Flash Fiction: Problem/Interruption

Hello SErs! Harmony here. I hope this finds you all well. This is the second in a four-part series about writing flash fiction. You can find the first part HERE if you missed it. Last time, we looked at creating your hook and giving your reader a character they care about who needs something . Today, we look at giving them a problem and writing your story beginning.

So, from last time we were left with …

Groom = wants to get to his wedding

Kidnapped Teen = survival

Psychopathic Counsellor = To inflict pain

Sociopathic Author = Fame

Now give them a problem …

(storymatic prompts further give … Fever + Rest area) = Groom wakes up in a rest area with no idea where he is.

Kidnapped Teen = survival + Discovers he’ll kill her regardless

Psychopathic Counsellor = To inflict pain + Can suddenly feel people’s emotional pain–really feel it physically

Sociopathic Author = Fame + His characters come to life

Okay, so now we have the bare bones. But we have one more thing to do before we write our beginnings … Try to write out their sentence in just twelve words. Below are some examples from what I came up with …

Groom awakens in a rest area with no idea where he is (12)

Kidnapped teen discovers he’ll kill her no matter how good she is (12 words)

Psychopathic counsellor feels agony whenever he inflicts emotional pain on his patients (12 words)

The characters of a sociopathic author come to life (9 words)

These short sentences give us a great jump-off point for writing our short beginnings. If you want your story to finish at 500 words or less, you need to get your beginning down in 150 words or less … use as few as you can. At this stage, don’t worry about polishing or refining–you can do that once you have the whole story down. Here’s my example from the kidnapped teen  …

‘Ouch.’ Tanya flinched. ‘What was that for? I’ve been good, haven’t I?’

Her captor smiled, which made him look even eviler. ‘Oh, yes, very good.’

‘So will you let me go now?’

The awful smile faded. Something much worse replaced it. ‘Silly girl. You’re not going anywhere.’

(47 words)

For the groom scenario, I’ve decided to go longer on that one and write a short story rather than flash fiction, and here’s a sneak peek of my beginning …

A big-rig roaring past pulled him from his hung-over slumber. Sick to his stomach, Mack rubbed his face, and then shoved the car door open and vomited into the dirt. The sour smell of recycled whisky mixed with part-digested burger assaulted him and made him wretch again, over and over. Wow, that had been some stag night. A glance around revealed some sort of rest area. He heaved some more. A look at his watch while wiping vomit from his mouth showed him that he had about four hours to make it to his wedding. Shit. He couldn’t miss that. She’d kill him. With his stomach emptied, at long last, he studied his immediate surroundings. Trees, scrubland behind those, and one long black-top highway for miles in either direction. Apart from the public toilet facilities behind him, he could see no other buildings or signs of life. From the looks of it, his so-called mates had left him in the middle of nowhere. Then something else caught his attention. Mack shot to his feet, his buttocks on fire. What the hell?

(181 words)

Okay, that’s it for this post. Next time, we look at escalation, where the problem gets worse and then worse some more, lol. And you get to write your story middle. Have fun!


Harmony Kent

22 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Problem/Interruption

  1. Pingback: Flash Fiction: Resolution | Story Empire

  2. Pingback: Flash Fiction: Escalation | Story Empire

  3. Pingback: Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

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