Definitions abound. I’m going to give you mine. Flash fiction (or micro fiction) is ultra-short fiction, usually under 1000 words. Some publications that specialize in flash might require even fewer words than that (I’ve seen 750 and even 500 words).
To me, successful flash has a clear beginning, middle, and end. But keep this in mind: a clear end doesn’t always mean a resolved ending. The short stories I love the most are ones that are satisfying as is, but also leave me wondering about what happens next. No easy feat for a writer.
It’s a fun form to experiment with, and it’s an informative form to experiment with, simply because it forces the writer to consider every. Single. Word. Which he or she should be doing anyway, right? But it’s easier to let some of those flights of fancy and purple prose slip by when you’re working on a longer short story or a novel. Flash is all about the economy of words and packing the most emotional punch with the fewest words.
It’s also fun to read when it’s done well.
So what’s your definition of flash fiction? Do you enjoy reading it? Do you have any favorite flash “finds” that you want to share or, even better, link to? Please leave ’em in the comments (note: as of the writing of this post, I moderate comments, only to ensure the mortgage-credit-help-viagra-cash-for-gold spammers don’t get through).
Here’s the trailer for my flash fiction, “The Object.”
Check out the story and let me know what you think. It’s only 99 cents ($1 in some places, depending on where you buy it), and you can download it to your Kindle, Nook, and more…or you can read it on your PC…or print it out.