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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: In a Flash (Version 2)

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by: Eric Petersen
Posted on: January 20, 2002
Reposted on: January 19, 2003
Reposted on: January 18, 2004
Reposted on: January 23, 2005
Reposted: June 18, 2006
Reposted, revised: July 22, 2007
Reposted on: October  26, 2008
Reposted on: January 3, 2010
Reposted on: February 13, 2011
Reposted on: February 9, 2014



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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a flash fiction story that includes a beginning,a middle, and an end. One or more characters must be involved.
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A flash story must begin immediately and move quickly toward the end--no long descriptions, no unessential words.  The goal is to present a single effect resulting from a single cause. The character(s) must experience and react to events, and the outcome must be swift.

Use your own ideas or write a flash story based on the following scenario: a man notices a curious object abandoned on a park bench and investigates it. The object could be a toy that brings back happy or unhappy memories that cause him to make a choice, a document that sends him on a quest, or anything else that sets the story in motion.

Flash stories may be from 100 to 1,000 words long; publishers vary in their requirements. In this case, we chose the middle ground.
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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a flash fiction story that includes a beginning,a middle, and an end. One or more characters must be involved.
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Critique: Did the story "grab" the reader and move quickly? Did the author meet the basic requirements of a short story? As always, consider all aspects of the writing.


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.