Seven Narrative Flash Writing Tips
Mindy Hardwick reports:
"Narrative flash is a very short nonfiction story, usually about one tiny moment of a big event. For example, the moment the author heard the doctor say, 'Your dad is dying.' Even though it’s short, narrative flash has a beginning, middle, and end. It contains the elements of good storytelling including a narrator, a setting, and a plot. But, narrative flash is quick...So, how do these authors write so short?...Select an idea with a limited scope. For example, craft a story around a moment in time. Narrative flash often focuses on a moment of change, realization[,] or final action...Be sure to keep the cast of characters small. You’ll need a main character and an antagonist, but the rest can be saved for their own stories later...Titles matter. Since word counts are limited, be sure to use all the words you are given, including the title. Your title can play double-duty by giving away clues to the plot, enhancing character, or establishing setting...Begin your story in the middle of the action. Robert Olen Butler says in From Where Dreams Come, 'All plot comes from the character’s trying to get something, to achieve something, wanting, desiring, longing.' Let the readers know what that is as early as possible...Tighten your writing by eliminating the adjectives and adverbs, cutting the 'he said,' and 'she said,' and make sure you are not telling what your prose is showing. For example, do not say, 'She was angry' and then show a scene of dialogue where two people are fighting...Cut out any backstory. Be sure to tell your story in the present time. Backstory can help you, the author, know more about your characters and story, but it should be the first thing to go in a story...Finally, choose a few, well-placed details. You do not need to tell us everything about a scene’s setting. Focus on the five senses but sprinkle those details throughout the story."
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