Thursday 17 December 2020

Bury Art Museum Workshop 6 Writing a piece of flash fiction


Story often comes from the tension between characters. Some writers just like to start writing and see what happens, others like to plot in detail. But whichever sort of writer you are there is no story unless there is a problem between the characters and unless the main character has changed somewhat by the end.   

Can you now write the rest of the story that we started in the last exercise?  

Or could you get the whole of your story into a haiku?   

Flash fiction can be up to 1,000 words and as few as six. 

A reminder of story shape:

      What is the first major problem?

      Which other things go wrong?

      How do these things come to a head? What is the point of no return?

      What does your hero now have to do to get to a point of calm again?

      How does it happen?


Follow up work

You could try another combination of the characters we met.

Try using more and fewer words. Which works best for you? 

Find ideas from other pictures.  Remember also you can tell the story of minor characters from well-known stories. Make the hero the enemy, the friend the mentor etc.  Bring an old story into the 21st century.      

Student work


The Quarrel
‘I’d need a magnifying glass to see what you say is on those scales.’
‘Remember, sir, fairy dust is meant to be difficult to see.’
My client grunted. ‘How do I know you’re not conning me? I remember when those tailors conned our Emperor. Poor sod caught his death!’
I retrieved a speck of dust and flung it at my client. His clothes fell off. It was not a pretty sight.
‘Now will you believe there is fairy dust on those scales!’.

Allison Symes - July 2020


100 words

“Why are they demonstrating?”

“Something to do with wearing masks.”

Philip and Mary stood on their balcony watching the banner-waving people below.

“I need to get to work”

“You’ll be lucky, the streets are packed.”

“I don’t understand, what’s the problem with wearing masks?”

“Don’t ask me! I always wear one when I go out. It’s to do with civil rights or something. I s’pose they resent being told what to do.”

In one of those freak accidents, a fly flew up Philip’s nose making him sneeze.  The blast ricocheted off the blocks of flats.

Suddenly, the streets were empty. 


Image by S Greendragon from Pixabay 


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