- Your starting point doesn't have to be at the beginning! I've thought of powerful last lines and worked backwards to get to that point. One advantage of this is you tend not to go off at a tangent so much. You have an obvious target to get to, which I think helps against the "tangent tendency".
- Spend some time thinking of a good title. I've brainstormed titles I liked the sound of and figured out stories from there.
- Twisting the Tale. If writing a flash piece with a twist in the tale, try to avoid the obvious twists. (Or if you must use an obvious one, put something else in the story to show that this was unavoidable on the part of the character. There should be a surprise in the story somewhere and funnily enough it doesn't necessarily have to be the twist itself. It can be how the character handles it, to name one example.
- Limit your characters. You simply don't have word count room for too many characters. I tend to use 1 or 2 characters only.
- Think about the mood/impact you want your readers to have. I have written stories (in my collection) where I've set out to make people laugh, recoil in horror and so on. Think of the mood before you write as so often a character or story could go in more than one direction. A humorous tale could be a darker one (it is all perspective, after all, and the mood you want to create will dictate how you write the story).
I'll be running a flash fiction workshop soon and thought it might be useful to share some tips. My workshop will expand on these ideas but I hope the following list might prove to be a good starting point for anyone not having written flash before. The great thing is flash can cover all genres. My book, From Light to Dark and Back Again, has fairytales, humorous and dark, crime stories, "light" horror and character studies. So on to the tips:-
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.