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But as long as we’re writing, we must strive to produce flash fiction stories that are compelling. A compelling flash fiction engages the readers while telling a complete story using all the elements of writing with only the essential details, and then, stays on the readers’ minds long after they’d finished reading it.
How do you write a compelling flash fiction?
I’m not an expert, but I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned in writing my flash fiction stories.
- Hook your readers from the start. Grab their attention right away with a conflict, and make them crave for more. Start in the middle of the action.
- Have one or two characters only. Having too many characters will create more interactions and will mean more unnecessary words. It’s also important to stick to only one point of view.
- Show, don’t tell. Don’t go into on description and world-building. Show emotions, expressions, and actions to engage your readers.
- Create up to three scenes only. More scenes mean more complications and unnecessary words.
- End with a bang. Create a suspenseful twist in the end and leave the readers shocked or surprised.
EIGHTEEN MONTHS by Mayumi Cruz
Eighteen months ago, you sat outside the church’s steps, dressed in your wedding gown. You were crying, jilted at the altar.
I ran to you, put my arms around you and let you weep. I felt your pain. I cursed the man who hurt you.
For the days and months that followed, you were inconsolable. You barely smiled. You resigned from work. Your parents tried to get you out of your room but you wanted to stay indoors. You didn’t want to get out of bed. Your delicate heart was broken into pieces.
I knew you needed me, so I didn’t leave your side.
Slowly, painstakingly, I found ways to make you feel a little better each day. I played your favorite songs in your iPod and made you listen. I turned on the TV to a famous gag show to make you laugh. I gave you a funny book to read, which made you smile. We looked through my wacky photographs and you’d grin delightfully. When tears fell down from your eyes, I kissed them away one by one. And at night, I lulled you to sleep, murmuring “I love you” to your ear and gathering your warm body to my sweet embrace.
I was so happy when one day, you stepped out of your room to finally go back to work. Your family and friends were crying and smiling at the same time. I tagged along with you on your first day of work and saw how you loved being back in your office, mingling with old friends and meeting new ones. You plunged yourself into paperwork as a way to forget your heartbreak.
I waited for you at home every day, eager to know how your day went. And you always told me stories about your job, how fulfilling it was, how crazy your friends are, even some of your blunders and disappointments at work.
Until one day you spoke to me about him.
My heart felt a stab of pain at your first mention of his name. But I didn’t let you notice it. Day after day, I watched you drift away from me. You didn’t call me as often as before. When I called you, you didn’t hear me, or was it that you wouldn’t listen anymore? Before, you hungrily groped for my presence at night on your bed. Now you turned away from me and wouldn’t let me touch you.
One day, I surprised you at work. But I was the one surprised when I saw you kissing him. I wanted to get angry at you, but I couldn’t. I loved you too much. Without a word, I walked away, not waiting to hear your explanation. I was hoping you’d seek me out, but you didn’t.
Hard as it was, I had to accept that the day I was afraid of has finally arrived: You fell out of love from me, and fell in love with someone else.
Today, on your wedding day, you were the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen. I was so envious of your groom. I wanted to hate him.
But seeing him looking at you with great affection made me realize that he will do everything to make you happy. And that was enough for me to accept defeat.
Now I know what made me stay. I stayed because I wanted to make sure you’d go on living, that you would move on.
As I walked out of the church and out of your life, I felt for the last time the indescribable agony I suffered when my car crashed on our wedding day eighteen months ago.
And then the light claimed me, and afterwards…oblivion.
//written by Mayumi Cruz