FLASH FICTION


FLASH FICTION

Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to give an example of the flash fiction that I used to write (and later judge). Specific keywords (decided upon by me or whatever kid might be within shouting range) had to be used and the word count could not exceed one-hundred words.  The author was tasked with doing their best in creating a beginning, moving the plot forward, and providing an adequate climax.

The five keywords (off the top of my head) that I will use are: envelope, basketball, horse, generous, and final.

Arthur wiped away a tear as he read the envelope’s contents. His beloved horse, Sprinkles, was to be put down in less than a week.  Although the majestic beast had won many races, his final contest proved to be his downfall.  As Sprinkles was coming down the back stretch, a stray basketball had bounced onto the track, causing him to crash.  The horse’s leg shattered.

Arthur offered a generous sum to whomever would identify the perpetrator of the crime.  Within a week, the accused was found; Arthur’s son.   Punishment was unnecessary; the loss was sentence enough.

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Flash Fiction


Flash Fiction

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!

Happy writing!

Short Fiction


Short Fiction

Short Fiction transcends all other genre types. They are simply stories that are shorter in length than a novel yet contain a logical beginning, middle and end.

Short fiction, also called “Short Stories,” can be much more challenging to write as they often focus on a specific episode rather than a detailed life history of the characters.

Some common subgenres of Short fiction include,

55 Fiction is a subgenre of stories that must be written in exactly 55 words. Steve Moss originated the concept in 1987.

Drabble refers to stories that are precisely one hundred words long. Actual stories were first published in several British collections, beginning with The Drabble Project in 1988, edited by Rob Meades and David Wake.

Flash fiction has a loose definition. Most publications regard it as stories from about 150 to 1000 words in length, though some will extend the limit to 1200 (rarely 1500) words.

Microfiction refers to stories under one hundred words in length.

Pinhead stories, also known as ‘nanofiction’ is an informal yet widespread designation for stories under fifty words in length.

Six Word stories are exactly that. For example, Ernest Hemingway is said to have written: “For sale, baby shoes, never used.”

Twitterfic is one of the newest subgenres. Each story must fit within one Twitter post (or ‘tweet’) of fewer than 140 characters.

Any or all of these subgenres of short fiction writing are excellent ways to begin your writing journey. They are also great excersises for dissolving that writers block.

Rory C. Keel