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Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes
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Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Set a timer for five minutes, select one of the more than 300 "prompts" at random, then immediately start writing and don't stop until time is up. The rules of Fast Fiction are simple; the results, liberating. By telling you what to write about ("write a story about a coward, " ."..warmth, " or ."..a whisper"), the timed exercises focus all your energies on the telling. By ...more
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Story Press Books (first published 1997)
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Roberta Allen
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Useful for more than flash fiction.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I use this book all the time in my writing classes. It's full of really great ideas. If you want to get words on the page, this is the book you need. Not just for fiction writers either. Memoirists or columnists can benefit too.
Chaz K
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cks2015reads
This is my 2nd time reading this one and it has helped me a lot with getting stories written. I discovered short shorts through reading Fast Fiction and I've loved it since.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent writespiration: solid advice coming with friendly tickles, telling the inner writer - that's you - to just get (back) to it.
The sample 'short short stories' are as helpful to read and study as are the author's tips on revising text. Something I particularly enjoyed is the tie between writing and life. Roberta Allen repeatedly suggests digging around the subconscious for the stories we truly want to (and should) tell. This approach may not be for everyone, but for me? Spot-on. The exer
Merenwen Inglorion
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t read straight through this. Instead, I used it mostly during Nanowrimo when I got stuck on my story. The prompts (the word group ones more so than the pictures) were just what I needed to get through my blocks. The story structure advice given in the beginning of the book is solid, and can be applied to both longer projects and flash fiction.
I look forward to using more of these prompts in future stories!
Augustus Jasmin
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been reading a bit about surrealism lately, and this book kind of fits in the mix since it’s basically about automatic writing. The advice makes sense and is easy to apply. The process described here may be an antidote to some of the tendencies that bog my writing down. Gotta get into more of the exercises to find out.
Lynn Ann
Carry this with me. Awesome.
Michael Morris
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Roberta Allen's Fast Fiction focuses, as one might expect from the title, on writing and refining flash fiction or what she and others call the "short short story." But she does include some information about taking these small nuggets and expanding them into longer stories and even writing novels.

The crux of Allen's method is to write for five minutes at a time, using short prompts to guide the freewriting experience. One could use what she calls a directive, such as "Write a story about a bro
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
In the first 20 pages, I did feel there was too much focus on energy and emotion. It felt like I was reading some sort of occult/self-improvement book. For example, the following quote is taken from page 12:

"Energy, feeling, and the writing process are the key words in these pages. If you learn to follow your feelings and go where the energy is, you will learn a great deal about your writing process. When you know a great deal about that, you know a great deal about yourself."

Other than that, I
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I bought this book at a time when it seemed I could barely find five uninterrupted minutes in which to write, so I thought if this is all I can do, give it a try. Now I still frequently use the exercise section of this book because I've used it to generate a lot of material. I like the five-minute focus. At first it seemed the alarm was going off and all I had to show for it were filler words. Then intensity and more concrete words and surprise after surprise on the page. Never really used much ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Roberta Allen's book has lots of good tips, and what I use all the time is her exhaustive list of "write a story about ..." topics. - e.g., write a story about sisters, write a story about something that hasn't happened yet, write a story about a color, etc. In the creative writing class I teach I use that list for homework assignments every week. For day-to-day exercises, I recommend her newer book The Playful Way to Serious Writing.
Anne Calvert
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book. It was very informative and useful. Even if one has a tried and true style of writing, I would suggest giving the 5 minute exercises a shot. It also seems very effective for writers block. This one is definitely a keeper and will be referred back to often.
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I found this helpful when I had writer's block. The time limit made it easier to write about the topics.
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