WRITING GENRE FLASH FICTION
THE MINIMALIST WAY
A SELF-STUDY BOOK
(This is a free sample only. The entire book may be purchased from BooksForABuck.com or our distributors)
Michael A. Kechula
Copyright 2010 by Michael A. Kechula, all rights reserved.
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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MICHAEL A. KECHULA
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Welcome. The purpose of this book is to teach you how to develop genre flash fiction the minimalist way. The contents are based on what we taught dozens of novelists and short story authors when we transformed them into genre flash writers.
In a few moments, we'll define flash fiction, genre fiction, and the minimalist approach to developing flash. Before we do, here's how we'll proceed with the lessons. First, we'll tell you something and show some examples. Then we'll ask you questions. All questions begin with Q followed by a number. Many involve word reduction writing exercises.
Have a pencil and plenty of paper on hand to answer the questions and complete the exercises. Answers to all questions and exercises appear in the Answer Pages at the back of the book.
Also included is a 50 question Word Reduction Exercise to give you more practice in writing tighter sentences. Answers for these questions appear in the Word Reduction Answer Pages, which appear at the back of the book.
The book contains 10 lessons. We suggest you review Lesson-1 and Lesson-2 first. Then you may review the rest in any sequence. The lesson names and page numbers are listed in the menu on the next page.
To save space from this point forward, we'll use the abbreviation FF to mean flash fiction.
This concludes the introduction. The next page shows the lesson Menu.
1: INTRODUCTION TO GENRE FLASH FICTON
2: GENRE FF DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
3: WRITING OPENING SENTENCES THE MINIMALIST WAY
4: WRITING DIALOG THE MINIMALIST WAY
5: WORD-WASTERS IN DIALOG
6: WORD-WASTERS IN NARRATIVE PART-1
7: WORD-WASTERS IN NARRATIVE PART-2
8: WORD-WASTERS IN NARRATIVE PART-3
9: WORD-WASTERS IN NARRATIVE PART-4
10: WORD-WASTERS IN NARRATIVE PART-5
WORD REDUCTION EXERCISE
ANSWER PAGES FOR LESSONS
ANSWER PAGES FOR WORD REDUCTION EXERCISES
LESSON-1: INTRODUCTION TO GENRE FLASH FICTION
This lesson covers the following:
DEFINITION OF FLASH FICTION: a complete story told in 1,000 words or less.
Notice we said a complete story and that it must be told in 1,000 words or less.
The severe word count limitation of flash contrasts sharply with short stories that consist of 1,000 to 10,000 words, and even more so with novels that range from 40,000 upward. But there's another and greater difference that impacts authors: flash is not developed using the same techniques for writing short stories and novels. That means authors will have to learn and apply new ones. Some flash techniques will even conflict with those authors use to develop novels and short stories. Here's an example: when writing FF from the minimalist approach, we omit similes. These figures of speech are never vital to the plot in FF stories, plus they burn up precious word count. Further, some are so poorly conceived they draw attention to themselves and throw us out of the story. This has happened hundreds of times while we were analyzing and critiquing more than 6,000 FF stories.
If you're an author of short stories or novels, we ask you to suspend any preconceived notions you have about developing genre FF. If you can do this, your transformation into a FF writer will be much easier.
Q01: What's the maximum number of words allowable in a FF tale?
Q02: How does the word count available in flash compare to that of short stories and novels? Short Stories____ Novels____
Q03: When developing flash, we said you should omit ____
Q04: Give one reason for doing that?
Q05: What did we say about similes and how they affect the plot of a flash tale?
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IDEAL GENRE FF STORY
The ideal genre FF tale has the following characteristics:
Q06: List at least 6 characteristics of the ideal genre flash fiction story.
DEFINITION OF GENRE FICTION
Here's a dictionary description of genre, when applied to fiction: a category of fiction characterized by a particular style, form or content.
Here's a partial list of genre names:
To see more genre names, access Google and enter: fiction genres
Each of the genres listed above are further divided into subgenres. For example, two subgenres of fantasy are magical realism and urban fantasy. To obtain a full list of, say, fantasy subgenres, Google on: fantasy subgenres.
Q07: Genre fiction is characterized by a particular style, form, or ...
Q08: List 3 of the genre names.
The FF format works for any genre. However, the genre in greatest demand by publishers is speculative fiction. Speculative fiction is an umbrella term for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, as well as their dozens of subgenres.
The most compelling genre fiction tales have a protagonist with a quest, and one or more antagonists who do all they can to prevent him from attaining the object of the quest. Crime tales are a good example. Romance tales can also have these elements of genre fiction. Same with adventure, fantasy, and even humorous stories. The trick is to make all this happen in 1,000 words or less.
Here's a summary of what we covered so far:
Let's move on to the objectives of the minimalist way of developing genre FF fiction....
OBJECTIVES OF THE MINIMALIST WAY
The objectives of the minimalist approach to writing genre FF are: to tell as much story as possible, in as few words as possible, without sacrificing a smooth read.
These objectives will affect how you'll begin your story, how you'll develop narrative and dialog, and how you'll edit the results before submitting to magazines, anthologies, or contests.
Q09: What are the objectives of the minimalist approach to developing FF?
Let's look more closely at the implications of these objectives. We're already constrained by a rule that says we only have 1,000 words to tell a story. That's difficult enough for any author. Now it might seem as if we're making things even tougher by asking you be stingy with words. What we're asking you to do is adapt 4 minimalist techniques to meet the objectives, which are:
Let's look more closely at these techniques...
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