Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Defining Flash Fiction

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 4/22/16




Almost everyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of flash fiction. However, my definition of flash fiction probably falls on the more rigid side of things. I simply fail to see how stringing a few words together, which may or may not make a complete sentence, qualifies or meets any sort of literary criteria. Simultaneously, I believe short stories are exactly that – short stories, and flash fiction (by my definition) happens to be much shorter.

Split hairs with me, if you will. Flash fiction, in my ever so humble opinion should be no more than two or three hundred words. Within those few words, a plot should unfold through extremely well chosen, descriptive words. Characters should come to life and a surprise ending (or twist) is mandatory, not optional.

The challenge of writing flash fiction is mixing detail with character development. There’s no time to talk about trivial matters. The reader needs to be drawn into the scene and captured by the characters. The entire story needs to climax and conclude within 2 – 3 paragraphs, leaving the reader fully satisfied with its jolting ending.

What’s your definition of flash fiction? 


Do you enjoy reading and/or writing flash fiction? Why or why not? Send me an email or share this post and tag me in a discussion.

Meanwhile, I’ll dig up a few old flash fiction stories of mine and post one or two of them here in the next day or so. You can look forward to telling me what you like or don’t like about them. And if you’d like, you can share some of your own flash fiction stories as a guest post here. Be sure to email me with your story: mjjoachimswriting@gmail.com.

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