The Limitless Possibilities of Flash
Flash fiction is something that really excites me right now.
As a form, it’s not really new but if you compare it to the novel or short story then it is extremely new. The form of flash fiction has interested me for years but the more I read lately the more I want to consume. It feels fresh and new and challenging and it’s a form that my writing keeps coming back to. As I begin to teach more workshops related to flash fiction I find myself becoming more of a student of flash as well.
The more I read about how flash fiction works the more I realize the potential in the form and the more I want to read. It’s basically all I want to talk about now.
If you want to learn how to write a form of fiction with few rules to get started but has limitless possibilities in terms of what you can talk about and how, then consider flash fiction.
Flash fiction is about expanding a moment in time, a memory, a feeling, a glance, a phrase. Anything you want.
You can focus on the moments in between the moments. You don’t have to worry as much about plot and instead just focus on blowing people’s minds. Or you can just write a really short story. Nothing will help reveal to you what you value as both a writer and reader of prose than by studying flash fiction. Maybe after trying your hand at flash fiction you’ll decide that this is your kind of storytelling medium.
Flash fiction can also be a great way to break into the publishing world
There are numerous online journals that love to publish fiction under 1,000 words and all over North America and England as well there are contests and anthologies that focus solely on flash fiction. The Bath Flash Fiction Award and the Geist Literary Postcard Story Contest are just two examples of contests that could pay out big for a story of just 500 words or so. There are countless opportunities to have your work published in the world of flash fiction and the numbers of online publications are growing.
It’s not just about reducing your word count and shrinking the breadth of your story. This is about packing depth and flavour into a tiny package.
To keep up with the food metaphor I will refer to Gayle Towell’s article ‘The Art of Microfiction’:
If a novel can be thought of as a ten-course meal, and a short story as an excellent deli sandwich. A microfiction piece might be an exquisite chocolate truffle. All are food. All are enjoyable. But they’re each very different. Microfiction is a scrumptious, bite-sized nugget of a story. It packs big flavor and satisfaction into a small package.
The more articles like this I read the more excited I get to turn people on to the world of flash fiction writing. Workshops like my upcoming Third Verb workshop on short, short stories can be a great introduction to this relatively new medium and it can also serve as a refresher course that shows you what you truly value when it comes to writing short and effective prose, and most importantly, great storytelling.