FCWC BLOG

Using Flash Fiction to Test Your Ideas
4/28/2017 9:00:00 AM by: Tez Brooks

 

“Why didn’t I think of that?” I stared at the book in the Disney store. A twisted “what if” take on a beloved story of a street rat, a villain and a genie.

I hadn’t written in three months, but as I placed the novel back on the shelf, my mind was awhirl with flash fiction ideas. There is nothing new under the sun, but for some reason I often feel I need to write something brand new—create a story nobody has ever dreamed.

Often, all it takes is to piggyback off a story everyone knows about, breathing fresh air into it. Flash fiction is a fantastic way to wake up your muse—an easy route to experiment with your idea and see how it’s received.

Whether you’re looking to write an article or a full-blown novel, flash fiction teaches you how to write tight and efficient. Plus if you love closure like I do, flash fiction launches you away from writer’s block to get some completed stories under your belt and off your brainstorming list.    

So what’s the best way to go about sponging from another tale? I like to begin with my childhood favorites and work from there. Do you have a favorite nursery rhyme or song that had fun characters? How about an old television show or nationwide news headline from 10 years ago?            

Now give it a twist. Write a sequel or a prequel to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. What if Tarzan was a deadbeat dad? Suppose Noah’s wife was afraid of water?        Do you like to write tear-jerkers? Consider what might it have been like for Lorelei Gilmore to die during childbirth? If you like humor, try throwing together the cast of Seinfeld with some zombies.

Brainstorming those “what-if” scenarios can supply you with a heap of new story ideas. But being diligent about knowing your characters and their pre-written story is key. Readers already know a lot about the character, so do your homework.            

Include a few “Ah-ha” moments where the reader can either be reminded or foresee something in the future that they remember from the original story. While it’s true, anything goes in fiction, it’s probably not a good idea to make Santa a convicted pedophile.

You don’t want to distract the reader so much they can’t enjoy your fiction.        

Short of a few copyright infringements, most of your piggybacking should be relatively pain-free, especially if you’re creative enough to allude to certain characters without saying their names. We all know who Nemo is, but I dare you to tell me I can’t create a quasi-sequel about a clownfish with a gimpy fin who grows up and meets a little redheaded mermaid.                                     

Previously written stories, poems, songs or current events are rich with content for creating flash fiction spin-offs.

Hitching a ride off another story is a fantastic way to plow through your writer’s block and refresh a stale story. Who knows, it may very well turn into your next novel.                                      

Now it’s your turn. Pick a topic below and see what story you can create in 600 words or less. With titles like these you may be tempted to make it humorous. I’d like to challenge you to make it a serious story. Go for it.

  • Downton Abbey burns to the ground, who is the lone survivor?
  • What if your mom is Mother Nature?
  • At age 50, Rapunzel is diagnosed with male pattern baldness.
  • Humpty Dumpty goes on a blind date with the Easter Bunny.
  • Edward Cullen is elected President.
  • Princess Leah and Hans Solo visit Earth for their honeymoon.
  • Adam and Eve’s first day outside of Eden.
  • Wonder Woman is a 14 year old with acne and boy problems.

Enter to win! If you do choose to take us up on this challenge, email your 600 words or less flash fiction story to wordsbyandylee@gmail.com. Subject line: FCWC Flash Fiction Contest,

Guidelines: Double Space, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, and attached Word Document file to the email.

Deadline: May 27, 2017.

Winner will be announced June 2, 2017 with the winning story posted that day. (If you win, then you can call yourself an award winning writer! Can’t wait to read your stories!)

 

Award-winning author Tez Brooks, has appeared in The Upper Room, CBN.com, Clubhouse, Cru.org and more. His book, The Single Dad Detour (Kregel) was a winner for the Royal Palm Literary Awards. Tez is a mentor for Word Weavers International and is a member of American Christian Writers Assoc., and Florida Writers Assoc.  He and his family reside in Orlando.

 

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Comments

Katie R Dale From San Antonio, TX At 4/29/2017 8:46:50 AM

Are you limiting us to those bulleted plots at the end of this article? Or are those just examples of jumping off points?

Reply by: Florida Christian Writers

Absolutely not! Those are just suggestions to help get you started. Sorry for the delayed reply.

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