SlumpBusters: An Obscure Mystery Novelist Recommends Flash Fiction for Getting Out of a Writing Funk

Prepare for some shameless self-congratulation: a story I wrote last month was just accepted for publication by Shotgun Honey, an excellent website that features crime/noir/mystery flash fiction.

Why do I care, you might ask, and rightly so.

Answer: you shouldn’t. Unless you’re a writer who is or ever has been in a writing “funk.”

If you are, fear not. I have a solution for what ails you, one that helped me break the cycle of bad writing and even worse moods. (By the way, writers tend to be moody SOBs, or DOBs, if you’re a female scribe. My old man has somewhat charitably labeled me mercurial, which is a college man’s way of saying I’m a moody SOB.)

Oh yeah, back to my point: write a flash fiction piece to help get out of a writer’s funk. Below are some bullet-pointed reasons why.


Benefits of Writing Flash Fiction

  • They’re short. No s—, Sherlock. But yeah, for those who don’t know, flash fiction stories are 1,000 words or less, and that is advantageous, particularly for a novelist struggling to break out of a funk. Because of its abbreviated length, flash fiction is a manageable goal; it’s easy to see the finish line while working on it, and when you finish one, you feel a much-needed sense of accomplishment.
  • They’re stories. Meaning they still must have a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. They must have interesting and dynamic characters. They must, on some level, “mean something.” Sounds similar to a novel, no? Also, flash fiction forces you to focus on the story, on writing a scene or scenes with no fat, no filler, no frills. That, too, will aid in your novel writing, especially those penning fast-paced mystery novels, which is what we here at MMO pride ourselves on writing, and writing well.
  • They’re fun. This is crucial because whenever I’m in a writing funk, I’m definitely not having any fun. I get bogged down on deadlines and bad reviews; I shrink under the weight of self-doubt, and whenever I wrote my flash fiction piece, all of that crap went away, and I had fun writing again, which is why I started this hobby in the first place.

So give it try. Write a flash fiction piece. Best part is, if it sucks, at least it didn’t take that long to write.



7 thoughts on “SlumpBusters: An Obscure Mystery Novelist Recommends Flash Fiction for Getting Out of a Writing Funk

  1. Congrats on getting the story accepted, Max! I was thinking about what to write for yesterday’s post and the story you’d submitted to Shotgun Honey came to mind. So, I wrote M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y and posted it here. I wasn’t thinking Flash Fiction in particular, just a short-short mystery. The result? I felt like a writer again! It’s the first piece of fiction I’ve written in months (been spending all my time promoting–I HATE promoting–the latest Mac mystery). Excellent post, and odd that it had already inspired me to write a short before you mentioned it here. Must be Karma, or “great minds think alike!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never understood “flash fiction.” Thank you for a reasonable and understandable explanation. Somehow all the other definitions I’ve seen make it seem like an esoteric haiku! So, a thousand words to play with – not a bad deal. That sounds like fun!

    Big congratulations on Shotgun Honey. I’m off to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re so right, Max. Flash fiction is a great medium for so many things…testing a new character, playing with POV, using a plot unworthy of an entire novel, I could go on and on. And it’s addictive. I’m always working on a new piece in between writing my latest novel. Congrats on Shotgun Honey!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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