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Does writing flash make you a better writer?

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NellieKendall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NellieKendall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 3:40am
Here
Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

It's great to see all of these thoughts. I asked because I was thinking about how much I've learned here. Bu I think a big part of why I'm learning is the quick feedback loop here; that has helped me learn the most.
Debating whether to do the SSC too...

Do it! I have just signed up. This is my first ever go at a) flash b) competition c) writing anything properly for twenty years. I feel like this competition has got the writing blood flowing and I’m a bit scared that if I don’t get the next thing lined up I might just stop again. I need something to keep the momentum going and I’m desperate to learn more from other writers here and the valuable feedback. Also every one of my flash fiction pieces has come in at around 2,000 words on first draft so figuring it might be cool to increase words slightly rather than slashing and burning them. Would be great to see you there, luxuriating in so many words :)
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uglypantsuit View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote uglypantsuit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 5:45am
without a doubt. Flash makes me sit down and figure out how to tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 1000 words. For comparison, the longest work I ever wrote was 750,000 words. Being forced to distill your narrative down to such a tight number of words teaches you the art -- and importance -- of brevity. It allows you to articulate your story more concisely, and given the fact most queries are judged on word count, that's an invaluable skill. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 6:15am
Originally posted by NellieKendall NellieKendall wrote:

Here
Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

It's great to see all of these thoughts. I asked because I was thinking about how much I've learned here. Bu I think a big part of why I'm learning is the quick feedback loop here; that has helped me learn the most.
Debating whether to do the SSC too...

Do it! I have just signed up. This is my first ever go at a) flash b) competition c) writing anything properly for twenty years. I feel like this competition has got the writing blood flowing and I’m a bit scared that if I don’t get the next thing lined up I might just stop again. I need something to keep the momentum going and I’m desperate to learn more from other writers here and the valuable feedback. Also every one of my flash fiction pieces has come in at around 2,000 words on first draft so figuring it might be cool to increase words slightly rather than slashing and burning them. Would be great to see you there, luxuriating in so many words :)
Mine's a similar story Nellie. I've spent my adult life studying literature and then, more recently, editing other people's writing. I always told myself I was a professional reader, not a writer. So this competition has meant a lot to me. I think I'm going to go for it with the SSC. I just added 500 words to my R3 story and it was so luxurious to be able to just say what I wanted to say. I think one thing I am learning (through error) is the scale of scene and story that I can write well within 1000 words. But having a little more space might suit my style better!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 6:17am
Originally posted by uglypantsuit uglypantsuit wrote:

without a doubt. Flash makes me sit down and figure out how to tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 1000 words. For comparison, the longest work I ever wrote was 750,000 words. Being forced to distill your narrative down to such a tight number of words teaches you the art -- and importance -- of brevity. It allows you to articulate your story more concisely, and given the fact most queries are judged on word count, that's an invaluable skill. 
750,000 words!
Alas, I have not yet learned the art of brevity, I am trying! It's so hard! Any tips?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote uglypantsuit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 6:26am
Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

Originally posted by uglypantsuit uglypantsuit wrote:

without a doubt. Flash makes me sit down and figure out how to tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 1000 words. For comparison, the longest work I ever wrote was 750,000 words. Being forced to distill your narrative down to such a tight number of words teaches you the art -- and importance -- of brevity. It allows you to articulate your story more concisely, and given the fact most queries are judged on word count, that's an invaluable skill. 
750,000 words!
Alas, I have not yet learned the art of brevity, I am trying! It's so hard! Any tips?

Yes, 750,000!!! 

My advice is to break your character arc down to basics. For example, in my round 3 story, you can summarise it as “protagonist overcomes misgivings from a past trauma to commit a heroic act.” Done. My first draft was 1600 words so I had to Do a lot of editing. Basically, if it didn’t serve my overall narrative, it was cut. Those little asides? Cut. The musing about Alaska? Cut. We know it’s cold and lonely already. The drama about his brothers widow? Had to be brutal. Byeeee.

Honestly, this is just for flash and obv you have to have complex characters, but there’s usually room to cut. PM me if you want more personalised advice and I can read what you’ve already written because I feel my advice is kinda broad lol 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 6:32am
Originally posted by uglypantsuit uglypantsuit wrote:

Originally posted by GGreen GGreen wrote:

Originally posted by uglypantsuit uglypantsuit wrote:

without a doubt. Flash makes me sit down and figure out how to tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 1000 words. For comparison, the longest work I ever wrote was 750,000 words. Being forced to distill your narrative down to such a tight number of words teaches you the art -- and importance -- of brevity. It allows you to articulate your story more concisely, and given the fact most queries are judged on word count, that's an invaluable skill. 
750,000 words!
Alas, I have not yet learned the art of brevity, I am trying! It's so hard! Any tips?

