How to Write Flash Fiction with Ben Wolf

  1. Is flash fiction more challenging to write compared to other forms?

    The short answer is that it is in some ways, but it isn’t in other ways. By nature of it being 1,000 words or less, it’s easier to write than, say, a novel because it takes less time. However, it can be much more challenging to cram everything that makes a flash fiction story great into only 1,000 words or less. But, as with all writing craft, practice makes perfect.

  2. What are the important elements of good flash fiction?

    At Splickety we always say that above all else, something has to happen. We get lots of stories where characters are just thinking about past events, and they’re all really boring. All flash fiction needs action (as in something happening, not necessarily gunfights and explosions). Flash fiction also needs structure. Each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end (though the lines between these can be blurred). The beginning needs to hook the reader, the middle should develop the story and further engage the reader, and the end should inspire a strong emotional response within the reader.

    Tension and conflict are two essential elements in flash fiction. These things drive the story through the characters’ interactions with other characters, the setting, events, or whatever they come into conflict with. What’s more, those characters need development. They must change (or change everything around them) as a result of that conflict. In summary, flash fiction has everything a novel has, just in smaller quantities.

  3. There seem to be no rules to writing flash fiction. Do you agree/disagree? Why?

    I think that the rules are more flexible in flash fiction, for sure, but I believe that the rules that govern the craft of writing apply to flash fiction as well. At Splickety, the main rule is that the story has to be 1,000 words or less, and we’ve found 700 is really the sweet spot for publication. A very close second is what I mentioned above: something has to happen.

  4. What is the starting point of most of your short stories?

    I’m a big believer in starting in media res, which is Latin for “in the midst of things,” or as I like to say in the middle of the action (as in, something happening). I believe that the kind of fiction I write is best told (at least by me) while something is going on, and then I can fill my readers in on the backstory later on in the piece, as the story progresses.

  5. How do you manage to create memorable characters in a short story?

    That’s part of the challenge of short fiction. You have less time and space to give those characters what they need to be memorable. For me, highlighting the character’s most unique features is a good starting point. If they have an eyepatch, point that out. If they’re an average looking person with brown hair, that’s less interesting, so gloss over it or mention it quickly. I think the character’s voice comes next. Voice is how they talk—what they say, and how they say it. Obviously the more tactful the dialogue is, the more clever they will seem. Finally, I’d say the character’s actions can really impact your readers. If you set them up to believe your character will behave in a certain way and then your character doesn’t, that can make for some great thought-provoking fiction. It will get your reader asking, “Why?”, and sometimes the best answer is “Why not?”

Meet the Author

Ben WolfBen Wolf founded Splickety Publishing Group (SPG) to meet the needs of busy folks like him: people who appreciate great fiction but lack the time to read. SPG offers three quarterly flash fiction magazines: Splickety (multi-genre), Havok (speculative), and Splickety Love (romance).

Ben’s novel _Blood for Blood_ won the 2015 Cascade Award and is characterized as “bold…with nonstop tension” and “hard to put down.” It asks, “What if a vampire got saved?” His debut children’s book, _I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You_, won the 2016 Cascade Award.

You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Bolt Flash Fiction::Retelling War of the Worlds


Splickety likes to think outside the traditional box and 2017 will be full of literary retellings. The Lightning Blog is going to play the same game. Every Friday, you will be given an image and a writing prompt. You have 100 words to add to the prompt. The best entry will be featured on next Friday’s blog!

Simply link up in the comments below.


It’s us or them. They’ve invaded our space far too long and now is the time to defend ourselves. This war of the worlds has gone on far too long. 


Congratulations to Sharon, last week’s winner for her play off the classic Red Riding Hood:

Red pulled up the hood on her sweatshirt and shivered against the crisp morning air. Last night’s run-in with Wolf left her exhausted.

Wolf, what kind of name is that?

His house had been dark when she arrived last night. Vicious black clouds filled the sky. The wind whipped her hair across her face as she pushed the front door open.

“So, you’re the one chosen for tonight.” His voice penetrated the dark. Red flipped the light switch as lightening flashed across the draped window.

“I’m ready for the challenge.”

So, they wrestled, ran, lunged, and boxed until Mrs. Davison returned.

She paid Red $50.00. Next time she’d ask for more. She’d been babysitting since she was fourteen, but she’d never encountered anyone like eight-year-old Wolf Davison.


For more great writing and reading that will chill your spine and tickle your funny bone, check out Havok’s latest issue, Hallowhimsy, available now!


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Meet Rick Gualtieri

RickGualtieriHere at Splickety, we are thrilled to work with bestselling authors right alongside writers getting their first publication credit. This month the Lightning Blog welcomes Rick Gualtieri, Featured Author of Havok’s Hallowhimsey. Read about Rick’s idea of the perfect Halloween before grabbing your own copy of Hallowhimsey. But just to warn you, you might want to leave the lights on…
Do you have any projects in the works?

By the time this goes to print, I hope to have The Last Coven, the 8th and final book in my Tome of Bill series finished. From there, I have a sequel to my horror novel Bigfoot Hunters that I need to get finished, as well as several new projects to dive into.  Come this Halloween I will be writing full time and I’m happy to say I sincerely doubt I’ll have any problem filling up the hours.

What snacks do you keep on hand to munch during writing hours?
I wish. I started working out again this summer, trying to mold my pudding of a body back into some semblance of shape.  So that means very little snacks lying around while I work.  I’m the type who can’t nurse a drink or a bag of chips for that matter, so it’s best to keep them out of reach.  If I ever do cheat, though, you can be sure it’ll be with a big bag of Swedish Fish. Damn. Now I really really want some Swedish Fish.
If you could live in any fantasy world, where would you live?
That one is easy.  I grew up reading Marvel comics. I want to live in a world where an overdose of radiation, a bolt of lightning, or a freak chemical spill can give me awesome powers, as opposed to killing me horribly.  So sign me up for all the insane government projects or crazed genetics experiments you can find because, damn it, I want to be beating up super villains by mid-day.
If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose?

I’ve always had a thing for dinosaurs and things like that, so I’d choose to be a dragon.  It’s a best of all worlds: they’re giant killer reptiles, they can fly, breathe fire, and tend to be pretty smart.  Who wouldn’t want to be a 100 foot tall tyrannosaurus with wings?

What would be your superpower of choice?

If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with telekinesis.  I mean, guys like the Hulk and the Thing were always my favorites, but being able to lift heavy objects with my mind seems like it would be far superior to having to use my hands. Also there’s tons of practical everyday uses, like grabbing a drink from the fridge without having to get up, assembling an IKEA cabinet with no tools, stuff like that.  Heck, I could just lift myself and never have to worry about my morning commute ever again.

Bonus: What makes Halloween whimsical?

You know what, I don’t want a whimsical Halloween. I want my Halloween to be terrifying.  So I try to never hold back when I’m decorating.  I want to make people scream.  Kids too.  However, in a way I suppose that is kind of whimsical because it’s still a safe scare.  You might be completely freaked out, but in the end you were never in any real danger, which to me makes it a lot of fun. There are very few highs that can match that rush of endorphins after you’re scared silly.
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