What is flash fiction?

Flash fiction is a story told in very few words. A brief glimpse of something memorable or meaningful. It might be 100 words, or 300; anything, in fact, under 1000 words can fall into the category of flash fiction.

How can you make yours compelling and memorable?

  • Write about something you really, really want to communicate, for example, the futility of war; unrequited love; how a homeless person feels.

  • Start well into the story. Make the reader imagine what has gone before. Get straight to the heart of the matter.

  • Give your reader an ending they’ll remember. Make them say, ‘Wow,’ or make them pause in silence. Make them want to read your piece again.

A prestigious prize for a story of 300 words is the Fish Flash Fiction Prize

Summary Fish Flash Fiction Prize
Judge: Nuala O’Connor Closing: 28 Feb 2016 Results: 10 April 2016 Anthology published: July 2016 Max length: 300 words
Prizes Flash Fiction Prize
Ten stories will be published in the 2016 Fish Anthology.
First – €1,000
Second – online writing course with Fish
The ten published authors will each receive five copies of the Anthology and will be invited to read at the launch during the West Cork Literary Festival in July ’16.



FROG: (cheekily)

FISH FLASH, you said.

Is there a FROG FLASH too?

(I know. The photograph is not related to Frog’s remark in any way!)





Advice from Oscar Wilde


which I am determined to heed when planning new plots this year.

1 ‘Memory is the diary we all carry around with us.’

(From The Importance of Being Earnest)

We can use our memories to fleshNew Yrs Day Looe (4) out characters, to visualise scenes, to relive emotions. Looking at photographs can help us recall things. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to keep a notebook. Jot stuff down. I’ve divided mine into two parts. PLACES, including the natural world of plants and animals, and PEOPLE. There are things in my notebook I would have forgotten if they weren’t written down. I include cuttings from newspapers, useful phrases that slip into my head at odd times, etc. Make your own categories. Take time to read through your entries.

2 ‘It is not the perfect but the imperfect who have need of love.’

(From An Ideal Husband)

I think Oscar is telling us that the people we write about, need to be real. The dashing hero, the beautiful woman, they all need flaws in their characters, things they would rather no-one spotted, or dwelt on. And conversely, even the vilest of our characters must have some saving grace, even if it’s the smallest iota of compassion, or a rare glimpse of a positive quality. Very important this, otherwise our readers will simply stop reading.

3 ‘Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest of motives.’

(From The Picture of Dorian Gray)

If New Yrs Day Looe (7)your readers understand a character and his motives, especially if these are ‘noble’, there is a good chance they will keep on reading. This is where ‘show not tell’ comes into its own. We should try and get inside the heads of our characters, and show our readers everything they need to know – their love of animals, their concern for their children, their amazing violin-playing, and so on, as well as how selfish they can be, how forgetful, or how mean. Let’s aim to make our characters real people.