For best results, learn and use the definition of Concise.
Concise: Writing that uses few words to say much. Concise usually implies that unnecessary details or verbiage have been eliminated from a more wordy statement.
Flash fiction is a popular genre for many reasons, I know it's one of my favorites. Some readers don't like the short shorts--the flash. They say they aren't important nor are they real stories. I disagree. I believe it takes as much or more skill to write flash as it does to write novels. There's no room for wandering, for extra details or to wait to 'get to the good part later'. A writer of flash knows what he wants to do and does it concisely. It takes real skill to pull it off and it's admirable.
You might keep flash in mind when you're considering publishing something. Magazine editors like it because it leaves more room for advertisements. It's popular with readers because it doesn't take much time to read. Relaxing with a good story over lunch break is a snap with flash. It's popular with writers because it doesn't take long to write, but more important—it's fun.
Taking advantage of the flash fiction contests is a smart way to get in some writing practice time and have fun with it. Most contests use a prompt so you're a step ahead in the creativity area too.
One of the most common issues I see while reviewing is wordiness. Writing Flash can be a useful tool to combat the clutter and develop the skill of recognizing when a word isn't needed. The low word count is a perfect teacher for learning the ins-and-outs of writing tight. Writers will learn conciseness by avoiding words that only add to the word count without moving the story forward. They learn how to choose one good descriptor instead of five. Adverbs and adjectives are kept to a minimum. The result will be a fast moving, tension-filled story.
A flash story is complete by itself, but it would be an important scene in a novel. In simpler terms, it lets the reader experience a significant event and how it turns out.
Since flash requires the same elements as a regular short story, you can see how important it is to make every word count. The character will be complete, including having a flaw or obvious internal conflict. It needs a beginning to the climax and the end needs to resolve the problem. The character will experience some sort of change. When you can do this in a 1000, 500, and 300 word story, you'll be able to do it in a novel. I suggest you begin with the longer 1000 word limit and as your skill improves, move on to shorter ones. This makes it easier on you.
Getting all of this into a limited word count isn't easy, but it's the most fun way I've discovered to practice writing. You'll improve all your work, from flash to multi-volume novels if you practice. When you're bored or stuck, or you just can't think of anything to write, search out a Flash contest and give it a whirl—you'll love it!
You're learning the Craft of Writing--enjoy the journey!
Thanks for reading,