Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Fun on Writer's Alley- With Lead Editor, Kimberly Duffy

What an amazing week here on the Alley. We're cranking out stories, pounding the marketing pavement, sweating at the brow and sure could use a break to chat with you. Take a minute to scroll down to this week's great Alley Cat posts 

Writers all around the world are using their favorite word processing programs (yes, you pen on paper writers are doing this too) to create memorable stories. Stories that change lives.


Think of the readers who have opened book covers and read those first stirring words that sucked them into Main Character's plight? The hours of missed sleep. The giggles. The swoons. The gasps.


Perhaps you're unsatisfied with your word count. Seriously, only 100 words? Wait! Don't berate yourself. Those 100 precious, stirring, uplifting, life-changing words mean WAY more than you could imagine. 

My guest today has a fantabulous idea how you can put to print those small numbered word counts. 

Please welcome Kimberly Duffy, lead editor for Spark Magazine, an imprint of Splickety Publishing Group. She is here to tell us about Flash Fiction.

Thank you Writer's Alley for having me today.

Life is busy. There’s kids, cooking, work, grocery shopping, and all-too-often trips to the ER. Sometimes opening up a good book feels like a vacation—which is probably the only time you have to read.

And then you’re a writer, so you must write. But what do you do when all of those kids and chores and stitches interfere, the clock has struck midnight, and you’re still scraping burnt chicken Cacciatore from the bottom of your frying pan?

Enter Flash fiction.

A story fewer than 1,000 words—complete with a beginning, middle, and end, dialogue, character development, and conflict. All of that in less than an hour.

Flash fiction is my go to when I’ve just finished a big project and need to write without pressure. It’s what I write when I want to experiment with a new genre. It’s what I read when I’m sitting in the preschool drop-off line. It’s where beginning writers go when they need to practice, increase publishing credits, and build a platform. It’s where experienced writers get their book in front of a new audience and refine their craft.

Flash fiction isn’t easy. Have you ever written a synopsis? Did you have to cut that synopsis down by half because telling an entire 85,000 word book in three, double-spaced pages seems impossible? Try telling an entire story in 700 words.

You’ve got to be ruthless with extraneous words, picky with description, and clever with dialogue. Everything must do double duty. Can two characters be combined into one? Do we really need to know the hero has a smoldering gaze and killer biceps? Can you wrap up the story three paragraphs early and leave the reader with only the tantalization of what’s to come?

Here are six tips for writing great flash fiction:
Don’t rely on telling. It’s tempting because it’s so much faster, but the same rules for writing a good novel apply to good flash fiction.
Pick a moment or scene. You can’t tell an entire story, from the meet cute to the HEA, in one or two pages.
Stick to one POV and only a few characters. Less is more with flash fiction. Let us get to know one character well, instead of just barely understanding three.
Eliminate backstory. A line or two sprinkled throughout is enough to tell us what we need, and if it’s not, maybe the backstory is the real story.
Conflict is important. Make sure the character doesn’t get what he wants until the end. It’s just as easy to put down a boring flash fiction piece as a boring novel.
Remove anything nonessential—modifiers, descriptions, adverbs, redundancies, explanations, and boring bits. If it’s not pushing the plot forward, get rid of it.

Everyone wants things that are fast—cars, phones, food, entertainment, and fashion. Most people will not read War and Peace because of the length. Many ignore novels altogether. Flash fiction is a way to capture new readers and it’s a virtually untapped—yet growing—market. So, hurry up and write something short. Something powerful. Something sweet. Something marvelous.

Something written in an hour and read in five minutes can stay with you long after you’ve finished five loads of laundry and brought your child to the hospital for another cast.

You can get e-subscriptions of all three Splickety imprints for free by signing up for our newsletter at

Kimberly Duffy writes historical women’s fiction and romance when she’s not homeschooling her four children. She’s lead editor for Spark Magazine, an imprint of Splickety Publishing Group, and a Genesis semifinalist. In her free time, she scours Goodwill for cute outfits to feature on Instagram and wishes she could drink coffee.
Kimberly's Website |  Facebook |  Instagram |  Twitter

Thank you for joining us today, Kimberly. Flash fiction sure sounds like a great way to get stories published when schedules allow less time for writing.

Be sure to tell others about Flash Fiction. 

What question do you have about Flash fiction, Splickety, or the imprint, Spark Magazine?

The Writer's Alley, a special place where writers grow, inspiration overflows, the coffee is always hot or iced, and the friendships are sweet. Invite a friend!


Sofia Marie said...

Thanks for the post! I haven't done any flash fiction yet, but might give it a try this summer!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I'm glad to hear that, Sofia. Be sure to contact Kimberly if you'd like to get involved with Splickety. And if you get a flash story published...let us know so we can rejoice with you!!

Thanks for stopping by.