Basically flash fiction is a short form of storytelling.
Trying to define it by the number of words is a futile exercise. Purists may give a figure of 100 words, but that is arbitrary at best.
For most a story of under 1,000 words can be considered flash fiction, some even stretch this number to 1,500 words.
What is generally accepted is that ‘flash’ is an extremely short medium in which the writer must tell a complete story. Fragmented tales are not tolerated.
The challenge is to tell the tale in a way that every word is absolutely essential, discard all words which can be considered superfluous, leave only the gleaming white bones of direct narrative.
Ernest Hemingway stated this wonderfully in his (over-quoted) dictum referencing an iceberg: Only show the top 10 percent of your story, leave the other 90 percent below water to be conjured.
Although it is a rather worn and overworked cliché it is one that should be born in mind when writing flash fiction.
Flash fiction is not a new phenomenon created by social media or the internet, it is an ancient writing form which has existed for millennium.
Some other names for this form of writing are: Sudden, fast, quick, postcard, minute, furious, and even skinny fiction!
The French often term this as ‘nouvelles’.
In China, pocket stories, minuet longs and palm-sized writings are frequently used terms.
I know that this is a very short post in comparison to most of my ‘Ramblings’, perhaps it should be called a ‘flash blog’?
Thank you for reading this, enjoy the rest of your day.
I the meantime I shall leave you with a little ‘micro fiction’ piece which was inspired by the aforementioned Mr Ernest Hemingway.
‘Colt45. Used only once. Includes 5 shells. Sale due to recent bereavement’.
© Paul White 2015