Flash, as in Flash Fiction. One of my favorite forms. Also known as short shorts, microfiction, sudden fiction. Basically, a story in 1000 words or less, though some markets stretch it to 1200, and others shrink it to 500 or 600. At 250 words it becomes microfiction. At 140 characters, it becomes twitter fiction.
I used to think Flash Fiction had more rules than it really does. I wanted a better definition of Flash Fiction, but I’ve since realized, Flash Fiction is just that – fiction. A story, like any other story, only shorter.
So, like any longer story, Flash Fiction can be many things. What it must have, though, is a kernel of truth, an emotional resonance, something that grabs the reader by the collar and pulls them close. It can lead to a slapstick ah-hah moment, or something more subtle, but like any good story, it must connect with the reader.
And that’s it – short fiction that connects.
Some say Flash is harder to write than longer fiction. I don’t see it that way, perhaps because I have three kids underfoot, and my time is already divided into little chunks of here and there. What I love about Flash is you can write it in one sitting, and revise it in another (and another and another), and if it you don’t like the result, ditch it and start over! Writing Flash Fiction is a great way to learn how it feels to finish, revise and polish a story, without the time commitment of a longer work. Or perhaps, as a break from a longer work.
Exciting news – my story “Pretending” won the Flash Fiction Chronicle’s String-of-10 Three contest!! Just found out yesterday – details, and an interview with Judge Michelle Reale, right here!