The challenge of flash fiction is to tell a complete story in which every word is essential, to revise until you’re left with nothing but the core of a story. Flash fiction has been called by many other names including: short-short stories, sudden, postcard, minute, furious, fast, quick, skinny, and micro fiction. In France these writings are called nouvelles. In China this type of writing has appropriate names: little short story, pocket-size story, minute-long story, palm-sized story.
- Is there a definable plot? Do you have a clear beginning? A strong centerpiece? A definitive ending?
- Does your story make its point and drive it home, hard? Most flash fiction stories, due to their abrupt beginnings and sudden endings, leave the reader breathless when finished.
- Is every word absolutely essential to the story? Or have you left unnecessary sentences or some unneeded descriptives? Make the most of the space you have!
Purists insist that it is a complete story told in less than 75 words; others say 100 words should be the maximum. Many flash fiction writers consider anything under 1,000 words as flash-worthy. There are even a few who stretch their limits to 1,500 words. Today, I have attempted 369 – a set of three 69-word stories sharing a common subject. This is my favorite structure for flash fiction. As you will see, I wrote about my dad and hints of growing up Jewish.