by Adam Huddleston
Have you ever read a story so short you could finish it while standing in line at Wendy’s? Believe it or not, there is a format of story-telling so quick you could potentially read several of them in that period of time. Of all the existing designs of fiction writing, the one I have the most experience with is flash fiction.
What is flash fiction? In its simplest sense, it is an extremely short work that still contains character and plot. Word count can range from just a few words to around one-thousand (beyond that, you are walking in the land of the short story).
With such space restrictions, each word must be chosen carefully to maximize its impact in the story. There is little to no room for exposition so any backstory or explanations should be inferred or easily deduced by the reader.
The story should possess a discernible plot, even if it leans toward the simple or basic. A hallmark of flash fiction is the twist ending. Having a plot with a surprising climax makes up for the scarcity of words and lends itself to a more enjoyable experience for the reader.
I’ll conclude with a brief and shameless plug. Over the past several years, I have been a frequent contributor to a flash fiction website which I now moderate (www.site.flashfiction5.com). The site hosts a monthly contest where participants may submit a work of flash fiction, one hundred words or less, that must contain a specific list of words which are updated each month. It is completely free to enter and the two winning stories are posted the next month. I look forward to seeing your work!