Flash fiction. This is something you may be hearing about more and more – particularly if you have found a site like the one you are reading right now.
But what is it?
Essentially it’s a short story. Ok, a short, short story. The exact maximum word count for a flash story seems to vary. Generally, however, it is a story under 1,000 words. And most flash fiction is in the 600-800 word range.
And yes, it is a story. Good flash fiction has all the elements of story telling: a sympathetic protagonist, a theme, captivating action, conflict, which preferably results in a changed main character or – even better – a changed, more enlightened reader. (om)
Is this possible in less than 1,000 words?
Yes. (That’s the short answer.)
In flash fiction, brevity rules. Compared to the novel, novella and regular short story, flash is like an espresso; a shot of whiskey; a quick bite-sized snack.
A story can be condensed to its bare bones essence, and still emit powerful feelings in the reader.
Few words, great impact, that’s flash.
So why is it cool?
In today’s day and age, let’s face it, we are inundated with an oversupply of information, and yet so often feel undersupplied with time.
We all have the endless emails, texts, and the familiar ‘bing’ of the Smartphone calling us to be ‘on’.
To take ten minutes and actually be able to read for pleasure; a story you know you will be able to finish in one sitting; a story that can take you away from your daily routine; a story that might give you a new perspective, a smile, a renewed sense of happiness: that, to me, is cool and satisfying.
We need the narrative. I don’t know why. But we do. Throughout our history, we have valued the storyteller, to pass on our learning’s; to feel connected; to be human, I guess.
Flash fiction feeds this need, and does so in a flash of time.
I encourage you to check out more about flash fiction. There are many good flash sites online, where you can both read good flash, and try your hand at submitting your own.
For a comprehensive listing of sites accepting flash fiction, check out:
And, I would be remiss to not shamelessy mention my own eBook of flash fiction!! :)Check out Flash Bites: a few short, short stories. Only 99c and available at most eBookstores including: