Writing Flash Fiction | Hannah Lee Kidder | Skillshare
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7 Lessons (12m)
    • 1. Introduction

      0:53
    • 2. What is Flash Fiction?

      1:29
    • 3. The Elements of Flash Fiction

      3:13
    • 4. Writing Briefly

      1:08
    • 5. Using Imagery

      3:14
    • 6. Let's Write!

      1:02
    • 7. Course Wrap Up

      0:34
17 students are watching this class

About This Class

Join Hannah Lee Kidder, contemporary short fiction writer and YouTuber, for a lesson in writing flash fiction.

A flash fiction is a super small short story. They're a fun, challenging form to writegreat for beginners to learn with and fun for experienced writers who are looking to try something new!

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:

What is flash fiction? A flash fiction falls between a short story and a poem. Hannah explains the characteristics and requirements that make a story a flash fiction.

The elements of flash fiction. What components do all flash fiction stories need? Hannah shares a basic outline you can use to plan your stories.

Writing briefly. The key aspect of flash fiction is that it's short! Learn how to write in a condensed space with micro fiction.

Using imagery. Imagery is what makes stories compelling to read; it's what engages the reader. Learn to use the five sense to create a dynamic experience that pulls your audience into the story. Flash fiction helps to develop this skill that is used across all forms of creative writing.

