Since your first assignment will require you to write a short story, I’d like you to experiment with storytelling. Today, you will experiment with flash fiction.
Though flash fiction has a few variations, we will work with the format pioneered by Steve Moss, the editor of the New York Times. In this version, the story can be no longer than 55 words. (The bolded word in the last paragraph is the 55th word of this blog entry).
For this to work, we need to concentrate on the three classic elements of storytelling: plot, setting, and action:
Plot: developing a plot in 55 words is a real challenge. At the very least, make sure you have some element of conflict; the conflict does not have to be resolved.
Setting: The story needs to take place somewhere. Give us context, but be brief.
Action: Someone (or something) needs to act. Given the word limitations, you need to keep the actions rather simple. As you write, think about the nature of the actions; sometimes subtle actions carry more weight.
Let’s brainstorm some ideas that we can use in our flash fiction.