Flash Fiction: Opening

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Okay. As part of my learning about flash fiction, I’ve decided to break down the short structure into its opening, middle, and end. While some of the advice will be true for any story, some is especially important for word-limited format.

  • Character: Set up in two sentences. At least one of these sentences should be an active description. What is an “active” description? Other than it not being passive or static, the description should achieve more than one task at a time – which tasks are up to you.

  • Setting: Start with a powerful, evocative image. For instance: a sunset can mean an ending, the coming of darkness, give unusual color to the story, is easily visualized, sets a time limit.

  • Back-story: If you need a preamble, set it down in the first paragraph (not paragraphs). Become a master of the implication and unsaid. This will let you fit in more world building, back-story, and description.

  • Story: If you have a large issue, break it down. Take small pieces of it. Start in the middle of things. This is true of all books and poems but flash fiction takes the process of breaking down almost to its most basic level. One conflict is probably all the room you will find.

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