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Writing Flash Fiction Can Help to Write That First Novel

Because flash fiction is such a demanding art form, the skills a writer acquires from writing flash fiction can make the writer a better novelist.

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The dream of many writers is to write, if not a great novel, at least a novel some publisher will want to publish and a few thousand readers will want to read.  A novel usually requires a commitment of months if not years on the part of the writer.  It is possible to write the first draft of a good flash fiction story in minutes.  Writing a novel is a marathon.  Writing a flash fiction story is a sprint.  What can the marathon runner learn from the sprinter?

If the writer of flash fiction knows his or her stuff, he or she will capture the action just before the resolution.  A flash fiction story is really all climax.  It let’s the reader experience the significant event and how it turns out.  That’s all a flash fiction story is.

The climax of the novel doesn’t play out until somewhere in the last third of the book.  So, how can flash fiction writing inform novel writing?

Flash fiction teaches the writer several things: conciseness of language, no unnecessary words, distrust of adverbs and adjectives, story movement, dialogue is action, action is character, unity of place and time, there must be one round character and a round character has a flaw or some internal conflict; but the most important thing flash fiction teaches the writer who is teachable is to write in scenes and that scenes are about significant events. 

A novel is nothing more than a series of scenes, a series of significant events.  It’s just that the most important scene, the most significant event doesn’t play out until the last third of the novel.

A writer can write a novel as a series of flash fiction stories that are all connected with the most important flash fiction story in the last third of the book.

The writing of flash fiction can help the novelist write that first novel.

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