Many of us are participating in NaNo this year, which has a goal of 1,667 words per day, 50,000 for the month. But there is another side of writing, Flash Fiction. Flash Fiction focuses on keeping it short. And I mean real short. Writing this type of fiction is both fun and challenging.
Flash fiction is fiction of extreme brevity. The standard, generally-accepted length of a flash fiction piece is 1000 words or less. By contrast, a short-short measures 1001 words to 2500 words, and a traditional short story measures 2501 to 7500 words. A novelette runs from 7501 words to 17,500, a novella 17,501 words to 40,000 words, and a novel 40,001 words and up.
Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story, though distinctions are sometimes drawn between some of these terms; for example, sometimes 1,000 words is considered the cut-off between “flash fiction” and the slightly longer “sudden fiction”.
The term “flash fiction” may have originated from a 1992 anthology of that title. As the editors said in their introduction, their definition of a “flash fiction” was a story that would fit on two facing pages of a typical digest-sized literary magazine, or about 750 words.
I’ve really enjoyed exploring Flash Fiction. It’s fun to write. Go pick up your pen and give it a shot.