How I write flash fiction

There’s something freeing about writing a short story, compared with a novel, and that effect is exploded when it comes to writing flash fiction. So when I was nominated by writer Lisa Devaney for the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the way I write flash fiction.

But first, something about Lisa [below] who I met at the book launch party for our mutual friend Tina Seskis, whose book One Step Too Far was published in April by Penguin. Lisa Devaney 23-5-14Lisa’s new novel In Ark is just published. It is a new genre called cli-fi [climate change fiction]. In the year 2044, Mya Brand lives in New York City and pursues her passion—trying to digitally save the life story of every human on the planet before climate change makes Earth un-liveable. Recovering from a failed marriage, she stays laser-focused on her mission. With support from her actress best friend and bartender buddy, she is rebuilding her life and trying to heal her hard shell. For more info about In Ark, visit Lisa’s blog here.

Now to my writing process.
What am I working on? I have a selection of flash fiction ideas at the moment which I am turning over in my mind. Some of my photos I will share here in my Writers BLOCKbuster series [click the heading in the ‘Categories’ heading in the right-hand column for more BLOCKbuster ideas]. The photo in my mind at the moment is this one. car wing mirror - look behind you 21-8-13 (2)How does my work differ from others of its genre? Flash fiction varies in length from one sentence to 750 words. I think the shorter the better, so I stick to 250 words. For me the constriction of words concentrates the brain in terms of – what is the story, and how do I tell it? Really, writing flash fiction is a great rehearsal for writing a longer short story or a novella.

Why do I write what I do? I principally write novels but over the last 18 months, when my mind has been occupied with finishing and promoting my first novel, I have discovered the freedom of writing flash fiction. The form suits the shorter snippets of time I had to spare for actual writing, as opposed to ‘doing the other stuff about writing’ that seems to dominate my writing life at the moment.

How does my writing process work? For flash fiction it is very off-the-cuff. I like to work from a photo prompt, this can be something I see on the street which I photograph with my i-phone. If possible I then sit down and start writing straight away, if I can’t I don’t like too much delay before I start writing or I seem to lose that first flash of inspiration. As an experiment, I took this photograph [below] and wrote five completely unrelated flash fiction stories inspired by the same picture.

Click here to read the results:-
An Apple Five Ways 1: Hers
An Apple Five Ways 2: Outdoors
An Apple Five Ways 3: Temptation
An Apple Five Ways 4: Hunger
An Apple Five Ways 5: Trainers apple 29-5-13Please let me know which one you prefer.

Next week, I am passing the baton over to three more writers:-
Novelist and poet Freya Pickard at Dragonscale Clippings Freya Pickard 23-5-14Freya doesn’t write about imaginary worlds; she writes about imaginative ones. These are worlds that could be real in a parallel universe or another time dimension. She does not promote escapism; instead she takes her readers into a refreshing place so that they return to their normal lives feeling strengthened and refreshed. Freya’s first novel, Dragonscale Leggings, is a parody of the genre she loves best; fantasy. In it, she gently pokes fun at the Arthurian legends, the common concepts of dragon slayers and dragons and how they should (or shouldn’t) behave. Devon Trevarrow Flaherty 26-5-14Devon Trevarrow Flaherty [above] is an award-winning novelist from Durham, North Carolina, USA. She grew up in metro-Detroit in an enormous extended family and was an artist as soon as she could hold a crayon. She put together her first book–with packing tape, cardboard and wrapping paper–in her aunt’s magical bedroom full of bookshelves and a roll-top desk. Now she is a full-time writer and indie publisher with Owl and Zebra Press. This year she will publish two (very different) novels: The Family Elephant’s Jewels and The Night of One Hundred Thieves. Her first novel, Benevolent [below] has won recognition with the Paris Book Festival, Hollywood Book Festival, Beach Book Festival, Indie Reader (as an Approved book) and Reader’s Favorite (Five Star Review). Benevolent by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty 26-5-14

Visit Devon’s blog, The Starving Artist, and her Facebook page. Debra Vega 31-5-14Debra Vega [above] is a writer and pop culture enthusiast. She was born in Seville, Spain when her father was stationed overseas. She grew up in New York City and currently resides in Miami. She has a degree in Film Studies and has worked as a reader for film and television companies. Her short story The Hannukah Invitation was published by Regency Press in the anthology The Winter Holiday Sampler. Two more short stories – Deadman’s Ball and Earlobe – were recently chosen for REUTS Publications’ anthology Grimm and Classic Tales (Not for the Faint of Heart). With her mother, professional astrologer Phyllis Vega, she co-wrote Your Magickal Name. Debra’s blog Moon in Gemini offers writing tips and thoughts on the writing life. It also covers various pop culture topics, both current and classic. Follow her on Twitter @DebbieVee.


  1. Great post about flash fiction. I find the writing of it has really taught me the value of words, trimmed the nasty adverbs, and made me a much more disciplined writer.

    • Thx David. I was a bit sniffy about it at first… only 250 words? But then I tried to write it and realized it is a great discipline. 🙂 SD


  1. […] Danby passed the baton to me. Here is the last stop on the tour, at her award-winning reading and writing blog. Once the baton is taken up by the next […]