Rowan Coleman's Friday Flash Fiction

UK author Rowan Coleman holds a status short story Friday on her Facebook page and invites all her fans to post  a short, short story of 420 characters, the Facebook status update limit.This type of writing is often referred to as flash fiction. There are even prizes for the weekly winners, which Coleman decides over the course of the weekend. This is worth a look, as some of them the stories posted on her wall are good.

When I checked late Friday afternoon, 35 people had already posted their stories. The hardest part is to figure out if you're getting close to the 420-character limit. Unlike Twitter, Facebook doesn't let you know how many characters you have left until you're at the limit. Unfortunately, I chose to write my stories in Word so that I had a character count option and could cut and paste them in. A mistake! Like Blogger, Facebook doesn't like Word formatting. Anyway, here was last Friday's effort:

The lurching bus and my nerves had done nothing for my hunger pangs, and the car exhausts were making me feel light-headed. As the light changed, I stepped off the curb. I heard a familiar sound approaching, but there was reason for alarm. I glanced to the left to see a car hurtling towards me. Panic surged from my stomach to the upward reaches of my chest. I sprang back to the curb. The car screeched to a halt.
I learned a few tricks from the previous week's winner. Number one: Keep the sentences very short, even use fragments if they help. Choose a situation that is familiar to most people. Make sure that there's tension, and of course, humour helps. Here's my second week's story:
I didn't want to go now. They would be there--the happy couple who couldn't keep their hands off each other. An excuse! I heard a car and stepped out of its way. I was ill! A flock of pigeons flew up. A death! The car sailed past. Hemorrhoids! I heard a small thud. I Iooked down and there at my feet lay a red gash amongst iridescent feathers. I just wasn't up to it!
If you can think of any other tips leave a comment. And if you'd like to try your hand at this type of flash fiction, just join me Friday afternoons on Rowan Coleman's Facebook page.


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