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Maythe
04-09-2013, 10:00 PM
I'm pretty new to writing and reading Flash and I've just rough-drafted a piece in which not much happens. A young woman sits in a tree, watches some badgers and goes home when the badgers run off. Woo, the excitement. :P I'm aiming to capture a mood, rather than have a real 'story' going on here. Perhaps it's a little more like poetry than a short story.

Do you think that's acceptable in Flash Fiction or should something definite happen?

LeadHead
04-10-2013, 02:04 AM
I'm not sure if this is the general consensus but I think it's fine if not a lot happens. As long as you're trying to impart something to the reader whether it be a feeling, a mood or excitement in the form of a story then I think anything goes really.

Spell-it-out
04-10-2013, 02:32 AM
I'm pretty new to writing and reading Flash and I've just rough-drafted a piece in which not much happens. A young woman sits in a tree, watches some badgers and goes home when the badgers run off. Woo, the excitement. :P I'm aiming to capture a mood, rather than have a real 'story' going on here. Perhaps it's a little more like poetry than a short story.

Do you think that's acceptable in Flash Fiction or should something definite happen?

Hi Maythe,

Something happening doesn't have to be physical, maybe your character learned something from watching the badgers? :D I know, sounds crazy. I think stories are stronger if something or someone has changed during the course of it. That's just my opinion.

Myrealana
04-10-2013, 06:13 PM
It's not really a story if nothing happens. It's just a scene.

The story can be small or large, but there needs to be a point where something changes - or is given the opportunity to change and does not.

If your young woman doesn't learn anything, make any decisions or take action, I don't think you can call it a story.

Of course, there's the classic flash example:

For sale: Baby shoes. Never used.

Obviously, that story has no action, decision or change, only the implication of events in the past.

Maythe
04-11-2013, 08:23 PM
I think at the beginning of the piece she feels part of the wood, like she belongs but in the end she leaves because she realises it's the badgers place not hers. So I guess something changes in her. Conveying that change subtly but effectively is the challenge. Thanks everyone for the advice :-)

M.Luminos
09-01-2013, 09:13 PM
To me, as I understand it.

Flash fiction is supposed to be like poetry, Use as little as you can to mean as much as you can.

Make the largest emotional impact using few words.

Gena_Skyler
10-15-2013, 11:14 PM
Hey, I'm new to the board and learning already. I've heard of drabble, but I've never heard of flash fiction. From what is being said here I'm guessing it is just really short fiction. But how short is it?

humble writer
11-05-2013, 08:03 PM
I'm no expert but I think something should happen, how would it be a story if nothing happens.

Izz
11-07-2013, 02:03 AM
Hey, I'm new to the board and learning already. I've heard of drabble, but I've never heard of flash fiction. From what is being said here I'm guessing it is just really short fiction. But how short is it?Flash fiction is typically a story of 1000 words or less :)

Beasley
11-21-2013, 02:13 AM
To me, as I understand it.

Flash fiction is supposed to be like poetry, Use as little as you can to mean as much as you can.

Make the largest emotional impact using few words.

This makes a lot of sense to me and reinforces why I like flash fiction.

starrykitten
03-16-2014, 08:52 PM
I also think one of the beauties of flash is that you can pick up anywhere you like--before, during, or after something big happening--and focus on whatever part you can render in the most compelling way.

Or you can just have more quiet things happen.

Jarlath
08-22-2014, 07:00 PM
I'm pretty new to writing and reading Flash and I've just rough-drafted a piece in which not much happens. A young woman sits in a tree, watches some badgers and goes home when the badgers run off. Woo, the excitement. :P I'm aiming to capture a mood, rather than have a real 'story' going on here. Perhaps it's a little more like poetry than a short story.

Do you think that's acceptable in Flash Fiction or should something definite happen?

I really enjoy writing flash fiction due to the fact that my self drive and ability to work on anything for more than a week is severely limited by the fact that I'm a complete balloon. But whenever I write pieces I quite like them to almost not have a "story" as such, as you were saying. For me it's more important to have left a certain impression on the reader. I'm perhaps not articulating myself well, for example I wrote a piece about the breakup of a marriage in around 1700 words. What I wanted to talk about really wasn't about infidelity or divorce, but about the nature of love (yeah I know how pretentious that sounds). To that end I focused less on any particularly exciting story but more on how I could convey a certain message in as few words as possible. I hope my opinion doesn't come across as too ridiculous haha.

snowpea
08-22-2014, 07:29 PM
I'm pretty new to writing and reading Flash and I've just rough-drafted a piece in which not much happens. A young woman sits in a tree, watches some badgers and goes home when the badgers run off. Woo, the excitement. :P I'm aiming to capture a mood, rather than have a real 'story' going on here. Perhaps it's a little more like poetry than a short story.

Do you think that's acceptable in Flash Fiction or should something definite happen?

That's called slice of life, and it's pretty common in short stories.

Threak 17
09-03-2014, 11:05 PM
Something is always happening, whether you notice it or not.

aguywhotypes
09-04-2014, 04:38 PM
Did something happen? Yes,
What?
1. She sat in the tree
2. She saw the badgers passing by
3. She went home

I think the question you need to ask yourself is:
Is what happened interesting or not?

Fruitbat
09-04-2014, 08:51 PM
Sure, it can work. Flash can be many different things. I agree with aguywhotypes, the question would be "Is it interesting?"

