Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


Flash Fiction Month: Why is it useful?

Most writers are familiar with National Novel Writing Month. If you’re not, then let me explain. During National Novel Writing Month,which takes place in November, writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in only thirty days. That’s 1,667 words per day.

Flash Fiction Month follows a similar, yet vastly different concept. Whereas in NaNoWriMo you focus on one story, during FFM you focus on multiple. Thirty-one, to be exact. One for every day of the month of July. And guess what? That means that it starts today.

English: My own work. Created using "Inks...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirty-one flash fiction stories, each up to 1,000 words in length, written in July. A challenge at least as difficult as NaNoWriMo.

I highly recommend that writers try it out. Why? Well, here are just a couple of ways that Flash Fiction Month can help you grow as a writer:

  • Character Development: You have much less time to portray the characters and make the readers care about them. You have to use the limited word count available to you to make them care. If you can do that in short stories, then it’ll be a skill you can transfer over to novel-length works.
  • Plot: Short and concise. Bare basics. Beginning, middle, end. Nothing more, nothing less. Creating a story that has all these aspects in under 1,000 words is a wonderful challenge. It will help you practise plotting a story arc that works.
  • Ideas: This is one of the most useful aspects and yet so many people forget it. So, you wrote a kick ass flash fiction story, but your muse isn’t satiated. Your muse wants more. The idea starts expanding and suddenly – it turns into a novella, or a novel, perhaps even a series. Many ideas start small, but given the right conditions, can grow into something more.
  • Writing Daily: Many authors struggle to keep up their writing. Inspiration avoids them, life interferes – somehow, something always manages to come up. Flash Fiction Month teaches writers to write every day, even if it’s as little as fifty words. Writing daily is a huge step in finishing your projects.
  • Details: With a word count as small as 1,000 words, the amount you can use for details is limited. It teaches writers to show only the essential details. We care that her hair is brown and her eyes light grey. We don’t care that her hair is slicked back perfectly except for that one strand that won’t cooperate, but that she normally wears her hair in an elegant bun with strands framing her face and falling to her shoulders. In a novel, explaining that once is acceptable; it gives readers a better idea of what the character is like. In a short story, unnecessary details should be left out.

But, what matters most, is that this project and others like it give writers a chance to do what they do best – write.

Will you be participating in Flash Fiction Month? What is your opinion of it? Share in the comments!