several people telling you the same thing, it’s worth the while to look at that passage to see what you can change.

The next section of the this series will go over submitting your work.


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