Here I wanted to log my progress on story creation, by sharing the tiniest bit of prewriting I did before I attempted my first flash fiction story, a story under 500 words.

First, I decided to write a mystery, about an old butcher who knows the whole town and a watch that has some significance to him. Next, Some Prewriting:

Why does he know the whole town? He’s worked in the same shop for 60 years. Started out as a mop boy, pushing blood around with a mop at the back of the store. As a boy, while pushing around this blood, what was going on in his life? His family was struggling. It was the great depression. He was only 14 but started working there. His father, to get him this job, gave up his watch to the owner, knowing the boy working will pay for the watch in the long run. His father always held that over him, but he deeply cared for the family.

Third, with these details, I can create a story. What kind of situation will he find himself in? He finds a pool of blood coming under the door and wonders why.

Fourth, Write!

This is such a good way to practice the story writing muscle because all the moving parts should be there. A novel is no different. It’s just bigger and takes years. Flash fiction can be written in a day, the first draft in an hour. So it seems like a valuable skill to motivate me to keep working on my novel without wanting to chase a new pretty and shiny thing.