Today, the we worked on flash fiction–the shortest of the short story forms.
Flash fiction is simply a term used for very short fiction; this could be less than 100 words, or 1000 words. There is no formal definition of a maximum word count, however, it is generally understood as a complete story told in very few words. Unlike sketches or excerpts, flash fiction usually contains a beginning, middle, and an end, as well as a conflict, resolution, and characters. One thing to be careful about is to not accidentally write a summary of a story rather than the story itself. Though not all flash fiction stories have twist endings, many often do.
All this can seem rather daunting when the challenge is to keep it under a few hundred words… but it can be done. And they rose to the challenge.
It was the finest meal she had ever tasted. If only she had known what was in it.
Some chose to use it as a line in their story, while others used the general idea.
I had been watching them quarrel through the window
This sets up a few things: setting, point of view, and conflict.
Example of exercise 1 (by Jane, librarian) — flash fiction in less than 150 words:
Matilda had not told anyone about her sister’s death. She needed to speak with the family lawyer first. The day he was expected, there was a knock.
She peered out a crack in the door. “Yes?”
“Mr. Lume, at your service.”
“What are you selling?”
“I’m here about the rainiers.”
“Cherries. Your sister Maude wished them to be delivered today.”
“She says it’s imperative that she eat them on midsummer high noon.”
“High noon midsummer? But that’s right now!”
“Exactly. I must get them to her immediately or it won’t work anymore.”
“Won’t work anymore?” That sounded very suspicious. But Maude was the wittiest of her sisters, so the cherries must be very special. “I’ll take them!”
As Matilda bit into her third cherry, only then did she realize her sister was very witty indeed. If Maude could not have the inheritance, neither could she.
The teens all wrote wonderful stories; visit us again to read their stories throughout this week!
Want to join in? Our next teen writing workshop is on June 14 at 2pm, Central Library. For info, call 626-744-4246.
Maxwell, Adam. “Writing Prompts Generator.” Adam Maxwell’s Fiction Lounge. Retrieved from http://www.adammaxwell.com/
Popek, S. Joan. (2001). “Flashes of Brilliance.” Writing-world.com. Retrieved from http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/popek.shtml
[Tiny Tales example] Hamburger tiny tales by Jack, age 10. Retrieved from http://pasadena-library.net/kids/2013/tiny-tales-ppl-winning-stories/