THERAPEUTIC WRITING AND USING FLASH FICTION TECHNIQUES ELSEWHERE

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Why can writing be therapeutic? I suppose because it takes you into your own invented world and, while you’re focussing on that, it distracts you from other things (even if only for a short time. Sometimes that short distraction can make a huge difference as to how you handle the situation you’re in/worrying about. When it’s a bigger life issue no amount of distraction can solve, by writing for a while you at least take a break).

You are also focussing on your characters’ needs and what is getting in the way of them having these met. One of the best things about fiction writing is the way it can help encourage your own empathy with others because as you work out why your characters are acting in the way they are, that whole process can give you insights as to why “real” people act the way they do.

 

 

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The most important skill you pick up when writing flash fiction regularly is that of editing, as I’ve mentioned before. The great thing is you can then apply what you learn across the board of whatever it is you write.

What do novelists most dread writing? The synopsis and/or blurb. Writing the book is hard work but easier! You are in control of that after all and every writer at least starts off by writing to please themselves first. Condensing your precious prose into a few well-chosen lines is not easy but taking the approach, you will treat writing your synopsis as if it WAS a piece of flash fiction, can be a way of tackling this task.

Flash stories focus on only those things that really matter and so treating your synopsis, in the same way, is not a bad way to go. Every line of your synopsis must reveal crucial information to your reader, in this case, a potential agent/publisher. It is working out what is the crucial-can’t-do-without-this information that is the really tricky part.

Here I think you need to ask yourself what are the bare bones of your novel? What are the things an agent/publisher MUST know and then leave the rest out? Flash fiction writing will help you cut out the wasted words that don’t move your synopsis onwards. Good luck!

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