Shock Totem has a bi-monthly flash challenge. You would think that writing a 1,000 word flash would be a piece of cake, after all it is only 1,000 words right?
Not really. 1,000 words is only a short time to give the reader a sense of character, place, time and the situation. There are lots of things you do not have time to fiddle with. Lots of places you can cut corners.
Another thing is the prompt, it must be integral, or important to the story. Perhaps you have the following words for a prompt: Cigarette, Gas can, fire. You cannot just mention them in the story like this.
He lit the cigarette and walked out of the room
The gas can sat next to the lawnmower.
The house warmed after he started the fire.
These sentences ad to the story, but do not really have a lot of meaning. However if you use them like this:
He flicked the cigarette in the pile of clothes doused with gasoline from the gas can and watched the fire spread across the carpet.
you have a story. A who a what a when and a where. Of course it leads to more questions, but that very sentence uses all of the prompts in a way that combines all of it into a whole.
This month’s prompt is unusual, though I am not going to reveal it yet. I spent part of the work day yesterday working on my story. I had about 1,000 words but still had not gotten to the heart of it. Last night I rewrote it and I’ll have to see how long it is now. I know that I need some more paring and tweaking on it to fit the word count but I do know that the prompt is the key to the entire story.