Going Short is ready to snuggle and do some writing.
Prompt: Bribing the Muse: On Your Mark, Get Set…
A great trick to create urgency in a flash fiction story is by using another constraint: Time.
For almost a decade now, all my college classes have begun with a 10-minute timed writing. Timed writing is nothing new. We know that it helps us transition us into the writing space, like stretching before a workout. We know that it forces us to stay present and dig deeper—writing past where we might have naturally given up. And we know that keeping the pen moving quickly, without crossing things out or rereading, is a great way to evade the internal critic and uncover fresh ideas.
But I discovered something else through years of this practice: 10 minutes of writing without stopping is also the perfect amount of time to draft a flash fiction story idea from start to finish.
It makes sense: Flash fiction is defined by a word constraint, so why not create under a time constraint? Having that clock ticking while you furiously try to reach the end of an idea gives the piece a natural sense of urgency. And writing from the beginning to the end in one sitting also creates a sense of continuity—we see the end coming as we embark on the journey.
You can use timed writing in many ways. For instance, you can:
Set the timer while writing to a prompt.
Set the timer when you’re feeling stuck and don’t know what to write about.
Set the timer and rewrite a “flat” story from scratch while the clock chases you to the finish line (my favorite)
And as a daily practice it’s even better. Besides, you can do anything for 10 mins, right?