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Approaching Flash Fiction
By Chris Boss, UR Writing Consultant Writer's Web
(print version here)

First-time flash fiction writers may find it difficult to abandon conventional norms when conceiving a story. The field of flash fiction does not demand concrete plot, setting, narrative structure (i.e. exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution), or other traditional characteristics of lengthier fiction. Instead, writers may find more success focusing on a specific mood, image, character quirk, or vignette, even to the point that plot disappears entirely. Much of the tension (normally considered requisite for fiction) may be implied, or may not even seem like tension at all. As Camille Renshaw says, "There's no room for life stories. Just enough for resonance."

Real estate is at a premium. Flash fiction allows almost no margin for wasted words, and even less margin for non-essential messages. Flash fiction writers must consider the implications of every single word--both in terms of meaning and rhythmic flow--and strike anything which does not enhance the overall message.

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