The flash fiction writer must get out of the way and let the characters act out the story. Show don’t tell.
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Just because a piece of creative writing is only 200 to 1,000 words long does not mean a writer can afford to skimp on characterization. Characters represent people. Without people there is no human life. Even if your characters are not human, their behavior will be rooted in human behavior. Otherwise, why would a reader relate to your story? Of course, the point is characterization is important no matter the length of the creative work.
There are only two basic characters in all plays, movies, novels and short stories. There are “flat” characters and “round” characters.
A flat character has no internal doubt or conflict.
A round character does have internal doubt or conflict.
Depending on the type and length of the story you’re working on, both types may be necessary. Round characters carry more weight than flat characters; but if you’re writing say a crowd scene and you don’t want to spend too many words on it then a bunch of flat characters will do nicely.
The more round characters there are in a play, movie, novel or short story the better. If you’re writing a flash fiction story you may only have room for two characters. One of them had better be a round character. If both characters are flat the story will be flat.
To add even more depth to your story, make sure each character, even a flat character, has his or her own agenda. This will help you figure out what a particular character will say, do or even think about what is going on in the story.
Then put the story in motion and sit back and watch what happens. You’ll be happily surprised.
Click here if you would like to download my ebook of flash fiction short stories.