Write your own flash fictionHannah will guide you through writing and revising your first flash fiction.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi. Welcome The writing Flash fiction. My name is Hannah Lee Kidder. I've been writing short fiction for about a decade now, and I just published my first collection this year. This course can be for relatively new writers or for writers who were just looking to expand into the flash fiction genre. But no matter where you are experience wise, you should be able to get something out of this course. And at the very least, you'll have a new story to workshop. So this course is gonna consist of five lessons. What ISS Flash fiction, The elements of flash fiction writing briefly using effective imagery. And then at the end, we're going to write and edit our own flash action. Each lesson has a little assignment at the end. So by the time you finish this course, you're gonna have a much deeper understanding a flash fiction, and you're also gonna have a new story, A workshop for publication writing Flash fiction teaches the importance of making every word count as well as using very effective imagery. So practicing and flash fiction is going to make you better and other forms of writing as well. So whenever you're ready, click over to the next video and we're gonna learn the fundamentals of flash fiction 2. What is Flash Fiction?: Let's go over some basics. I'm a flash. Fiction is a story that's typically under or around 600 words. Some people say it should be under 300 some say under 1000. But suffice it to say that it's a very small short story. You could say that it falls somewhere between a poem and a traditional short story. I've heard some people describe flash fiction as a poem with a plot. Some people use the term flash fiction and prose poem interchangeably. A prose poem is a poem. It takes a form of prose, so it's written in paragraph and full sentences instead of lines and stanzas. If there was a distinction between prose, poetry and flash fiction, you could say that prose poetry is more poetic. So a prose poem might work a little bit more with symbols and language, so we made everything up. So call it whatever you want clashes, such a fun format to work with because it's a real challenge to fit a full character. Our core story into such a condensed space, probably the most well known flash fiction, is thes. Six words. Story for sale. Baby shoes Never worn slash is this short or sometimes called my conviction? So the main elements of a flash fiction are the length, the character and a bit of a twist. The length is obvious of the shortness is what makes it flash. Character is a core element in any story, but by twist I mean that the ending should be especially impactful and probably surprising . The last line should be a bit of a stab to the heart. Most flash frictions are typically very sad or tragic, because for the tiny space toe have any meaning. It has to carry a very big emotion with it. Now you have an overview of what flash is. So when you're ready, click over to the next video and we're gonna talk about the elements that you need to start constructing your first story. 3. The Elements of Flash Fiction: Now we're going to discuss the elements you need in a flash fiction. This is a very formulaic way to craft a story. You don't have to do it like this. The majority of my flash fictions happened because I have an image or a line or a story in my head, and I start there and it comes out that way. However, that method is impossible for me to teach, so I'm going to show you a more structured way to construct a flash mentions. Here's a breakdown of five elements that you'll need not necessarily. Every story needs all of these, and you can probably think of a lot more to add to it. But this list is a good starting place if you have no idea where it begins, so the first thing you need to do is choose the emotion you wish to elicit. Second is to choose your character. Third is to come up with some strong, iconic imagery and forth. You want to start in the middle of your story, so with most fiction, you want to start late an end early. So pick a place in action. Maybe something weird that your character is doing and start their fifth is to develop your hook ending. So what's your twist gonna be to help you out? I broke down one of my flash fictions for my collection Little birds to help you visualize this process a little bit better. So first, by motion is tragic sadness and maybe regret. Second, my character is an older woman who lives alone. My imagery is dark and druggie with like some dead animals in a run down house. The action I start in is the woman collecting roadkill, because that's hella weird, and people don't want to keep reading it to see what's up I hook. Ending is a surprise. Let's read the story and see what happens. It's called what remains the woman's stooped, low and gathered emotionless bundle of fur in her arms. She cradled it before laying the dead raccoon into a sack that hung from her shoulder. She finished around the neighborhood, finding a flattened squirrel whose tail had fallen off. There is also what she guessed was a crow, but it was hard to tell. She brushed down the feathers and her thumb dipped into its skull. Maybe it was a young rave in, careful to hold the sack in such a way that it didn't bounce against her hips. She walked home. The rest of gate squeaks shut behind her, her spayed scraped away chunks of dirt, throwing it onto her lap and into her shoes. The sun was setting. When she finished the carefully squared hole, she laid the dead raccoon in and pushed handfuls of dirt over him. Sitting on her heels, she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand of the squirrel on what remained of the crow had their own graves and stones. When she brushed her hands on her pants and stowed her spayed, she patted through the back door in her kitchen and filled the glass with tap water. Dishes were piled in the sink, spilling onto the counter. The window above the pile was dirty and smudged, but she could still see her small yard lined with rocks. Some had words marked at the surface where she had painted names. Others were blank names for got into the bleaching son. Lying on grass where the graves had flattened and grown over. She sat at the kitchen counter. In another world, he'd be stoop down beside her and garden of flowers, not bones. A silver frame held a picture of a newborn baby. The edges charge and wrinkled. Her baby was ash long lost to the wind. She looked out the window and wondered if he was there. The mud. She stopped off her boots, the sand in the park. She imagined her son with a record swaddled in the dirt so you can see all those elements I listed in my story. And the twist ending was that she's collecting these dead animals, too. Give them burials and try to console herself about not being able to bury her infant son, who had burned in a house fire. Your first assignment is to use the five element method to develop your story through the rest of this course. I encourage you to go back to it and edit it as you come up with new ideas. Once you're done with your outline draft, come back for the next lesson