Tip #20 Start Your Readers in the Middle of the Action

Do these openings work? Does it let the reader jump into the story?

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (1967), Gabriel García Márquez

”It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” THE BELL JAR (1963), Sylvia Plath

”My suffering left me sad and gloomy.” LIFE OF PI (2001), Yann Martel

From Writer’s Digest on Starting Your Story: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/10-ways-to-start-your-story-better

#19 The Scream, Think Like a Painter and Capture the Moment 

From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream

This is a famous painting by the Norwegian Painter, by Edvard Munch. He wrote in his diary in an entry headed “Nice 22 January 1892”, Munch wrote:

I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

The_Scream.jpg

How many stories could you write from this one painting? Is one good painting worth a thousand stories? This painting takes one moment from the artist’s life and he paints on his canvas. It’s the right moment, and it’s the perfect moment in the story. 

For your story, find one moment and make it into a perfect painting inside your brain. Then you can write your own story from the painting in your mind.

Tip #19 No Long Winded Introduction

Info dumps. I hate them. Sometimes just because the writer knows everything about the world. They are excited to share it and share it and share it. It’s good for a writer to know their characters backstory of every character. The complete history of their world…all ten thousand years of it. It doesn’t mean all of needs to be in a novel. Wait, if a good novelist doesn’t info dump on their reader why would a flash fiction writer? There’s no way it can take place in your story. Limit your info dumps.

Here are other rules for science fiction and fantasy writers shouldn’t break:

Tip #18 Narrow Down the Story. Then Narrow It Down Again. And Again.

A Flash Fiction story needs to be narrow. In one hundred words a writer can’t write about the end of the world. I couldn’t even write about so many things. How did it happen? Who are our characters? How does it make them feel? What’s the timeline?  What has caused the world to end? It’s just too broad for a flash fiction writer like me. I can only focus on one thing. A doorbell during the apocalypse. Is that narrow enough for you? Think skinny. Think narrow, and think small.

But I could write a story about a doorbell and what happens after it’s pressed. 

Title: When The Doorbell Rings

When the doorbell rings, the dog doesn’t bark and the cat doesn’t jump.

When the phone rings, the husband doesn’t wake and the wife doesn’t stir.

When the barricade is breached, the children don’t cry and the neighbors don’t run.

When martial law was declared, the National Guard didn’t fight and the zombies didn’t flee.

Her’s an article about how to narrow down your topic:

Tip #17 Become a Published Author Faster

You want to become an author, but sometimes it takes a long time. Most publishers won’t read unsolicited work that hasn’t been seen by an agent first. Submitting a manuscript takes months. Getting published might take years. Flash fiction is much easier and quicker to sell than a novel and a short story, and it’s a first baby step into the world of publishing. Fame and fortune. Probably not. But it’s a step in the right direction. 

I have always thought of it as crossing a stream. Your goal is to get across and become an author, but first you have to stick your big toe into the water. The water might be a little cold, but if you keep taking enough steps you’ll eventually get across.

Here’s an article from the Huffington Post, Starting Your Writing Career: Become A Published Author In Six Steps:

Tip #16 Use Flash Fiction to Jump Start your longer Fiction Career

You dream of writing novels, but you don’t want to jump into the literary deep end right away. Start small write flash fiction before you write your longer story. 

I recently watched a video with the artist Tracey Emim. A lifetime spent as an artist, she even even starts with a small drawing in her sketchbook before she tries to tackle her larger works. It’s not a bad idea to write a flash fiction story before you write your larger work.

I have ran seven marathons in my life. I didn’t start by running 26.2 miles. Some people can do it, but I’m not one of them. I had to start with a smaller story before I attempted writing a novel. Maybe it’s a good idea for you too.

Write a flash fiction first. It’s like a training run for a novelist. Those training miles will add up. You’ll see.

Here’s an article about the writing the best flash fiction: 

Tip #15 Write 30 Stories in 30 Day

I delayed this book to take this challenge. I decided I was going to write 30 stories and 30 days. I did this challenge in September 2018. It was Dean Wesley Smith who might have been the first to do it, and he wrote 30 stories in his own challenge, but he also wrote the blurbs and designed a cover for each of them. 

Here are his stats:

My results. Not as impressive as his, but I did get one story out of it right away and sold it to Blaze Ward’s Boundary Shock Quarterly (a great publication).

You can find Boundary Shock here:

Okay, I am sure I will go through the other 29 stories in a few months and see what I got. I am sure I’ll like a few and hate the rest, but hopefully, I can come up with another collection of stories. Only time will tell the results of this challenge, and maybe I will try it again next September. 

Are you going to give it a try? It was fun for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for you. I look forward to trying it again someday.

Tip #14 Write 11 Flash Fiction Stories In 11 Days

Happy Christmas!

I could have asked you to write 7 stories in 7 days, or I could have asked you to write 10 stories in 10 day. It doesn’t matter. Pick a number of days and write one story per day. It will get easier. The hardest story to write will be the first one. The easiest story to write will be the last one. Don’t believe me. Okay, what if you only wrote 6 stories in 7 days. You failed, right? No, I would disagree. You would have 6 new stories. Go to your friends, spouse, or significant other  you wrote 6 stories this week and watch for their reaction, and it’s okay to pat yourself on the back.

Here’s an article on LitHub’s website:

11 VERY SHORT STORIES YOU MUST READ IMMEDIATELY