How short can you write?

How to Write Flash Fiction Stories: 4 Approaches

In short, flash fiction has all the elements of longer stories, but with less “fluff.” So, the challenge of writing flash fiction lies in crafting a complete story in under 1,000 words. How should you approach the writing of flash fiction? Consider the following four approaches.

1. Ruthless Editing

Some writers might try starting their flash fiction story as a normal story, then cutting the words down. This is a common approach to writing flash fiction, especially if your story isn’t far away from the 1,000 word mark. If you think you can cut a story down after writing it, then kill your darlings—and have fun with it!

2. Plot-First

Flash fiction stories require bones before you can put meat on them, so start with the story’s plot. With a plot-first approach, you start by writing only the details of the story, without any description or figurative language. Then, once the plot is written, you fill it with details until you hit the 1,000 word mark. This “fill in the blanks” approach allows you to keep the story to its most important details while still being complete.

3. Start with Poetry

Writing fiction from poetry? It’s more likely than you think. Many literary critics consider flash fiction stories to border the lines between prose and poetry, since it uses many poetic devices to convey plot. If you’re a poet as well as a fiction writer, consider writing your story’s plot in verse, then expanding that verse into a prose-poem or prose.

4. End with a Bang

For a flash fiction story to feel “complete,” it needs to “end with a bang.” The final line(s) of the story must leave the reader thinking long after the story ends.

The end of a flash fiction story must surprise the reader in some way. Flash fiction often offers a resolution to the story that inverts themes, uncovers ironies, or offers unexpected dualities. 


Could YOU write a flash fiction story in, say, an afternoon?  THIS afternoon? Why not try it?  Take a notebook and pencil. Go outside to some shady spot. Scratch your head, put you pencil to paper and….write.


From an article on WRITERS.COM  –  How to Write Flash Fiction Stories –  by 


Photo by me.




Author: Jackie Houchin

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

8 thoughts on “How short can you write?”

  1. Jackie, thanks for an interesting post presented in “flash”-style, 365 words to be precise (thanks, Word Count!) Great suggestions all. Never tried flash-fiction, but I’ve dabbled in micro-fiction (100 word maximum) and your advice applies equally well for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As Aristotle said: there are five main elements in writing: Plot, Character, Setting, Dialogue, and the Meaning of the Piece. But he also said: Plot is the main thing. So Plot, then Bang will get that short fiction piece off to a good start Great points, Jaxon… as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, how interesting! I’ve never even thought about writing Flash Fiction, but now I know the elements if I ever decide to give it a try. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love, love this post! It not only lives up to its title, it is so succinct it brings a smile to my lips. Thank you! If I weren’t so busy writing my next book I’d try it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I keep saying I’m going to write a flash piece and this may be the push I need. Thanks, Jackie! Like a few here have said, I’ll get to it when my current story is done and submitted (short story for a contest). I enjoy the flash in Rose City Sisters.


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