I only learned about flash fiction about a year ago. If you haven’t encountered it before, flash fiction is the term for fully contained stories in a very limited number of words. They usually range anything from 100 to 1000 words. Personally, I prefer writing stories towards the upper reaches of this word limit, because it gives me enough time to establish the scene, introduce the characters and play out the plot.
It’s important to note that, while extremely short, flash fiction is not just an extract or a section of a story. Like any other work of fiction, it has a beginning, a middle and an end, but unlike a novel or even a short story, flash fiction writing needs to be succinct and to the point. There’s no room for meandering descriptions or characters going off on tangents. Short and sweet, that’s the ticket.
You may wonder what the point of such exceptionally short tales are. As a writer, I find it a fun challenge to convey a rich and detailed narrative in so few words. I grab a picture off Pinterest that speaks to me and, without having to make a huge commitment, write something about that place or that character that inspires me. It often leads to more ideas for longer stories, which is always a good thing. As a reader, I have the pleasure of being transported into a fantastical world or an interesting character’s situation for the length of time it takes me to eat a sandwich during lunch break.
While flash fiction may be extremely brief, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s easy to write. I wanted to make a commitment of posting one piece of flash fiction each week, but I found that it takes time to choose the best possible way and just the right phrase to say what I want to say in less than a 1000 words.
So, I’ll be aiming for one a month instead and I’ll include the picture that inspired me in the post. I’ve added a link to the header of this site for Flash Fiction stories where you can access them easily should you want to indulge in brief flights of fancy with me.
The first story will be out next week. I hope you’ll read along and let me know what you think.
Have you heard of flash fiction before? Do you enjoy reading it? Do you write it?