where we're gonna talk about writing briefly 4. Writing Briefly: this lesson is gonna be super short, which is right on top of the main point of flash fiction is that it short writing in a small space is a huge challenge. In the first video, I mentioned to the six words story about baby shoes. That's a micro fiction. So a couple other examples of micro fictions are damned. Alliance. Actually, he showered her with roses but never asked her favorite flower. Love is forever. We came around the corner, and there they were, young lovers, hands clasped. I drew the outline. Joe directed the crowd. You can see from these examples that the title brings a lot to micro fiction, so keep that in mind. Do First impression might be that writing micro fiction is easier than writing a flash fiction, but you're wrong. It's so much harder to fit a story into 20 words that it is into 300 words. This lessons assignment is to write a micro fiction. If you can write a micro fiction, you can write a flash fiction so right a flash fiction of either six words 10 words or 20 words. This will challenge you, but it's great. Practice some tips are to not use unnecessary words. Make sure you consider every single one and make it as impactful as it can be and utilize your title after this assignment. Writing 300 words Stories will be easy ish. 5. Using Imagery: in this lesson, we're gonna talk about writing with imagery using imagery, and you're writing means writing tangibly with the five senses. So instead of just describing sights and sounds, you can get further into it with tastes and smells and touch, and you can like, combine them and work on using relatable imagery. When you use an imagery that's familiar to someone, then you can trigger an emotional response on purpose. For example, if your reader is someone who has had a younger sibling and you talk about the smell of baby powder, that's a very distinct olfactory memory, and they're likely to have memories of their childhood. So if a older sibling has a baby sibling, what er typically the emotions that come with that usually either happiness or jealousy. So, depending on how you frame it and the tone you use, you can make a reader feel exactly what you want them to feel. The easiest way to practice imagery is to practice showing instead of telling. This is one of the strongest writing skills you can develop, and once you fully understand what it means you're writing will become much stronger. Telling is when you explain to the reader how to understand or feel about something instead of just letting them experience while showing is using description to convey the same things, but in a subtler and more impactful way for examples, I'm going to use my own writing because it's easier to explain. And all of these excerpts come from my short story collection, Little Birds. So I'll read you a telly version and then a showing version and my story. Wolverine Frogs The character is recovering from an attack, a telly way to write the last lines could have been. I'm ashamed that I couldn't stop what happened. I blame myself and hate that he moved on with his life, and I can't. The rial ending that I used is the skin around my nails is still raw. I keep scrubbing them, even though his blood is long gone and replaced by my own many times over. So the second example conveys with the 1st 1 does, but it does it with concrete imagery instead of labelled emotions and abstractions. So that example is showing instead of telling what a character is feeling and thinking. But you can show when you're describing a scene as well. So my story, called wino has a character observing her bedroom. I could have said I still live in my childhood room. It's dirty and old. I wish I could move out. But what I wrote instead is the yellow tin spot in the corner of my ceiling is growing. With heavy summer rains this year stretching toward my ceiling fan, the fan is out of balance and squeaks and wheezes with every slow rotation blurring glow in the dark stars that haven't glued in years. The description I used still shows that she lives in her childhood room, and it's dingy and she's unhappy there. But it uses concrete imagery to do so to make this lessons writing assignment a little bit easier, you could read the things they carried by Tim O'Brien. If you just want to read the first few pages to get the gist, that's fine. It's a bit loan, but this story shows what the characters care about, how they spend their time and a lot of their life in situation, just by the things that they're carrying with them. This lessons assignment is super fun. Write a scene between 205 100 words that characterizes your protagonist just by describing what's in their purse or their school bag or their car trunk or the suitcase or whatever. Challenge yourself not to use exposition or labels. This is an excellent exercise and using imagery because you're forced to think of physical things that the character would have with them that characterizes them instead of just explaining who they are to the reader. Think of using the five senses when you're describing what's in their bag to and feel free to do something creative, like trigger a flashback whenever character picks up a certain object. When you're done with this exercise, come back and we're gonna write a flash fiction. You'll is the culmination of all your effort. 6. Let's Write!: Now you know how to plan a flash fiction writing a condensed space and use imagery effectively. It's time to write. A story will go back to your outline of elements and try to write a story around it. If you want to stick directly to what you first wrote or edited, or just use a part of it as like a writing prompt whatever. Where is your character from the previous assignment really resonated with you. Feel free to jump off of that senior writer flash fiction. Try to keep it between 306 100 words. After you've written your story, take the time to refine it. That's the most important part in the editing stage. You want carefully critique each sentence for word, choice and word order. Focus on your imagery tone and word choice. Convey so much in this small space, for example, think of how you can refer to a parent. You can call her mom or mommy or mother or by her first name. Each one of those effectively means the same thing, but it carries a completely different tone so you can use to different words that have the same definition. But mean wildly different things in connotation. So keep those things in mind and revise your story until you're happy with it. 7. Course Wrap Up: you, don't it? We've learned how to write in condensed spaces, use imagery effectively and formulate Lee constructive flash fiction. It might just be easier for you to start with a liner prompt and follow your heart to a short story. Whatever works. So where do you go from here? Let people read your story, collect some constructive feedback and make more edits. Don't forget to leave your homework here and comment on other people's stories. Maybe you'll find a workshop buddy. Great job. You finish the course. I'm so proud of you. Thank you for watching and you can go check out my YouTube channel handily. Kidder for some more writing content. Dubai.