So far in our Short Story/Flash Fiction post I've discussed 'word economy' and 'tags.' If you've missed these post and want to review them click here.
Today we will discuss story structure. Yes, even if you are only writing a 400 word flash fiction story, you still need structure. You need:
A Beginning: Here you introduce your character(s).
A Middle: What's the conflict?
An End: Wrap it up.
No story is complete without these three essential ingredients. If you are taking an excerpt from an existing work or a work in progress, keep in mind as you edit to fit the word count that you must have a Beginning, a Middle and an End.
In other words:
Introduce your character to the reader. We don't need long descriptions about what they look like, or what they are wearing. We need to get in their head and better yet, we need to feel what they are feeling. Show us the character while we experience the story through them.
Something troubling this way comes. What is the character worried about? Does a rock suddenly fall on them? Or do they see a love interest chatting with another woman or man? Perhaps someone close has died or is dying. What struggle are they faced with.
Finally, a good conclusion is necessary. In other words, no cliff hangers.
How do you do all this in 400 words or a little more? With word economy. Di-sect each sentence pulling only what is essential and put that into the story in the most interesting way you can. Remember, 'Word Economy' is a tool and has nothing to do with your Voice. We will discuss Voice next Monday.
Any questions? I hope this helps.