By Leslie DeVooght
Six months ago, I had no idea Flash Fiction existed, and much less considered that it could help my writing career. All that changed at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, when I attended Lindsey Brackett’s class on writing Flash Fiction. By the end of the class, I was intrigued. When I got home, I ordered two books to learn more about how to write these stories. In case you’re like me and haven’t heard of Flash Fiction, it is defined as an entire story written in 700 to 1000 words with all the elements of a good story.
When I learned Splickety Publication’s romance imprint Spark was requesting submissions for the August issue, I decided to give it a try. These are the things I learned as I wrote and submitted my first Flash Fiction piece and why I will write more in the future.
- Publication Credits – For pre-published authors, this gets your name out there and shows agents and editors that you are a serious writer. It also demonstrates that someone in the business thinks you can write. Also, it gives you the chance to network with more people in the industry. You can also use these credits on your book proposal.
- Build an Audience – If you have been in the writing business for more than a minute, you have heard about building your platform and your audience. Flash Fiction gives you a way to reach people with your writing. When your book is published, you will have a built-in audience, excited to read your full-length work and recommend it to their friends.
- Experiment with a Different Genre – Although most of your work should be in your genre, Flash Fiction gives you a chance to step out of your comfort zone and exercise your creative muscles. For example, I write contemporary romance, but for my Spark piece, I wrote a historical romance story. I kept the location similar to my contemporary romance series but was able to give my readers some more details and history of the area. Also, as I researched and wrote, I decided that one day I would write a full-length novel set in the same time and place.
- Practice writing Succinctly – When you are limited to 700-1000 words, every word counts and must do double duty. There is very little room for back story. Adjectives and adverbs must be replaced with strong verbs and nouns. It will help you edit your longer works and learn what can be eliminated. When I began editing my full-length manuscript, the wordy parts seemed to be highlighted, and I had new strategies to combat them.
- Complete a Project – When you are writing a full-length book, sometimes it seems like you will never reach your word count. Some days you just need to finish something. I can spend an hour writing a rough draft for one of these short stories, and it will get my creative juices going, so I can complete a scene in my longer work. Sometimes it will give me an idea of how to deal with a part of my book that has been causing me trouble. Because I write about a specific location, it also helps me come up with better analogies and descriptions.
In case you’re curious, my piece Croquet Kiss was accepted for publication by Spark. If you get a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it. Hopefully, you will be inspired to challenge yourself and write your own Flash Fiction story.
Leslie DeVooght sets her stories in Georgia’s Golden Isles, her hometown. Her novel Island Love is Elementary, a 2017 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, garnered awards at the Florida Christian Writers Conference and Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Leslie loves cheering on her children and dates with her husband, who loves that she researches kissing. Visit Leslie at www.lesliedevooght.com.