Typically, a short story of 1500 words or less (including the title) that offers readers a complete plot line. It should have a beginning, middle, and end. The end can be a cliffhanger, but it should make sense and not just end, full stop. Think of “flash” as a story that captures a moment in time, explores a character’s experience, or expresses an intense emotion or humorous caper through a tightly developed narrative.
Flash poetry is less common, but it works very well for the purposes of this writing contest, if it is kept to 25 lines or less, including the title.
For excellent examples of FlAsH Fiction short stories and poetry, see the winners of the writing contest from 2021 & 2022.
Writing FlAsH Fiction (brief overview)
Audience awareness: make sure you are aware that you are writing for somebody else and not just for yourself. It is vitally important to think about your audience and how your work will be seen, read, and perceived by that audience.
Plot / Narrative for short story: Don’t try to write too much! A “flash” short story needs to be streamlined and complete so that you can include a beginning, middle and an end to a narrative. Readers want to feel something, they want to laugh, be taken on a journey (but one that makes sense and is compelling), and they want to relate to the FAH subject matter.
Sketch Characters (short story): if you’re writing about a FAH sketch character make sure you’ve watched ALL of the sketches dealing with that character so that you’re aware of the way that FAH (literally) characterizes the character. Readers should be able to tell immediately that the writer is familiar with the FAH canon in relation to the sketch character chosen for the story. For example: Barry sneaks into Anne’s garage, steals her food (often Penguins), and sits next to Oisín in school.
“Flash” Poems: It might seem easier to write poetry in this genre, but the poem still needs to make sense, be clear, concise, and relate absolutely to FAH in some capacity. This is especially important if you’re writing a personal poem. This shouldn’t be something so personal that your readers can’t relate to what you’re writing about and detailing.
Subject Matter for personal poems: obviously anything related to FAH – EXCEPT Hogwash. Please do not write about the lads’ current live show or your experience seeing the show. It’s totally fine, however, to write a personal poem about a meet & greet with FAH after the show.
Problems that often crop up when writing “FlAsH” Fiction:
Lack of knowledge about FAH and FAH characters.
Vague references to particular moments in sketches, outros or live shows that only the writer is aware of.
Wandering into a story and spending too much time setting up the action.
Being unclear about who is speaking in a story.
A poem that is too personal, so that the reader feels like she is reading a diary or journal entry.
A poem that does not have a clear concept, idea, or focus.