'Each drop encases its own separate note, the way each drop engulfs its own blue pearl of light.'
This description of rain, from Stuart Dybek's story "Nighthawks," is as close to a definition of flash fiction as I can offer. A successful flash enchants us, each small story successfully rendered engulfing us for a brief moment - in a 'flash,' in its own brand of light, or truth. And the effects linger on...(Rose Metal Press)
- FF is a place for reckless daring - you write strange sentences in a new voice. The ambition of a short short piece of fiction is not to get the readers to 'lose themselves' - how far can you get lost in a few hundred words? The effect of FF is just that, fast, (even if writing it isn't) and yet complete. The shape of the piece leaps out at the reader and is taken in as a whole, as if it were a picture, sketchy.
- FF is about ambiguity, a singular moment, a slice of life, a sketch.
- Consider how much you can leave out and still create a moving, complete narrative. Can you write a story that consists of only dialogue? How is it still a story? What is a story?
Flash fiction is a form of extremely short story writing characterized by its brevity and conciseness. It aims to tell a complete narrative or capture a moment in just a 1,000 words or even fewer. While there are no strict rules for structuring flash fiction, it typically follows a condensed structure that includes the following elements:
Opening/Hook: Flash fiction usually begins with a strong opening line or hook that grabs the reader's attention and sets the tone for the story. This opening may introduce a conflict, raise a question, or establish the setting or characters.
Conflict/Action: Since flash fiction aims to tell a story in a limited word count, it often focuses on a single conflict or action. This conflict can be external (e.g., a physical confrontation) or internal (e.g., a character's emotional struggle).
Characters: Flash fiction often features a limited number of characters due to the constraints of the form. These characters may be fully developed or presented in a more impressionistic manner. Their motivations, relationships, or conflicts are usually explored within the limited space.
Plot/Development: Flash fiction typically has a condensed plot that progresses swiftly. It may present a complete story arc with a clear beginning, middle, and end, or it can capture a moment or scene without a traditional resolution. The narrative may unfold through dialogue, action, or a combination of both.
Tension/Resolution: Despite its brevity, flash fiction often includes a sense of tension or conflict that builds throughout the story. This tension may reach its peak near the climax, followed by a resolution or a moment of realization for the characters or readers. The resolution can be open-ended or provide a conclusive ending.
Theme/Impact: Flash fiction often conveys a central theme or message, exploring deeper meanings within its limited space. It aims to leave a lasting impact on the reader despite its brevity. The theme may be conveyed through symbolism, subtext, or the overall emotional tone of the story.
It's important to note that flash fiction allows for experimentation and creative freedom. Due to its brevity, flash fiction often demands concise and vivid language, and it may employ techniques such as implication, suggestion, or omission to convey meaning and engage the reader's imagination. The structure can vary depending on the writer's intent and the specific story being told, allowing for a wide range of styles and approaches.
HERE IS A RECENT POST ON WRITING FLASH FICTION, FEATURED ON THE WEP BLOG ON 22nd July...
The point is that flash fiction comes in many formats. But one thing's for sure, your story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, regardless of the length. It must tell a complete story.
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