Also, Jarlath, "I'm a complete balloon?" LOL! I'm stealing that!

Evan Henry
09-10-2014, 06:11 AM
I think the short answer is "Yes." The long answer is, kind of. Without character development driven by conflict (or at least characters who experience conflict) what you have isn't really a story. It might be a great starter for a longer piece, but I'd have trouble classifying a short story in which "nothing happens" as a story at all. That's vignette/drabble territory. For me, warmups! :)

Gregg Bell
10-04-2015, 03:03 AM
I would say it depends. Whatever you write is your art. Period. Thrill yourself. If it's watching badgers it's watching badgers. It's sacred. If you're writing for others, then you might want to give it more of a story form (beginning middle end) because that's what most people expect and find most satisfying.

Quinn_Inuit
11-15-2015, 09:35 AM
I'm pretty new to writing and reading Flash and I've just rough-drafted a piece in which not much happens. A young woman sits in a tree, watches some badgers and goes home when the badgers run off. Woo, the excitement. :P I'm aiming to capture a mood, rather than have a real 'story' going on here. Perhaps it's a little more like poetry than a short story.

Do you think that's acceptable in Flash Fiction or should something definite happen?

Badgers? BADGERS? We don' need no STEENKING BADGERS!

OK, now that I have that out of my system, I hope you'll allow me to suggest that you're coming at this from the wrong direction. It's not so much whether something happens, but whether there's conflict. And, by conflict, I mean: something has a goal, and something else is preventing that thing from achieving that goal. Conflict is the essence of drama, and without conflict I don't think you really have a story. You just have description.

That said, conflict is broadly defined. All you really need a is a goal of some sort and something thwarting that goal. That's hard to fit into a thousand words, which is why flash fiction is so difficult, IMO. You have to establish a setting, one or more characters, their goal, their obstacle, and the result, all in a tiny little space.

p.s.w. gear
11-24-2015, 01:08 PM
I hope you'll allow me to suggest that you're coming at this from the wrong direction. It's not so much whether something happens, but whether there's conflict. And, by conflict, I mean: something has a goal, and something else is preventing that thing from achieving that goal. Conflict is the essence of drama, and without conflict I don't think you really have a story. You just have description.

That said, conflict is broadly defined. All you really need a is a goal of some sort and something thwarting that goal. That's hard to fit into a thousand words, which is why flash fiction is so difficult, IMO. You have to establish a setting, one or more characters, their goal, their obstacle, and the result, all in a tiny little space.

You're presenting a very strict definition of what a story is. Flash Fiction is a technique that allows you to go beyond (or before) the construct of character-conflict-struggle-goal. Going sub 1,000 or 500 or even 200 puts increasing limits on how traditional a story you can tell. Your implication seems to be that if it's not traditional it's not a story. (I realize I'm putting words in your mouth, so apologies if I'm going beyond what you said.)

The smaller the word count, I think the more appropriate successfully conveying simply an emotion or thought is. One could even say that successfully conveying emotion is such a small word count is the central conflict. Of course then the meta is perchance a bit a much :tongue

Glyax
11-25-2015, 12:42 AM
Hello, so I am new to Flash Fiction as well... learned about it last week, and dove right in. That being said, with regards to something needed to happen...I've sampled a good amount of Flash Fiction in a short amount of time, and I've got a split consensus. Some of the stories had actual progression, and a story, with named characters, events, something you could follow. Others though, described a scene, and event, and while timewise it was frozen like a moment, the 'story' that moment told, was the tale itself.

Additionally...might I recommend reading some of Lovecraft's work? Since some would aquate Flash Fiction to some of his works...it is unique

SandySimonton
04-20-2017, 03:43 AM
Hello, so I am new to Flash Fiction as well... learned about it last week, and dove right in. That being said, with regards to something needed to happen...I've sampled a good amount of Flash Fiction in a short amount of time, and I've got a split consensus. Some of the stories had actual progression, and a story, with named characters, events, something you could follow. Others though, described a scene, and event, and while timewise it was frozen like a moment, the 'story' that moment told, was the tale itself.

Additionally...might I recommend reading some of Lovecraft's work? Since some would aquate Flash Fiction to some of his works...it is unique

I don't think anything needs to happen, but if nothing is happening, make sure it is clear that your intent is to put the reader into the scene, not to tell a short tale.

Lovecraft: First read Dagon, then From Beyond, then you can read anything. Those are both short but nice introductions to his style. My favorite HPL story is The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but the story that contains I think the best first liner he ever did (maybe read this one first?) is The Thing on the Doorstep.

divine-intestine
07-21-2017, 06:57 PM
I don't think anything needs to happen, but if nothing is happening, make sure it is clear that your intent is to put the reader into the scene, not to tell a short tale.

Depends on how you define "nothing happening". A flash fiction follows the three-arc structure just like short stories and novels, but is heavily reliant on symbolism due to the more restricted word count. Without the conflict-resolution you'll have a vignette, which is not the same and will usually be rejected in an editor's slush pile.

porlock
07-25-2017, 10:25 PM
I've written and judged on some flash fiction contests on other sites and I can say the ones most satisfying (and often who won) have had some kind of action, at least a character or two with at least some kind of conflict. As far as what is being published, look up flash fiction sites and read what is being accepted. What works on one site may not work on another.