Writing Excuses 5.6.01: Flash Fiction

Hey! It’s a mid-week bonus episode!

Some people complain that we are not thorough enough in our coverage of certain topics. This episode is not for those people.

Writing Prompt: Write a piece of flash fiction that can be printed on a business card. Hat tip to Eric James Stone, whose business cards are awesome.

Note: if you’re looking for something longer-winded, check out Howard on Mur Lafferty’s excellent “I Should Be Writing” podcast. We talk at length about the personae we adopt as authors and artists with an online presence. Or check out the Fantasy Authors panel at NYCC, with Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett, Naomi Novik, Deborah Harkness, and Brandon Sanderson. So long it had to be cut into two parts!


24 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 5.6.01: Flash Fiction”

  1. “Once upon a time, there was a lovely little sausage
    called `Baldrick’, and it lived happily ever after.”

    I can’t claim credit for this, it came from Blackadder, Ink and Incapability.

  2. Awesome. Although now I’m thinking you should have made the episode about epics 15 hours long.

  3. I totally downloaded this like fifteen times before I took the time to actually listen to it. Then I finally realized, “Oh wait. I AM getting the whole file…..”

    Made my day, though.

  4. I cant believe I paused TWIT to hear what you guys had to say.

    The young girl ran through the pouring rain from the insane killer, who slipped in his haste to catch her. Intent on his quarry he failed to notice the oncoming car.

  5. I already did this is a recent blog when I wanted to demonstrate “late in and early out”


    Elmer screamed, “Oooooohhhhhhhhh!” as he fell off the thousand foot cliff.

    The end.

  6. The Transcript…

    Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Six Zero One: Flash Fiction

    From https://writingexcuses.com/2010/10/12/writing-excuses-5-6-01-flash-fiction/

    Key Point: Faster!

    [Brandon] This is Writing Excuses, Season Five, Flash Fiction.
    [Howard] 15 seconds long because you’re in a hurry.
    [Dan] And we’re not that smart.
    [Brandon] I’m Brandon.
    [Dan] I’m Dan.
    [Howard] I’m Howard.
    [Dan] Be really fast.
    [Brandon] You’re out of excuses, now go write.

  7. Oooh! So, what you’re saying is that the defining feature of flash fiction is speed? And not just any speed, but high speed?

    “Vanessa couldn’t help but stare. She was not a romantic person and ‘love at first sight’ had always struck her as such an absurd notion. But now, all her previous convictions seemed to titter on the edge of the abyss. She put down the obituary, and sighed.”

  8. “Yes, Edgar left me. Terribly sudden,” Victoria told her best friend, Ethel, as they strolled through the garden.

    Luckily for her, it was seventy years later before anyone checked the back shed.

  9. “Shurely you mean “teeter” ”

    Not at all! They found the episode hilarious too!

    Hey diddle diddle,
    The cat and the fiddle,
    This rhyme is a riddle,
    So I’ll stop in the middle…

  10. Howard, I loved the interview with Mur, I’ve been a fan of ISBW for a long time.

    Thanks for the links for the NYCC Panel Videos. It was great seeing Brandon and Jim Butcher on the same panel, you got to get Jim as a guest on Writing Excuses sometime.

  11. You’re growing sleepy. Sleepy. You want to float, to float away. Your money is so heavy. So heavy. Give me your money, and you will float.
    “He kept telling me my name was wrong, so I told him it was a step sign.”
    “No, this circus doesn’t have a knife thrower.”
    When the blood seeped into the electric motor on my chair, I knew the cats had won.
    American Sign Language Lessons, Apt 12A. Call for appointment.
    Piano for Anyone!, Apt 12B. Stop by anytime!
    I remember when my mother showed me that dead people don’t bleed.

  12. That was the best Writing Excuses ever!

    Oh, I’m just kidding.

    Anyways, I’ve thought of flash fiction as from about 250 to 1000 words. Maybe my attention span is too long. Or my flash fiction. Or both?!? OH NO!


  13. The assassin found himself pacing up and down the sidewalk. He did not want to be here. By all accounts, he thought, he should not even be here. But here he was.
    Nearly an hour after sunset, he saw her. A woman came out into the night to empty the garbage alone. She had been beautiful once, he could tell, but age and worry had since taken dominance over her other features.
    “Mrs. Sloane?” The man appeared silently from the shadows.
    Mrs. Sloane shrieked in response.
    He reached a hand out to steady her. “I’m sorry. I did not mean to startle you. I should have just knocked on your door. In the daylight. Like a normal person. But…” his voice trailed off. “Old habits, I guess.”
    “Who are you? What do you want?” The woman said, still apprehensive.
    “I need to tell you a story,” he said, “Don’t interrupt. It is brief and will hopefully explain itself.”
    He had been asked to kill a man for an absorbent amount of money, he told her. He had not asked why, it was the reason people hired him. He assumed it was something business related. The execution was simple and painless. A sharp knife had been discretely slotted through her husband’s ribcage as they passed each other on that empty sidewalk. Mr. Sloane had simply slumped to the ground. Before the assassin could walk away however, he heard the man trying to speak. In gasping breaths he had said, “Please… just tell my wife… tell her I loved her.” Sloane tried to laugh and sputtered little flecks of blood, “It is so cliché, I know… but really… I don’t think she knows… not really… I wish I could think of something more clever.” His eyes faded away then into a blank stare.
    The assassin was not sure what the woman would do next. Whatever she decided to do, the assassin had decided, he would not fight or run from it. He would accept any punishment.
    The woman looked suddenly a lot smaller then. Finally, she said, “Thank you.” Then, Mrs. Sloane walked back into the house.
    In his years of work, the assassin had done many things people thought terrible, but for the first time that night he started to cry.

  14. Paul travelled the internets to learn the secrets of flash fiction. He did not find it here.

    So in all serious a real ep on this might be quite good?

  15. You put a smile on my face with your silliness. and seriousness. and everything in between.

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