My First Flash.

Fiction people! Flash fiction. Drag those minds out of the gutter please. 😉

So, true to my word…okay so I’m a few blog posts late with this, but I did say I was going to try more to focus on the actual subject of writing on the blog and keep my word count down to under 2000. (So spectacularly epic fails all round there.)

Well, well, well, you lucky people. Guess what?

This week, not only am I going to actually provide you with some writing with this piece of flash fiction, (my first ever proper piece, so please be honestly brutal with your thoughts, as I need to learn) but, as such, it’s going to come in at way under 2000 words! Yay! The story itself comes in at 295, but of course I’m just going to ramble on up here for a while otherwise people might think they’ve come to the wrong blog .

Some time ago I blogged about a day out with my little one, whereupon I’d stumbled on a real life story prompt. You can read about that here if you missed it.

A few ideas for short stories bubbled away but nothing concrete. Then last Friday I was doing my usual, that is playing Friday Phrases on Twitter, when an idea came to me. I tweeted my micro-fiction FP and then decided I’d like to try and turn it into a piece of slightly longer flash fiction. Now I’ve never done flash fiction, other than playing FP which is mega short micro-fiction but this idea seemed perfect for a small piece of flash.

So I wrote it. Gave it to some good people to look at. Turned 400 odd words into 300 then 585 and then back down to the final 295 you see here. Flash Fiction is definitely, definitely a challenge. Especially for someone as verbose as me. Anyway see what you think. Gulp.


The canopy of early autumn leaves in the woods offers little shelter from the torrential downpour. Yet there is no other place to go.

Tara turns over the tiny pair of red shoes in her shaking hands. All she has left of the son she was forced to give away. She’s kept them, even after all these years.

Reaching for the bottle lying next to her, knowing there’s nothing left of that either, she drains the final non-existent dregs of gin. The burning at the back of her throat replaced by a lump of guilt and bitter tears.

She fumbles at the latch of a small wooden box, the first thing she ever had to call her own; now the last.

She prises out its contents.

The needle of the brass-encased compass wobbles and comes to rest, pointing west.

Long forgotten words from another time whisper through the leaves.

“You have no choice. A better place, a more hopeful future, lies out there. Somewhere.”

Sleep comes.

One shoe falls from her grasp.


Today a wash of pale blue glances between the trees’ naked spindly fingers. Autumn’s colour long since drained. Only bleached-out hues of brown and grey remain.

A biting wind drives in from the north, stinging Connor’s skin despite the thick layers.

Among the carpet of sodden leaves a tiny splash of colour catches his eye.

He moves in closer.

An upturned, rotting box.

A weathered emerald-green bottle.

A rusting compass; its needle jammed, pointing west.

And a small, faded red shoe, half buried in the mulch.

Just where she said it would be.

He picks it up and turns it over in his hand and heads home, west, knowing now for certain he was never truly abandoned.



Filed under Writing

11 responses to “My First Flash.

  1. lesha738

    I really liked it! Great description, I could feel her sadness. Nice twist at the end. 🙂 I think I’ll go for a walk in the woods now, maybe I’ll find some inspiration. Or poison ivy 🙂

  2. Well done, J!

    You’ve used distance and colors together to amp up the emotion:
    “Today a wash of pale blue glances between the trees’ naked spindly fingers. Autumn’s colour long since drained. Only bleached-out hues of brown and grey remain.”
    Coming in far with pale hues, then zooming in close with more vibrant shades:
    “A weathered emerald-green bottle.
    A rusting compass; its needle jammed, pointing west.
    And a small, faded red shoe, half buried in the mulch.”

    In addition to the challenge of trimming down the word count, you’ve taken on the task of offering two different POVs. In such a short piece, that’s difficult to pull off, but you’ve done so brilliantly. There is no doubt in my mind the degree of anguish and longing Tara feels, or Connor’s certainty and determination. This is one of those pieces that really tugs at the heart strings.

    Your first flash fiction? pft…. It’s lovely ❤

    • Do you know what I LOVE about this response Jess? It’s that you’ve told me *why* it works and that is so valuable so thank you so much. All that stuff you said, is more by accident than design, in so much as I didn’t realise that’s what I’d done, i.e using distance and colour to ramp up emotion. So I know now I can! 😀

      And yes, this really is my first attempt. I promise. I think I’m going to delve into my old FPs and try a few more at some point now. Thank you so much for your positive and, more importantly, useful feedback. It really means a lot from you, as you know what you’re talking about when it comes to flash fiction and as a self confessed editing queen! Really means a lot, thanks. x

  3. Very good! I love flash fiction – both reading and writing it. It makes the reader’s imagination do more work, trying to fill in the possible backstory. You convey the sense of sadness very well in this short piece. 🙂

  4. Congratulations, this is such a poignant piece of flash fiction. Now you’re in the groove, have you seen the weekly flash fiction challenge over on the Carrot Ranch?

  5. Very cool. Looks lik a lot of fun! I think I might give it a try some time!

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