Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlash


Flash Fiction + Photo = Photoflash

Do you want to kickstart your flash fiction into high gear?  Using photos as inspiration for your flash fiction gives your writing the double whammy kick in the pants it might need. Writing short bursts of flash fiction can also jump-start your writing mojo and make your regular prose taut and clean.

How Do I Write PhotoFlash?

When you start, don’t think too much about what your writing.  Consider it a free-write. Look at the photograph and just go with your intuition. Then you can peel off the layers until all you’re left with are the essentials. Less is more.

Mirror lake,sonoma lake,a.k.andrew,,flash fiction,photoflash,photography

Mirror Lake

“Did my actions mirror my thoughts? I had the intention, but the boundaries were so unclear I pushed them to the point of invisibility. She put up her hand to stop me from speaking and walked away before I could finish my excuse.”

How Long is Flash Fiction?

Definitely 1000 words or less, others say anything under 150 words. Sometimes as little as six words can tell a story. The most famous, and arguably the first six word story was by Hemingway.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”

In recent years flash fiction has become a recognized and well respected form of the written word.

Jon Jefferson regularly writes excellent flash fiction on his site under the category Quick Beats. There are also loads of six word stories on Another source if you want prompts, is from IndiesUnlimited. They give a weekly flash fiction prompt, along with other great resources  for indie writers. Also check out


Can you add a line or two of flash fiction to this photograph? What does the image make you think of?

Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. 

Many Thanks!

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  1. Reflection, perspective and composition in quiet harmony until humanity splashes in the water sending ripples to every shore. Is it a day to throw others in the lake and watch, or a day to dive in and be seen ?
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  2. I’ve never attempted to write flash fiction. I do like the idea of using a photograph to build on an idea of a story. The fact that I take a ton of pictures means I could find a ton of ideas to write about.

    I agree with you about Jon. He is a prolific writer and very good at flash fiction. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Everyday Life Challenges: StoryMy Profile

    • Flash is really fun to write actually. It can kind of be any length you like, though the shorter it is the harder to build a complete story. As you’re such a visual person Susan, using a photo or a drawing as inspiration would be perfect. Look forward to seeing the results. Hope you’re feeling rested:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  3. I’ve never tried flash fiction myself. It just seems like a lot of pressure! LOL I love Jon’s stuff and often marvel that he can pout out such an enormous amount of work.
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  4. I have never tried Flash Fiction either. Never heard of term before. Actually, now that I think of it maybe I have done it before. I wrote a fiction piece once for a school exam. The subject was provided and you had to write about it. I had no idea what the examiner was talking about so just wrote a story around what I though I could possibly attach the subject to. Pure fiction but it got me through.
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    • Thanks for the comment Tim. Although it’s a well recognized form these days, it’s ot necessarily as widely known with that label as it were as other things like ‘the short story’ etc. So just think of it as a short piece of fiction. as you say, it sounds like you have already written some flash fiction yourself. Well done!
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  5. I love flash and short fiction. Sadly, I haven’t been successful with anything so short as 6 words.

    I regularly use photos and paintings for inspiration, and have files on my computer where I collect all sorts of images to use for later story inspiration. In fact, I think I may have more picture prompts than I do word prompts.

    Thanks for the shout out. It’s always appreciated.
    Jon Jefferson recently posted..Kalamazoo Brewing Company #sessionMy Profile

    • You’re very welcome on the shout out Jon. Inspiring to see someone putting out short fiction on such a regular basis. Have to say the six word flash is a bit of a challenge. Tried it once but It was so awful, my memory has completely obliterated the subject matter. In fact to complete a whole story, which obviously my response to the photo is not, even fifty words is tough, though manageable. Thanks for the prompt over collecting images, as I’ve become lazy in my own collecting. They are so readily available, then I have to search for ages when I want a specific thing.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  6. Have to admit I had never heard of Photoflash before. Why didn’t lecturers at university mention it when I studied English and American litterature? Hemingway was part of it so they could have mentioned his famous Photoflash:-)
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  7. Well, like they say A.K. a picture is worth a thousand words. I have done this in my private writing for many years but never considered that it had the name photoflash.
    I’ll be sure to check those links.

