If you've never dabbled in flash fiction before, it's a great way of dispelling writers' block. Better still, flash fiction teaches a writer to be economical with words. When you decide on the length of your flash fiction, stick to it religiously. The word limit is usually between 50 and 500 words and you must tell a complete story within your word limit. Here is an example of flash fiction using one story and three different word lengths. I suggest you start out with 50 words. Make each word count and not only will this exercise enhance you writing, it will also force you to edit and then edit again. The strict word count is the important factor. On the 500 word limit I spent as much time editing as I did writing.
Hooray Sadie Gray is Dead
Leaving the crowd Sadie headed home after a very long and dull day at work. Nothing about life interested Sadie. Unconsciously she counted the ninety broken paving slabs to her inherited home. Death and rebirth took less than a minute as the grey of twilight exploded into glorious preternatural light.
Two Hundred and Fifty Words
'Hey Sadie Gray.' she heard the voice and was shocked. No one said her name out loud. Invisible Sadie, grey Sadie, sad Sadie. Never in her life had Sadie been part of the world. As a child she had lived inside the old grey house with matching old grey parents. Other children played in the street, not Sadie, her mother disapproved of almost everything except cleanliness and the bible.
'Sadie Grey come out and play' the voice was coming from the garden. Something was strangely familiar in that voice, a long buried memory came to Sadie. A boy, the Irish boy who lived in the run down boarding house. Their gardens had backed onto each others throughout her lonely childhood.
'Come on Sadie Gray I'm waiting' as Sadie peered into the darkness, the clouds that covered the moon suddenly cleared, and a figure stood staring up at her window. In her head Sadie could hear her mother's voice telling her to come away from the window. Whatever her mother said to the boy, he'd never looked up at her window again. Invisible Sadie had lived through her lonely childhood, buried her parents and stayed locked up in her lonely world for the last thirty years.
'Last chance Sadie Gray' she hesitated. Throwing caution to the wind, Sadie raced out of the house then stopped dead. The boy she remembered watching was long gone from the world. Looking death in the eye, Sadie dissolved into a whirlpool of blood and pain.
Five Hundred Words
Sadie Gray turned the corner carefully avoiding the cracked paving slabs that formed a path to the dilapidated Victorian villa she'd inherited from her parents. Reaching the solid front door, Sadie paused as she always did, daring herself not to enter, daring herself to change. The hall, as usual, smelt slightly of damp and lavender. For thirty-two years four months two days it had always looked, felt and smelt the same way. In Sadie's life nothing ever changed, all things continued on and on, with nothing to break the monotony. Sadie had long ago given in, taken the path of least resistance and joined the ranks of the dull, tedious masses born to follow a well trodden path into the grave.
Sadie slowly slipped into the comfort zone of her bed, drifting off as soon as her head hit the pillow only to be woken a moment later. Singing infiltrated her subconscious and echoed over and over inside Sadie's sleep befuddled brain. Sadie heard the voice inside her head, bouncing off every wall in her bedroom and moving her from the warmth of the covers into the cold of the night.
'Sadie Gray, Sadie Gray, come out and play, Sadie Gray' he sang over and over, the moonlight shining as bright as day. 'Come on, Sadie, invite me in, it's cold out here and I'm hungry.'
'Last chance, Sadie Grey' he shouted while she hesitated. Finally something, she thought as she ran downstairs feet bare and caution thrown to the wind.
Sadie opened the garden door for the familiar stranger 'Invite me in Sadie, I've come to set you free' he said, smiling with bright white teeth and eyes shining like the moon.
'Please.' Sadie whispered as she stood aside in invitation.
'Dull, dead Sadie, you should have stayed in bed.' he said, reaching for her throat.
She felt the tendons in her neck tighten as he forced her back, his ravenous teeth the pale flesh of her neck leaving a gaping, pulsing portal into her soul. Pain as bright as lightning and sharp as a knife sliced through her, electrifying every nerve in her body. Pleasure merged with screaming agony as life, however dull, became death.
'Hooray Sadie Gray is dead' the vampire sang, as he walked down the street, invisible in the sunrise. Last of her blood, the final mortal remnant of the monster who made him. Revenge a dish best served cold had been delicious, he smiled. He'd searched the world and found the path to her door cracked with age and neglect. The vampire happily sang himself into oblivion.
This is my favourite writing exercise and I usually do it about once a week. Have a go, the worse thing that can happen is that you will have a 500 word short story to post here.