Flash Fiction: The Snapshots of Short Stories

The "short" in a short story has a highly varied meaning. While most submissions fall somewhere in the middle, I have read guidelines which accept short stories that are anywhere from 1,200 to 12,000 words long.

Lately, flash fiction--which is significantly shorter--seems to be gaining popularity, particularly on the Internet where readers want a quick story fix.

Flash fiction can also vary in length, but it is commonly less than 500 words. At Helium.com, the guidelines call for stories ranging from just 200 to 400 words!

Thinking Places for Freelance Writers

A.A. Milne was onto something when he gave Winnie the Pooh his own "thinking place." Everyone has their own places (or routines) which make thoughts come more easily. Thinking places may be different for everyone, but time after time I hear other writers mention that their thoughts flow freely in many similar places.

For most writers, the best thinking place is not sitting in front of a blank computer screen with the pressure of a deadline (personal or professional) looming overhead. For me, staring at a blank text document is one of the best way to bring on writer's block, or at least what I more commonly think of as "writer's slowdown."

During writer's slowdown my words aren't necessarily blocked, they are just trickling out of my mind at the speed of molasses in January--and they are exactly that cliched. Trying to write without inspiration is frustrating, but it's something that every freelance writer has to do from time to time. Quick turnarounds don't always allow time for inspiration to strike. And, let's face it, some assignments just aren't going to spark your interest.