Writing Flash Fiction

Flash fiction writing is short and to the point.  You tell the story that you are trying to tell in fewer words than you would even in a short story.  Short stories are often pages long, while a flash fiction would really only be one or two pages.  At my school I have been participating in flash fiction and flash poetry contests since I was a freshman.

How we do it here is each student is given a list of a few possible prompts, and then you are given about a half hour to write whatever you want as long as it has to do with the prompt given.

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Here is an example of a flash fiction written by me in one of these contests, the prompt I chose was “none of them knew they were robots”:

Kyle, Lyla, and Amber were all born on October 8, 1997 and had been best friends for their whole lives.  They lived together and they shared a Father, but did not have a mother.

They knew they were different from everybody else in their school, but they did not know why.  They looked different, they sounded different, and everything about them was different.  They looked as if they were made of metal and they sounded like their voices came from computers, and for these reasons everyone at school continuously made fun of them.

There was never a time when they were not bullied.  People always called them names such as “metal head” and “mechanic man,” which confused them to no end.  They could not see the differences between themselves and others.  They could not see why everyone was so horrible to them.

One day after being pushed around and getting a large dent in her arm, Amber asked “Father, why do the other students at the school make fun of us all the time?”

“Oh sweetie, don’t worry about those people, they are just jealous of your superior intellect and how one day you will control their lives.”

“Father, we do not control anybody’s lives, if we did, we would not be treated in this manner.”

“Someday soon you will see just how wrong you are,” replied Father before walking away.

Father walked into the basement, where the kids were not allowed to enter.  He picked up his tools and went back to work on Kyle’s brain, which he had been working on for days under the pretense that Kyle was sick.  “They’ll all see soon, Kyle,” he said to his unconscious son “machines will rule the world.”

Two days later, Kyle returned to school with Lyla and Amber.  Both girls had noticed that sense Kyle had gotten better he was different.  He seemed angrier and even more violent.

After first period, Amber and Kyle walked out of their class to see a boy kicking Lyla on the ground continuously denting her.  Kyle walked up to the boy, which he never would have done before because it would be putting him at risk, and picked him up.  Kyle screamed into the boy’s face “You leave my sister alone or you will regret it,” and then walked away.  The boy left Lyla alone for the time being.

The next day, the same thing happened at the same time and in the same place.  This time, Kyle picked up the boy and threw him against a wall.  “I told you not to bother my sister again,” he said and he picked the boy back up throwing him again.  Kyle kept throwing him and throwing him, even though both Lyla and Amber were trying to stop him.

That day, when school ended and Father showed up to pick up his children, he was asked into the principal’s office to talk about Kyle’s behavior.

“Sir, your son was caught beating up another boy so badly that he had to go to a hospital.”

“Really? That doesn’t sound like Kyle.”

“Since he has never done anything like this before, I will give him three weeks suspension, but if it ever happens again, I’m going to have to expel him. You’d better have a talk with him and make sure that does not happen.”

“Of course, I would never want my son to hurt anyone; I’ll talk to him as soon as we return home.”

When the family returned home, Father took Kyle aside and said, “Good job, my son, I knew one day I would build the perfect machine that would rule the world.  Do not cause any more harm until you are told, alright? This was just a test of your abilities.”

“Yes, Father, I will do no more harm until told.”

“Good, now tell your sisters I want them to come in here, it’s their turn to undergo the change.”

“Yes, Father.”

When Amber and Lyla went into the basement, their father immediately deprogrammed them into unconsciousness and started to work on their brains, just as he had with Kyle.

“One day I will have an army of robots that will rule the world,” Father murmured to himself.

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This particular attempt at a flash fiction was chosen as a winner and shared in my school’s literary magazine, Persona, for the spring of 2014 edition.  I myself didn’t think it was very good in the beginning because of only spending a very short amount of time working on it, but others chose it and it gave me a sense of accomplishment at the time.

Flash fictions are a lot of fun, so here are a few online resources involving flash fiction: A magazine that publishes flash fiction of 1000 words or fewer, a description of what flash fiction is all about, and some possible writing prompts for flash fiction.

I hope you enjoyed reading my example of a flash fiction and that you’ll give it a try!

What experiences does anyone else have with flash fiction?  What do you think would make some good prompts?

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