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Flash Fiction & Sharks by Allison Symes Flash Fiction and Sharks Flash fiction has changed my life. What is it? It is any story up to 1000 words maximum though you don’t have to write to that count. I’ve written to 100 words, 50, 750, 1000 and almost everything in between. Although the form is short, it must be a story with a proper beginning, middle and ending.

CafeLit loved my flash fiction.

Flash fiction is character led because you don’t have room for lots of description so I must make my characters show you what I want you to see. I’ll share an example later.

Chapeltown Books, who are linked to CafeLit, then issued a call for a single author flash fiction collection. I knew by then I had a reasonable amount written and, along with new material especially written for this, I had enough to submit.

It is a form I discovered by accident after escaping “sharks” on my writing journey.

You can imagine my joy when I was offered a publishing contract!

Happy Writing Accident Okay, the writing accident where you end up with two books to your name is the kind of accident to have but how did this happen?

The Sharks Now wind back the clock a few years. I was offered a publishing contract for a novel, but the offer letter was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and this rang alarm bells. I couldn’t believe what the publishers were trying to charge me to bring the book out and realised if I self-published, I could do it cheaper and keep my rights. I would also do a much better job on the spelling and grammar!

I’d been writing standard length short stories (1500 words +) for Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, and a few other places. I was having work published online and in print. Then CafeLit issued a 100 word challenge. My first thought was you must be kidding me. There’s no way you can tell a proper story in that tight a word count.

Every writer wants their work published but not at any price. It must be to a good standard. I knew, despite having dreamed for a long time of being published, I wanted my book out there “looking good”. I worried if the offer letter could be shoddy, the publishers would be the same with the book.

My second thought was go with it, Allison. They wouldn’t have issued the challenge if it was impossible. What have you got to lose? The answer to that was nothing. -8-

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