Getting Started In Flash Fiction

Until this year, I had no idea what flash fiction was. Having looked it up, I’m still not sure I know exactly what it is but I know it’s short.  Longer than a tweet and shorter than a ‘short ‘story (however you define short!) seems to be the only consensus. But given a word-count and a theme, I thought I’d have a go at writing one and entered ‘Forty’ into a writing competition to celebrate author Rebecca Emin’s birthday. You can read all about the competition, how it developed and the winning stories on on her blog at

There were 39 entries in all and I was pleased to make the shortlist of 14. How good is that?  It got even better today when I found out I’d come joint fifth.  Normally joint fifth doesn’t jump out, but for someone who’s just starting, that’s great encouragement.   Two groups of people I don’t know read my story and liked it.  And that’s what writing is all about.

Flash Fiction – ‘Forty’

I can’t move but I can breathe, for a while at least.  I know people are looking for me but the air is running out and I’m losing body heat.  How many minutes left; twenty, thirty minutes; forty at most?
‘Forty, it’s only a number’ I said a few weeks ago.  ‘Life begins at forty’.  I wasn’t sure I believed it but I said it anyway.  I should be at home surrounded by friends and drinking champagne.   Instead I wanted a ‘challenge’.  Now the only thing on ice is me. I remember the avalanche hurtling towards me and a fall that lasted forever.
It’s so cold. I don’t know how long it’s been; I can’t see my watch.  What are my odds; twenty, thirty, forty to one?  I’m feeling tired but I know I shouldn’t sleep.
It’s warmer now.  I can see myself.  The room is packed with people and equipment.  I’m the centre of attention like a birthday boy at a party but there is no cake nor candles.   I am wired to machines.  They are worried about my heart rate.  I don’t need to look at the screen.  Some numbers stay with you, for life.
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