Flash Fiction: Middle

Off Camera Flash

 

A possible benefit of flash fiction is that the middle is so short. Many people struggle with middles although for me the most difficult part is cutting my middles down to size. Flash fiction emphasizes techniques that can help me do this. But if you are the type who writes your middles too short, then flash fiction middles may be easy for you.

Off Camera Flash (Photo credit: nickwheeleroz)

  • Inference: One way to cut down on words is to refer to well known events, people, or legends. Saying that a character is shaped like Marilyn Monroe saves a lot of words, as does simply saying “we were under old maritime law”, or “his life suddenly seemed a modern-day Hamlet”.

  • Telling: A key phrase in the last point was “simply saying”. The flash fiction I have looked at so contains more “tellling” than I expected. This might be because “showing” takes more words. This is one technique that is frowned on in longer fiction but the conventions seem different in this medium.

  • Obstacle: Most flash fiction I read only had one major obstacle. In long fiction, I can usually find three major complications or obstacles. Since there is only one obstacle, it is – of course – the major obstacle and needs to really count.

  • Uncertainty: One way to save words is to not resolve or explain everything. This has the added benefit of keeping the reader reading to find the answers to the unanswered questions.

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