Faith M. Boughan reports:
"If you’ve ever written flash fantasy, you know how challenging it can be to fit a fully-rounded story into fewer than a thousand words (or whatever word count the market you’re writing for requires)...When writing flash fiction of any genre, it’s important to keep in mind that...[some] people will happily click through a link from a friend and read a brief piece of fiction—whereas they likely wouldn’t do the same if that friend handed over a paperback. That means you have a lot less time to grab your reader’s attention, and you’re going to need to hold that attention all the way through to the end. Drop the pace or confuse the reader and they’ll click that little red ‘X’ without a second thought...If you’re tackling fantasy flash fiction, it’s important to approach the story with a different mindset: Think small. Think tight...If you forget who you’re writing for, you’ll lose your audience—or never gain one in the first place...In flash fiction, you don’t have a whole lot of space within which to tell your story. That means paring it down—focusing on one situation or incident that needs resolution. Think of it like a sitcom...[Flash fiction needs] some measure of resolution in order to leave the reader satisfied and fulfilled. This means that you should never, ever pluck a chapter or scene from your WIP [work in progress] and submit it to a flash market as a complete flash story...Taking a scene from a longer work and calling it flash almost always runs the risk of too much plot...In fantasy, readers and writers are used to dealing with a lot of characters...Are all these characters necessary? Most of the time, yes—if we’re talking about a typical fantasy novel. Each character has a role to play, and if they don’t? Presumably those ones were cut during the editing process. Even walk-on characters advance the story in some way...Take that same mindset into a piece of flash, however, and what are your readers going to do? Same thing as most of the characters in your story: Wander around looking confused until someone bothers to explain what’s going on...Readers want to make connections with your characters. Readers want to relate to them, empathize with them, and share in the journey toward growth. If you’re attempting to introduce a seven-member party in a thousand-word story, not only is it highly unlikely that each character will attain the desired character growth from beginning to end, but it’s [also] even less likely that your readers will be able to find and connect with any of the characters at all. The story will be stretched too thin over too many people—that is, if the story can even break through the crowd to make an appearance in the first place...[T]he ideal number of characters sustained by fantasy flash seems to hover around one to three individuals...Readers don’t want to know the fabric and design and trim and adornment of every female character’s dress...Readers’ imaginations will fill in the blanks where you can’t...Only describe what’s different and what matters. Everything else is filler. Leave it out...Mentioning things in your world, without offering an explanation, is one of the best ways to lose a reader...If you absolutely must worldbuild, and absolutely must include aspects of this worldbuilding in your flash piece, your readers will be best served by familiarity...Similar to paring down description, reducing the amount of the unfamiliar in a fantasy flash piece can help create the desired sense of atmosphere and tone without wasting all your storytelling space on explanations. Pare it down. Keep the basics. Eliminate the rest."
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