Flash Fiction: Saying Big Things In Small Ways

“For sale, baby shoes, never worn.”

Urban legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote the shortest story in existence, using only six words; an extreme type of flash fiction – saying profound things using the smallest number of words possible.

Wikipedia defines flash fiction as ‘…fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. … Some commentators have suggested that flash fiction possesses a unique literary quality, in its ability to hint at or imply a larger story.’ The fact that it only takes half the time to read these stories than traditional writings, makes them even more enjoyable because you are able to read beautifully crafted stories in less than ten minutes. Something that compels even the laziest of people to give reading a shot.

Three, common types of flash fiction are:

Microcosm

Stories that focus less on individual characters, their development, and motives but rely more on their plot and try to convey stories from another time, place and even dimension. The whole foundation of the story lies in the events of the story, not the characters that forward these events into taking place.

Vignette

Stories that focus more on the imagery and description of a scene and rarely contain any arcs, drama or intricate plot points. This kind of flash fiction is more textured and nuanced; primarily used to describe a scene or a memory, focusing on the details rather than painting a holistic picture.

Open Door

The kind of flash fiction which leaves the reader to decide what meaning the end will hold, without unveiling the character’s decisions is called an open door. It uses a dramatic effect to pose the question which acts as the main theme of the entire story. These types of flash fiction stories are this author’s personal favorites since they let the reader, indulge in a healthy bout of their own imagination, to create a meaning for the story, ultimately telling us a lot about how we perceive these stories to be.

Flash fiction teaches us the invaluable lesson that less is more and that writing novels which comprise of more than a thousand pages does not, in any way, make you a better writer – unless of course, those thousand pages were well worth spending your time over. It takes a lot of wit and intelligence to craft an entire story, someone’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and memories in less than three hundred words; each word you use could be substituted with another that affords more meaning and depth to the entire story – something that all flash fiction authors are very cautious about.

If you’re an author that would like to try your hand at this beautiful kind of story-telling head over to Google and you will find a number of sites that not only encourage posting flash fiction and practicing the art form but will also host contents, looking for some of the best flash fiction stories to publish online. Think you’d be good at writing flash fiction? Head over to the internet and unleash your inner writer!

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