flash fiction · Writing

Flash Fiction is not a warm up!

Hey guys,

So I have been inspired by the post I shared last week (if you didn’t read it, check it out!) and I have been seriously wanting to write more flash fiction pieces.

typewriter

To many people flash fiction is merely a way of waking up the writing muse, that is, they use this huge section of writing to prepare themselves to write what they deem more worthy writing- a.k.a novels. But over the last week (okay, I have loved flash fiction since I found out it was a thing- back in 2015) I have realised that this is a type of writing all on its own and really it shouldn’t be used as a warm up.

Okay, why not to use it as a warm up:

  1. It uses a completely different style of storytelling

Where a novel you have to weave complex story arches between each other until you form a bridge from beginning to end of your novel, with flash fiction you have no time for that. You have time for one, maybe two characters, one point of conflict, and one chance at resolution. That’s it.

So when you use it to warm up for novel writing, you are putting yourself in a restricted mind-set. You start thinking of one conflict, one resolution. Which, I have found to be influential over how I write. When I used to use flash fiction as a warm up, I found myself looking at scenes and seeing only one conflict and one resolution, which made writing complex scenes more difficult than it needed to be.

2. It should be given a time of its own

Just like any piece of writing, flash fiction needs to be drafted, edited, probably re-written several times before it feels right. That being said, if you are simply using it as a warm up technique, you are leaving a mine of potential gold-piles hidden away (in a notebook or in your warm-up folder) and not spending the time working them through.

For all you know, a piece of flash fiction that you used as a warm-up exercise could be the winning entry in a competition, or be accepted into an anthology. If you just worked with it a little more.

But you wont do that because you see it only as a warm up exercise.

Okay, so what can you use to warm up?

The best answer I ever found was free writing, this is where you just stop paying attention and just let the words flow from your head onto the piece of paper. You don’t care about word choice, meaning, even comprehension. You simply get into the mind set of getting words from head to hand and out.


My love for flash fiction is growing, and seeing authors view it as a lesser form of writing hurts. Just because a novel contains more words than a piece of flash fiction doesn’t mean its better. Flash fiction holds a very special place in my heart and I hope you will begin to see it too.

Come back again for the next instalment of my ‘love for flash fiction’ series, looking at how I write flash fiction!

Thanks for stopping by guys, until next time.

Helen x

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