Keep it short. Cut to the chase. Spit it out. Just the facts, ma’am.
I’ve long been a long-winded writer, and have adhered to exactly none of these suggestions. Until I tried writing flash fiction.
It started with a workshop run by Kathy Fish (known widely, especially on Twitter, as The Great Kathy Fish), which was a game changer. Her workshops offer one inspiring prompt to write from, every day, for 10 days, and they introduce you to a whole group of writers who give support and encouragement. Pieces can be no more than 1,000 words. Sometimes less. You may have to choose from a list of words to include, or an object or image.
I went into this class utterly baffled by how to write such short pieces, but dove in and felt my way through. And I’ve gotten a few decent stories from it. And hey, here’s one of them that was just pubbed on Pithead Chapel this month!
Have you tried flash? If not, and you’re as puzzled by it as I was, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, here’s one of the best articles I’ve found for how it works:
Once you’ve chopped and sharpened and shined up those stories, here are some great journals, several of which sponsor flash contests, to submit them to.
Give it a try! And remember, brevity is the sole of wit. And, uh, never use two words when one will do. And…okay, I’ll cut it short. Write well, everyone!