What is Flash Fiction?


Well, what is it?

Flash fiction is extremely short pieces of writing. Some form of development (character or plot) needs to take place for the piece to be considered fiction. Word counts (and names for them) vary greatly, however, a piece of writing shorter than 1,500 words is widely considered as flash fiction.

An important quality of every flash story is to hint at a larger story/plot hidden beneath.

Flash fiction can be a fantastic method of experimentation and practice. It will also teach you some discipline: you can’t go off in tangents, over explain, or delve into lengthy descriptions. Words are at a premium.

Tips for Writing Flash Fiction

While there is no set structure to flash fiction, there are some guidelines that can make the piece “work better”. For instance, try not to set your story too far away from the “ending” – in fact, get as close to the ending as you can. You should also avoid placing the ending (or punchline) at the very end (sounds confusing, I know). While the last line should resonate with readers, it shouldn’t be the close of the thing you are describing. Instead, tell us the “ending” somewhere near the middle of the piece and use the rest of the space to help us come to terms with it.

This sounds rather challenging and confusing now, doesn’t it?

Don’t panic. It is one of those things that makes sense once you do it.

Calliope’s Flash Fiction Fridays!

Itching to try it out?

I post writing prompts and/or topics every Friday on this website and on Twitter. I’ll leave a space for you to submit your work. I’ll select three standout stories and post them every Monday – so not only are you getting some practice, you also stand a change to have your work seen.

Top Image: Brief, by Adolf Eberle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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