When the Old Soldier taught writing courses at the University of Pittsburgh to undergraduates (I was a grad student on a generous fellowship) from 2004 to 2006, many of my students would hand in stories that took place in exotic, far away places filled with fascinating, quirky people.
The stories always baffled me. The problem was my students were writing about places they had never been to and about people they had never met. The stories did not hold together. How could they?
Don’t make the same mistake. Sure, we all know of writers with such great writing skills that they can conjure up places and people who can only be found in the imaginations of these writers and we believe every word they write.
Most of us are not that kind of writer.
I know you have heard this over and over again, but there is a lot of truth in the saying that “a writer should write about what he or she knows”.
I’m not suggesting that you can’t use your imagination. I’m not suggesting that you can’t make things up. After all, we are talking about flash fiction.
All I’m saying is that you will find plenty of great raw material for your flash fiction in your own life.
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