Yes, 750,000!!! 

My advice is to break your character arc down to basics. For example, in my round 3 story, you can summarise it as “protagonist overcomes misgivings from a past trauma to commit a heroic act.” Done. My first draft was 1600 words so I had to Do a lot of editing. Basically, if it didn’t serve my overall narrative, it was cut. Those little asides? Cut. The musing about Alaska? Cut. We know it’s cold and lonely already. The drama about his brothers widow? Had to be brutal. Byeeee.

Honestly, this is just for flash and obv you have to have complex characters, but there’s usually room to cut. PM me if you want more personalised advice and I can read what you’ve already written because I feel my advice is kinda broad lol 

That's actually really helpful. It makes me see the strengths in my round one story, which could be described just like that. AND it makes me see where I went wrong with my R3 story. I didn't have a basic character arc and a single action at its peak. Thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 8:39am
Yeah, you should totally do the short story competition! And here's a tip: I tried to sign up for it at the last minute last year, and it was full. Cry So if you do it, I'd suggest you go all in and 

1) Get the early-bird rate,
2) With the social media discount. 

That comes in at around $42, I think? (They charge a $2 or $3 fee on top of the $40.) I've already entered, and I think that's what I paid. But to my understanding, it's NYC Midnight's hugest competition, so you've got to get your name in. (Live and learn.) 

You could even ask yourself if your mind is oriented toward screenplays. Mine isn't, so I don't "go there," but here are the pros: way less people enter those two contests. Less competition! 

The short story competition has more variety than this one. Each round has a different max word count that decreases from round to round, and a different time frame that decreases from eight days to one day (first round to last). Ultimately, in the final round, you may as well be writing flash fiction. But the first round gives you eight days to come up with something great. That's such a luxury. 

Let us know if you sign up!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 8:43am
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:

Yeah, you should totally do the short story competition! And here's a tip: I tried to sign up for it at the last minute last year, and it was full. Cry So if you do it, I'd suggest you go all in and 

1) Get the early-bird rate,
2) With the social media discount. 

That comes in at around $42, I think? (They charge a $2 or $3 fee on top of the $40.) I've already entered, and I think that's what I paid. But to my understanding, it's NYC Midnight's hugest competition, so you've got to get your name in. (Live and learn.) 

You could even ask yourself if your mind is oriented toward screenplays. Mine isn't, so I don't "go there," but here are the pros: way less people enter those two contests. Less competition! 

The short story competition has more variety than this one. Each round has a different max word count that decreases from round to round, and a different time frame that decreases from eight days to one day (first round to last). Ultimately, in the final round, you may as well be writing flash fiction. But the first round gives you eight days to come up with something great. That's such a luxury. 

Let us know if you sign up!! 
< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_off">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_highcontrast">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_highcontrast_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_grayscale">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_grayscale_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert_grayscale">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_yellow_on_black">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_yellow_on_black_back">
Sold! I am officially signed up.
I've never tried writing a screenplay. Maybe I should try.
Excited about the 8 day challenge!
Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 9:10am
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YAY! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 9:30am
"More writing" in and of itself - regardless of format - doesn't, IMHO, make on innately 'better' as it does nothing to prevent one from doing the same wrong things over and over. You can write crappy flash, too lol

There are, however, some things about the *way we go about writing flash* that I think have an impact.

1. Writing from random prompts

Forced creativity.  It's an exercise that broadens your brain's ability to generate stories.  Once you have had a few impossible prompts, everything becomes a prompt.

2. Timelines

Having to produce a finished product on deadline is a writer skill.  Ask anyone who has half a novel in their hard drive that has been carried through three different computers as they aged out.

3. Critique

Having your work examined by someone who understands story structure and writing skills  lends insight into where your skill set lacks, what things you "can't see" in your work, and the way s that you still need to grow. 

4. Critique, Part II

Reading other peoples' work forces you to examine and articulate why you don't like something or why it doesn't work.  Learning to identify and articulate it for others makes you more able to do it for yourself. 


I'm out, but you can read Iratus' Round 2 (Ch3) story, Dangerous Energies, here!
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