    I love the Hemingway quote. Tears immediately filled my eyes, as I reflect back on the loss of my first child 30 years ago.

    Kind Regards,
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  8. I like the idea of flash fiction, but have never really fallen in love with it. Using photos for prompts is a great idea though. More and more, I find myself going out and about to take pictures to jump start the writing half of my brain.
    Jeri recently posted..#WriteTip: Be Specific When Writing ReviewsMy Profile

    • It’s not my first love either. In fact I like the idea of it more than I enjoy writing it. That said , I think its a good challenge for a writer to be so succinct. I guess in the same way a poem distills everything down to a few carefully chosen words. Now words and images- that’s a different matter. Much more my thing than flash.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  9. Never tried this creative idea! Flash fictions demands creativity and a sensitive approach, I guess! It is interesting how a picture can narrate the entire story with as few as 5-6 words.
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  10. I find flash fiction very interesting but not something I could ever do – I tend to digress a lot which uses many words.However, as I was reading this I was trying to come up with a six word story – couldn’t do it, I’m afraid, but will keep trying. Thanks for an interesting post.

  11. Love it! Here’s my stab…

    The horizon lay close, like a sleeping form in sheets of silk and sky. He was afraid a ripple on the water might wake her.
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  12. Oops, was that supposed to be 6 words? Oh well, guess I’m no Hemingway.
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  13. Hello

    This is really a nice idea to take photographs and write but writing only six words is really hard for a person like me.
    I have never done or thought of this before.
    A crystal clear sky , never touched. 🙂
    I do not know if it satisfies the condition , but this is what came in my mind after watching photo that signifies peace , calmness and clearness.
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  14. I’ve never tried flash fiction. It does seem interesting though.
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    • Thanks for stopping by. It’s definitely worth giving it a try if you’re into writing at all. But reading it is fun too.

  15. <>

    BTW, love photos of reflections.
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  16. I have never attempted Flash Fiction since I basically have no imagination. LOL However, I do like the hints on free writing. It’s like Jeri’s writing prompts.
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  17. No imagination!!! Hardly Cheryl. free writing is my favorite fall back. Kind of lazy in a way , but it’s been very fruitful for me. Thanks for stopping by:-)
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  18. They were bogged down on the wrong side of the pass and unlikely to escape. He fought his fear by remembering the still beauty of the pond on the other side.

    Not what I would normally write… or even think, but it popped into my head after I followed your direction. Great post. 🙂
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  19. For me the photograph brought back memories when I was younger and would love to go to Yosemite and see Mirror Lake. It displayed serenity. Flash fiction is an interesting concept
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    • That’s interesting it brought back memories from when you were younger – perhaps you went somewhere similar. But we all respond to images differently, I think in part because of past associations. It really was a serene spot that particular day. Maybe you’ll try some flash fiction yourself sometime. Thanks so much for stopping by:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  20. Hi AK: I don’t know much about flash fiction. But I do know that I love that photo of Mirror Lake!
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  21. Hi A.K.,

    I’ve never even heard that term before so of course I’ve never tried it. I don’t write for pure joy though so taking a picture and writing something around it is not something I would spend my time on. I think though if I did write for the enjoyment of it that would be a fun way to start. I need to seriously get out more! LOL!!!

    Thanks for introducing me to this. It’s kind of cool actually.

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  22. Now flash fiction is something I think I could do. Maybe. At least I think I could write something short about a picture. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as lovely as the words you wrote though!
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  23. Very interesting, A.K.! I love how you use a photo to inspire the free write.

    Being a visual thinker and learner myself, I can really be inspired by images. I think that’s why I love including visuals in my writing. I think it gives the reader more to chew on.
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    • Thank you again for a comment Doreen – not sure why commentluv flagged up this post twice!
      I think we’re coming from the same place on using visuals that’s for sure. Good to see you as always:-)
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  24. A.K. — that Hemingway “story” is absolutely chilling. Six words that grab us by the throat and make us wonder what the back story is. Here is my 6-word flash fiction for your image:

    “Wade in the lake. Solitude forever.”
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