How Can A Freelance Writer Benefit From Creating Flash Fiction Stories?

One of the hallmarks of a great writer is the ability to create compelling content that immediately grabs the attention of the reader.

This is true in practically any type of writing, whether it is for magazines, corporate clients, or your own blog or website. The writer who fails to keep the reader intrigued will have a hard time finding anyone who will pay for his work. Not if he wants to earn more than $5 for 500 words. And you can’t build a serious writing business at those rates.

Flash fiction is a great exercise in writing engaging content that reels the reader in and keeps him hooked all the way to the end. It is a complete story in under 1000 words.Good flash fiction has to start with a bang, raise the level of conflict, and bring everything to a satisfying close as quickly as possible.

Here are some ways flash fiction can benefit the freelance writer

Any Writing Is Good Writing – Sort Of

The most common advice I see on blogs and writing forums for writers to improve their craft is to simply write. And write some more. This is good advice, but there is one caveat: You must approach your writing critically, looking for things to improve in your work with each new piece of content you create.

One of the best ways to do this is to put your writing where others will see it. Every bit of criticism you collect on your writing is an opportunity to get better, either by improving what doesn’t work or keeping what does.

Flash fiction is a different style of writing that will help you to stretch your creative muscles in ways that you aren’t used to (unless you’re already proficient at flash fiction writing). Allowing others to comment on your work will help you stretch these muscles even more.

You Will Learn To Hook Your Reader

Getting the attention of your audience from the start is critical if you want to create compelling content that achieves it’s purpose. You don’t want to lose your audience before they have a chance to take your Most Wanted Response (MWR).

This is also important in flash fiction because you only have so much space to get the reader invested in the story. This is important in longer fiction as well, but you have more of an opportunity to make up for a poor start. If your reader sticks with you long enough.

Stick The Landing

The end of a blog post, article, or sales letter is the time to amp it up and go in for the hard close. If your reader has stuck with you to the end you know he is probably interested in what you have to offer, so this is where you need to ask for the sale.

The ending is also incredibly important in flash fiction. Here, you are selling your ability to bring the story to a satisfying resolution. The ending is often the hardest part of a story to write. If you fail here your reader may decide to write you off, even if the rest of the story was excellent.

And please, stay away from the OMG it was a dream the whole time sequence. Seriously.

Have you tried your hand at flash fiction? Let me know your experiences in the comments.

And because one of my aspirations is to be a fantasy author, my next post will be my first attempt at fantasy flash fiction. Follow me on Twitter or G+  be notified when I publish it.

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5 comments on “How Can A Freelance Writer Benefit From Creating Flash Fiction Stories?
  1. Cathy Miller says:

    I have not tried flash fiction, but your post intrigues me, Daniel. :-) Are there sites where you display your flash fiction craft? How do you give it air time? :-)

    • Hi Cathy,

      My next post will be my first attempt at flash fiction. Basically, I never heard of it before seeing it mentioned on the Five Buck Forum, so I decided to look it up.

      My original thought was to write a post announcing that I was going to attempt to write it, but that post was no fun and had no flair so I decided to scrap it and wrote this post instead.

      Anyway, there are sites out there that run flash fiction competitions and such, so I might try one of those out after I’ve flexed my muscles a bit by posting a few stories here on my site.

  2. I like flash fiction and short stories — anything that gets you out of your typical genre is a great opportunity to learn.

    I attended a session on short stories at the Willamette Writers conference a few years back. The speaker, Eric Witchey, made a strong case for using short stories to test out new techniques and genres because you can finish them quickly. Flash fiction is a way to test things out even faster.

    Nice post!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. I agree, it’s always good to exercise your brain a little by practicing different styles of writing. I think it was Vince Lombardi who said “only perfect practice makes perfect”.

      And part of perfect practice requires stretching your limits.

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